Order Sociology Homework Assignment

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Throughout adolescence, boys are overrepre- sented among high school dropouts, special education students, and every failed or special needs category. Boys’ notorious underperfor- mance in school and their tendency to disrupt the learning process in classrooms has sparked intense academic and public debates about the causes of what many now call the “prob- lem with boys.” Some see the gender gap as largely biological in origin. Others blame schools for a de-masculinized learning envi- ronment and a tendency to evaluate boys negatively for fitting into this environment less well than girls. Yet, the true impact of
school context on the size of the gender gap in academic performance remains controver- sial. The 1966 Coleman Report raised the profile of research on school effects, and much attention since then has been motivated by a concern for equality of educational opportunity by social class and race. Now that
440802 ASRXXX10.1177/0003122412440802Lege wie and DiPreteAmerican Sociological Review 2012
aColumbia University
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Corresponding Author: Joscha Legewie, Columbia University, Department of Sociology–MC9649, 606 W. 122nd Street, New York, NY 10027 E-mail: [email protected]
School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement
Joscha Legewiea and Thomas A. DiPretea
Abstract Today, boys generally underperform relative to girls in schools throughout the industrialized world. Building on theories about gender identity and reports from prior ethnographic classroom observations, we argue that school environment channels conceptions of masculinity in peer culture, fostering or inhibiting boys’ development of anti-school attitudes and behavior. Girls’ peer groups, by contrast, vary less strongly with the social environment in the extent to which school engagement is stigmatized as un-feminine. As a consequence, boys are more sensitive than girls to school resources that create a learning-oriented environment. To evaluate this argument, we use a quasi-experimental research design and estimate the gender difference in the causal effect of peer socioeconomic status (SES) as an important school resource on test scores. Our design is based on the assumption that assignment to 5th-grade classrooms within Berlin’s schools is as good as random, and we evaluate this selection process with an examination of Berlin’s school regulations, a simulation analysis, and qualitative interviews with school principals. Estimates of the effect of SES composition on male and female performance strongly support our central hypothesis, and other analyses support our proposed mechanism as the likely explanation for gender differences in the causal effect.
Keywords causal inference, education, gender, gender gap, peer effects
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