Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions. Certain words/phrases are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Until the 1960s boys spent longer and went further in school than girls, and were more likely to graduate from university. Now, across the rich world and in a growing number of , poor countries, the balance has tilted the other way. Policymakers once fretted about girls’ . lack of confidence in science but this is changing. Sweden has commissioned research into its “boy crisis”. Australia has devised a reading programme called “Boys, Blokes, Books and Bytes”. In just a couple of generations, one gender gap has closed, only for another to open up. The reversal is laid out in a report published on March 5th by the OECD. a Paris based Rich country thinktank. Boys’ dominance just about endures in maths: at age 15 they are, on average, the equivalent of three months’ schooling ahead of girls. In science the results are fairly even. But in reading, where girls have been ahead for some time, a gulf has appeared. In all G4 countries and economies in the study, girls outperform boys. The average gap is equivalent to an extra year of schooling. The OECD deems literacy to be the most important skill that it assesses, since further learning depends on it. Sure enough, teenage boys are 50% more likely than girls to fail to achieve basic proficiency in any of maths, reading and science. Youngsters in this group, with nothing to build on or shine at, are prone to drop out of school altogether. To see why boys and girls fare so differently in the classroom, first look at what they do outside it. The average 15year old girl devotes five and half hours a week to homework, an hour more than the average boy, who spend more time playing video games and trawling the internet. Three quarters of girls read for pleasure, compared with little more than half of boys. Reading rates are falling everywhere as screens draw eyes from pages, but boys are giving up faster. The OECD found that, among boys who do as much homework as the average girl, the gender gap in reading fell by nearly a quarter.
Once in the classroom, boys long to be out of it: They are twice as likely as girls to report that school is a “waste of time”, and more often turn up late. Just as a teacher sused to struggle to persuade girls that science is not only for men, the OECD now urges parents and policymakers to steer boys away from a version of masculinity that ignores academic achievement. Boys’ disdain for school might have been less irrational when there were plenty of jobs for uneducated men. But those days have long gone. It may be that a bit of swagger helps in maths, where confidence plays a part in boys’ lead (though it sometimes extends to delusion:12% of boys told the OECD that they are familiar with the mathematical concept of “subjunctive sealing”, a red herring that fooled only 7% of girls.) But their lack of self Visit discipline drives teachers crazy. The OECD found that boys did much better in its anonymised tests than in teachers assessments. What is behind this discrimination? One possibility is that teachers mark up students who are polite, eager and stay out of flights, all attributes that are more common among girls. In some countries, academic points can even be docked for bad behaviour.
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