Many attribute these statistics to a couple of primary factors: (1) differences in boys “noncognitive” skills such as attentiveness, persistence, and self-control; and (2) the types of messages boys receive about their academic capabilities. Let’s briefly consider each of these factors and see if we can understand what might be going on with boys’ achievement patterns.
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Related reading: Little Boys Need Help with Big Emotions
Stereotypes for Boys
The good news is that it does seem possible to counteract these underachievement stereotypes. In a follow-up study, researchers found that when kids were told boys and girls could do equally well in school, boys achievement went up, while girls’ performance was not affected.
Related reading: How Language Skills Help Boys Develop Self-Regulation
Additionally, parents and teachers should be aware of these stereotypes and try to combat them whenever possible. All students should be expected and encouraged to do their best academically with an understanding that the knowledge and skills they learn will help them throughout their lives.