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ERO Report Highlights Boys' Under-Achievement

Education Minister Nick Smith today released an Education Review Office report highlighting the under-achievement of boys, saying that schools needed to focus on how to lift levels of boys' achievement .

The report focuses on performance at school certificate level, but shows that girls consistently outperform boys. Key findings of the report include:

· 28% of boys, compared to 34% of girls have grades of B or better in School Certificate.

· 41% of boys, compared to 31% of girls leave school without sixth form certificate.

· 40% of boys, compared to 42% of girls obtain a B Bursary or better.

· Two thirds of pupils on reading recovery in our primary schools are boys.

"There is a growing international trend of girls outperforming boys but, what is worrying for New Zealand is that the gap is greater than in other countries. The IEA study of 32 countries found that New Zealand had the second largest difference in performance between nine year old girls and boys in reading literacy."

"The ERO report also identified successful strategies for lifting boys' educational achievement. The report particularly stresses that teachers need to be aware of differences in learning styles between boys and girls. Girls like to find out and boys like to be told."

"The report identifies school behaviour management as a critical factor. Poor discipline adversely impacts on boys' education more than girls'. If we are to improve boys' achievement, schools need to be firm on discipline. Strong student support programmes and positive role models are also identified as important factors in improving boys' education."

"This report usefully highlights the growing gender gap and shows the sort of strategies that will make a positive difference. Programmes like the literacy initiative are helping address boys' reading skills. I encourage school boards, principals, teachers and parents to study the report and take heed of the advice on how we can close the gender gap in achievement." ENDS

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