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Study shows social issues hurting male educational achievement in Rockford

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Study shows social issues hurting male educational achievement in Rockford

Sometimes you run across data that’s instructive but not particularly helpful.

In June, the New York Times released a study of 260 million standardized tests from 2008 to 2014 at 1,800 of the country’s largest school districts that found the affluency of a school district vastly affected how boys in particular perform in reading and math.

Across the country, girls perform better on reading standardized tests. Researchers have found that parents tend to talk to female babies much more often, fostering better language skills and a greater interest in reading.

In math, boys outperform girls in standardized tests in about 75 percent of the districts nationwide. Researchers believe that some of that is the continuing perception that boys are better than girls in math.

What the times found is that in richer districts, the reading gap shrinks. In math, girls tend to outperform boys in poor districts. In affluent districts, boys outperform girls in math and the gap widens with income.

Researchers said the data shows that boys are affected at a much greater rate by socio-economic factors. Parents in richer districts hire tutors and enter sons in rocket leagues and math competitions, while girls are entered in ballet or ice skating. Families in richer district often tend to have more traditional family structures where the men are the main breadwinner and therefore sons are pushed harder in math because of the greater earning

“Both girls and boys benefit from being in more academic and more resource-rich environments,” Thomas DiPrete, a sociologist at Columbia who has studied gender and educational performance, told the Times. “It’s just that boys benefit more.”

Rockford, not surprisingly, was one of the 25 percent of districts where girls outperformed boys in math. The Times study found that Girls were 0.7 months ahead of boys in math and 9.4 months ahead in reading. The results in Chicago were very similar. Girls in CUSD outperformed boys in math by 0.3 months and were 9.4 months ahead in reading.

In affluent districts, it was a different story. In Naperville, boys were 2.5 months ahead in math, while girls were 9.1 months ahead in reading. Glenview was even more stark. There boys were 4.1 months ahead in math and girls just 6.6 months ahead in reading.

The data shows us what we already know. The families that make up the Rockford School District are less wealthy than the average district. How the district can combat the gap though is unclear.


Math Gap

Reading Gap

Three districts with largest math gaps

Glenview CCSD

Boys +4.1 months

Girls +6.6 months

Lake Zurich

Boys +3.4 months

Girls +7.5 months

Crystal Lake CCSD

Boys +3.2 months

Girls +6.8 months

Rockford-area largest school districts


Girls +0.7 months

Girls +9.4 months


Boys +2.0 months

Girls +7.6 months


Boys +1.6 months

Girls +7.7 months

Source: New York Times



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