What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges? Fact Sheet: Education*. Some Facts About Boys and Education


Academic Achievement

  • A 2006 study found that boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have a learning disability (10% vs. 6%) and almost 3 times as likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD (11% vs. 4%).(1)
  • The same study found that boys make up more than two-thirds of all students receiving special education services.(2)
  • A 2007 study found that boys and girls who enter school with higher math and reading skills, as well as a greater ability to pay attention in class, tend to be more successful throughout their education.(3)
  • A 2005 study found that young people, and particularly boys, whose parents are involved in their schooling tend to have greater academic achievement.(4)
  • A study in 2006 found that while girls outperform boys in math grades, boys outperform girls in math test scores.(5)
  • A 2005 study on gender differences in school performance found that boys who disrupt class and do not feel academically engaged may be more likely to do poorly in school.(6)
  • Although African American and Hispanic adolescents have improved their performance on standardized tests over the last 20 years, in 2000, their achievement was lower than that of White students.(7)
  • In 2000, African American students had higher rates of suspension and expulsion than any other racial or ethnic group, followed by American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic students.(8)
  • In 2000, regardless of racial or ethnic group, boys had higher rates of suspension and expulsion than girls.(9)

School Dropout Rates

  • Since 1995, dropout rates for boys have declined, but in 2004, 57% of all youth ages 16 to 24 who dropped out of high school were boys and young men.(10)
  • Since 1972, dropout rates have been higher for minority youth than for White youth. In 2005, 6% of Whites ages 16 to 24 were dropouts compared with 11% of African Americans and 23% of Hispanics.(11)
  • Boys who disrupt class, are lower achievers, lack their parents’ support and supervision, or have friends who also act out in class may be more likely to drop out of school.(12)
  • Boys who drop out of school are at greater risk for other problems, such as poverty, unemployment, and criminal activity.(13)

Dropout Rates of Youth, Ages 16 to 24, by Race and Hispanic Origin (%)

Dropout Rates of Youth, Ages 16 to 24, by Race and Hispanic Origin (%). See text for explanation of graph.

Source: Child Trends Data Bank

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