The childhood rhyme of ‘boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to college to get more knowledge’ actually has some substance to it. According to a recent study by Daniel and Susan D. Voyer, girls score better on school marks from elementary to high school. The familiar chant ‘girls rule, boys drool’ now makes so much sense.
The study is based on research from 1914 through 2011 from over 30 different countries, reflecting grades from 538,710 boys and 595,332 girls. For 97 years, girls have persistently trumped boys in every school subject. This study focuses on teacher-assigned grades, which provides a larger social context and requires persistence with studying as opposed to standardised tests that only assess academic abilities at one point in time.
So why do girls score better than boys overall? Well, Voyer suggests that because of the false assumption that boys are better in math and science, parents might encourage their daughters to put more effort into their studies. Another reason might be because boys focus on the final grades while girls study to understand the material. “Mastery of the subject matter generally produces better marks than performance emphasis, so this could account in part for males’ lower marks than females,” said the authors.
Ladies, I suggest you print out this sheet and bring it everywhere. So next time someone says girls are dumber than boys, whip out this study and read it aloud to them. Word for word. Until they apologise.