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Girls lead boys in reading, writing.

Boys are no match for girls when it comes to achievement in reading and writing. Boys do better in mathematics and science. But girls are also catching up in those subjects, although they don't like them as much as boys do.

The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics reports the gender comparisons in an update of a similar 2000 study. "It is clear that girls are taking education very seriously and that they have made tremendous strides." Rod Paige, then Education Secretary, said in releasing the latest trends.

Meanwhile, contrary to "a common perception" that boys regularly do better in mathematics, the gap between the sexes actually has been "quite small." NAES reports.

Overall, according to NCES, girls' high school programs in mathematics and science "are at least as challenging as those taken by males." although girls are less likely to report liking math or science or seek out careers in those subjects.

Alfie Kohn, an education critic and writer, says the report "challenges the view that gender differences are inborn and unchangeable."

The study also says boys are more likely to have certain problems like diagnosed learning disabilities or be victimized at school that could affect their academic performance in early grades.

"Schools need to be assertive early in terms of identifying and intervening with any child who is showing signs of struggle," says Jane Browning, executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. "You can get really good indications from 4- and 5-year-olds, and even down to age 3, based on their speech and language development. But if a kid is allowed to go past age 7. it's often too late."

National Assessment of Educational Progress results show that girls in grades 4, 8 and 12 consistently outperform boys in reading and writing. However, on 2002 AP English examinations, girls scored lower than boys on average. The study found that boys are more likely than girls to repeat a grade and drop out of high school. Girls tend to have "higher educational aspirations" and are more likely to go to college immediately out of high school.
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Title Annotation:Update: education news from schools, businesses, research
Author:Dessoff, Alan
Publication:District Administration
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Previous Article:New test in New England.
Next Article:New schools chief comes out strong.

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