Boys’ Early Childhood Behavioral Problems Associated With Less Academic Success Boys with early childhood behavioral issues have lower high school and college completion rates than girls who have the same difficulties, finds a new study published in the journal Sociology of Education. Author Jayanti Owens says the research shows a number of systemic responses that could explain the discrepancy. “When ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   September 01, 2016
Boys’ Early Childhood Behavioral Problems Associated With Less Academic Success
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School-Based Settings / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   September 01, 2016
Boys’ Early Childhood Behavioral Problems Associated With Less Academic Success
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 13. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.21092016.13
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 13. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.21092016.13
Boys with early childhood behavioral issues have lower high school and college completion rates than girls who have the same difficulties, finds a new study published in the journal Sociology of Education. Author Jayanti Owens says the research shows a number of systemic responses that could explain the discrepancy.
“When I compared 4- and 5-year-old boys and girls who had the same levels of behavior problems … I found that boys were less likely to learn and more likely to be held back in school,” says Owens, a professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. “My study also showed that the way schools respond to boys’ behaviors plays a significant role in shaping their educational outcomes years later. Relative to the other early childhood family and health factors I considered, gender differences in both students’ behavior and educators’ responses to behavior problems explained more than half (59.4 percent) of the gender gap in schooling completed among adults.”
Owens describes “behavior problems” in her study as issues with self-regulating, paying attention and demonstrating social competence.
Boys, who typically display worse behavior when starting school and are reported to externalize problems nearly twice as much as girls, may be hindered by the fact that these behaviors can be generalized as a stereotype, causing educators to dole out more and harsher punishments against male students, Owens explains. She also found that boys experience more peer pressure and grade repetition, as well as more negative school environments and academic expectations, than girls.
Owens dissected data from a national sample of 1,661 children born to mothers ages 18 to 29 in the 1980s and followed into adulthood.
But while Owens says she found many schools have not created environments “conducive” to boys’ success, she also says that “problems at school were less predictive of long-term educational attainment when they first emerged at older ages.” Supports at home and at school that engage self-regulation and social skills at an early age could help boys’ long-term educational prospects, she suggests.
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September 2016
Volume 21, Issue 9