Boys Falling Behind in Norway

A new report from the Norwegian Institute for research on welfare (NOVA) confirms the previous findings on gender gap in academic success at Norwegian schools.

The report discusses how the boys have performed compared with the girls on international tests such as PISA, TIMSS and Pirila and national tests.

The review shows that girls as a group of learners do significantly better at school than boys. This applies particularly in reading, where girls on average is almost one school year ahead of boys, writes VG. 

Also girls perform better in science which is traditionally dominated by boys. The girls also carry a far greater extent secondary education (75 percent vs. 65 percent). According to the report, Norway stands out internationally in terms of gender differences at school. For both reading in PISA and completion of secondary education, Norway has greater gender differences than other OECD countries.

Talking to NTB, Education Minister Thorbjorn Røe Isaksen expresses his concern over the development.

– More boys are doing poorly, particularly in writing and reading, boys top in drop-out statistics and make up the majority of young people who depend on social benefit from NAV, says Isaksen.

According to the report, the cause is complex. Boys are generally less motivated to study. They are also more vulnerable to difficult growing conditions and bullying than girls, and they struggle with independent studying methods.

Isaksen says this may indicate the challenges of the idea that students should be responsible for their own learning at Norwegian schools.

– The figures show very clearly that this approach makes the poorest lose most. It also shows that students need clear limits, discipline, clear learning objectives, requirements and expectations, he said.

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