31 May 2008

Do You See What I See

Two data points does not a trend make, I realize; but, I still find the information interesting. (Click on the image for a larger view.) Light blue circles represent gender performance at the school, red diamonds show district information, and the dark blue triangles show statewide data.

With two years worth of data to look at, the third grade girls at my school have achievement that mirrors what is happening elsewhere. But the boys? It's not looking good, is it? It's downright eye-catching...and not in a good way. Fourth and fifth grade pictures are not a whole lot rosier when you put up the gender info side by side.

Do you want even more food for thought? While 75% of the school's third grade males met the standard in math in 2006, this same cohort only had 40.9% pass when they were fourth graders in 2007. Fifth grade data will be available in the fall. Wanna bet their scores are not improved? In the areas of fourth grade Reading and fifth grade Science, not a single boy in the whole school exceeded the standards (Level 4). This is especially interesting because not a single fourth grade girl in the school was at a Level 1 in Reading.

With only two years of data to consider, it's already starting to feel like something isn't quite right. There is no grade or subject area in the school where boys increased their achievement. Ouch.

I haven't shown this information to the staff yet. They are working on plans for next year and have done a bit of data work. The school tends to focus things at a classroom level, but I'm thinking it's time to pull back and look at things more holistically. My hunch is that discipline data will reveal that boys spend a lot more time in the office than girls. Are our expectations that unfriendly to males, I wonder? Should we be concerned? What will we do to make things more gender equitable?


Clix said...

This gives me more concern than your data alone perhaps warrants, because it seems to illustrate a trend I've heard about from other sources.

As far as how "unfriendly" your school's expectations may be toward males... well, how have they changed over the past few years?

The Science Goddess said...

We do seem to hear about the decline of boys' achievement a lot these days...and then there was that big Newsweek article last year that spun the data differently and concluded that we shouldn't worry---boys are just fine.

I've only been at this school since February, so my historical knowledge of their policies and practices is limited. And I won't be back there next year to follow up on anything. I do hope to plant the seeds of awareness, however, and see what the other teachers think.

Roger Sweeny said...

So what if boys are doing badly? Men have screwed women for centuries.

Let women screw men for a few centuries, and then I'll start to care.

Clix said...

Let women screw men for a few centuries

... I'm sorry! I know that's not the way you MEANT it, but I spend all day with freshemn!!



Anonymous said...

Damn I wish I could remember where I read it ... but the meta-analysis said that although boys will lag in reading for 1-3 years, they do catch up with the girls. It's one of those developmental differences that is not reflective of developmental stasis.

That possibility notwithstanding, any academic discipline is cumulative, so we do need to provide the support needed to help boys through this lag period, to ensure that it remains a temporary lag, and to reduce the duration of the lag. Reading is so integral for all the disciplines (yes, even mathematics!)


Anonymous said...

Looks like a Euclidean proposition!