Gender gap evident in Milford

For the past year, a committee consisting of Milford teachers and administrators, plus a community member and board member, have been studying the issue of academic performance by gender.  Last night, the committee presented their initial findings, both from a national and local perspective.

Without question, the data shows a “gap” between genders, with boys being more likely to: drop out of school; be diagnosed with a learning disability; choose not to participate in gifted or honors programs; require more discipline than girls; and more.  This is also seen in testing scores, with boys being up to 14 points lower in reading and writing than girls.

Milford follows national trends.  In all grades except the current seventh, more boys than girls are identified as gifted – but significantly more girls than boys enroll in gifted or honors classes.  For the class of 2009, 71 girls received over $3 million in scholarships, while 54 boys were awarded $2.2 million.  Boys require more intervention in reading & math than girls, except at the high school, where the numbers are even.  Regarding discipline, boys account for 67-85% of the incidents reported at all ages.

In addition to looking at hard data, the committee ran a survey among Milford community members, teachers & students.  Preliminary results were presented, but there is so much data, the committee is continuing to go through it. They reported 60% of community members feel the district should consider professional development related to educating males & females in the same classroom, and 70% felt gender differences should be addressed within the same classroom.  A total of 62% were against single gender classrooms.

Among teachers, there were many written comments the committee has not yet gone through and was not able to share yet.  However, they shared percentage overviews:  49% of teachers said they notice a difference in behavior based on gender; 90% said they do not currently differentiate instruction by gender; and 56% are willing to receive professional development in the area of gender & instruction.

The committee will continue to look at the data and develop recommendations for moving forward.  They hope to have a final report by the end of this calendar year.  In the meantime, the presentation given last night (including survey info from students, which I did not include here) will be uploaded to the district website soon.  I will add the link as soon as it’s available.

2 Responses to “Gender gap evident in Milford”

  1. Leah Pettigrew Says:

    It is concerning that after this study has revealed significant gender-based differences in student learning, you report that only slightly more than half of our teachers are willing to be further educated on this important topic. Will this be a part of the required continuing education?

  2. andreabrady Says:

    Leah, the survey was run before any data was released, so the teachers did not know the stats before responding. I suggested last night we consider running a survey following public discussion of the data, since I would expect responses from teachers & community members to change after seeing this info. The committee did say there were people who noted in the survey they could not effectively comment because they did not know enough; I think we need to use the survey as a “pre-evaluation” of where the community & teachers stand on the issue; a “post-evaluation” can be taken once data is communicated.

    And yes, whatever the committee determines is the appropriate course of action to address the issues will be required.

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