Boys under-performing at Queensland State Schools

A new ABS study on educational outcomes at Queensland State Schools confirms the importance of socio-economic factors in school performance, and also reveals a surprisingly large gap in NAPLAN performance between boys and girls (see chart below I’ve copied and pasted). More boys are failing to meet minimum standards than girls. The data are for 2011, so possibly the situation has improved since then, but I doubt it. The gap between boys and girls doesn’t appear to be a problem solely in Queensland, although the gap appears larger than at the national level (based on ABS data from the 2000s which suggests a 5 percentage point gap rather than the nearly 10 percentage point gap we see in Queensland on writing performance). The Queensland Education Department should further investigate this gap in performance between boys and girls and consider whether policy changes are required, such as single-sex classes, which have previously been successfully trialled in Queensland (as reported in the Courier-Mail).


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4 Responses to Boys under-performing at Queensland State Schools

  1. Katrina Drake says:

    I am reading this post with my 10 year old nephew, and also as a mother of both a boy and a girl – so our comments are based on first hand and and relevant experience.

    I am not surprised by this data – and certainly not alarmed.

    Boys and girls have very different developmental milestones. You only need to look at a Grade 7 class to see the extreme physical and developmental difference between boys and girls of the same age. Boys are earlier developing physical, spatial, and classification skills. Girls are earlier developing literacy skills.

    The statistic stated above are clearly showing this time related , developmental difference, and should not be interpreted as boys under-performing.

    Longitudinal studies would show that boys and girls skills in numeracy, reading and writing would generally peak at different rates and ages for each gender.

    I don’t think that single sex classes are the solution – but recognition between the different learning capabilities and timeframes of boys and girls is important.

  2. Jim says:


    A great post. I wonder if the difference between the genders is as great within the private school system where there is a high proportion of single sex schools?

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