Swedish girls do better than boys in all school subjects, new review shows

GirlIllustration: Jeswin Thomas / Unsplash
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Swedish girls do better than boys in all school subjects, a new review of the results in ninth grade shows.

The differences have increased since a new grading system was introduced in 2012, according to a review of the teachers’ union’s journal Läraren.

Even in the subject of sports and health, where boys have traditionally done better, girls have now surpassed boys. 

On average, girls have 12% higher grade points, and girls have far more top grades than boys.

The inequality continues in high school. 

A total of 80.8% of girls in upper secondary school graduated with approved general study qualifications, while only 66.4% of the boys received study qualifications, according to the survey.

Worse at reading and writing

The differences are particularly large in subjects that require a good ability to express yourself in writing, such as the Swedish language and social studies. 

At the same time, the differences are smaller in math. Several boys have problems with reading and writing, according to the data.

Professor of educational science Inga Wernersson at University West thinks one explanation has to do with masculinity and femininity notions.

“It is more important for boys to be the best. Those who may not be able to do so fall behind. Girls are not as grandiose, but make an effort and do the best they can,” according to her analysis.

“This is a gigantic failure of boys,” public debater and author Isobel Hadley-Kamptz, who has sat on a committee that has studied gender equality in school, said.

Maturing later?

There is also a concern in Norway that many boys are lagging behind in school. 

FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg led an investigation into the problem.

In her work, she suggested – among other things – a flexible start to school because research shows that girls develop skills that are important for doing well in school earlier than boys. 

Other proposals include compulsory full-time school and having several electives to make it motivating to go to school. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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