• Sweden's news in English
 

'Sweden is letting its school boys down'

Published: 04 Dec 2013 13:19 GMT+01:00

"We're seeing a societal betrayal of boys," Swedish brain researcher Martin Ingvar told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

While Swedish boys and girls scored roughly the same in the latest Pisa ranking for maths, girls have now sped past the boys in natural sciences. Girls also continue to outperform boys in reading, and the gap between the two genders has widened since the Pisa review published in the year 2000. 

"All school systems that perform badly punish pupils who have the hardest time," Ingvar said. "The Swedish school is organized for pupil-led learning, (which benefits) high-performing middle-class girls." 

Education Minister Jan Björklund touched on the difference between girls' and boys' maturity levels as he met the press on Tuesday following the unveiling of the OECD's latest Pisa report. He said that boys were often less mature than girls, who had an advantage when it came to independent study. Brain scientist Ingvar agreed, claiming that boys trail girls in maturity by up to one year. 

The average gap between boys and girls among OECD countries was 38 points in the Pisa test which looks at 15-year-olds across several countries. In Sweden, this figure widened to 51 points. And while boys generally outperformed girls in maths and natural sciences in the OECD nations, the trend was inverse in Sweden. 

"It is important to remember that there is nothing wrong with the children, the fault lies with the grown ups," brain researcher Ingvar said.

He took a different view on issuing grades to younger pupils than the government, which has touted grades in third grade as one of the cornerstones of a wide-range of education reforms launched two years ago. Instead, Ingvar argued, it was important for teachers to make the boys understand the importance of education. 

"Grades are trivial compared to feedback in the classroom," he said. 

Girls' ability to dedicate themselves to their studies without adult input was also noted in a 2010 report entitled "Gender difference in school performance". 

University West professor Inga Wernersson said the girls not only spend more time on their studies than boys, but do so "more systematically and more effectively". 

"Those who belong to the smarter group can't pretend they need to make an effort," she commented on the boys' behaviour. "Girls have no reason to assume that they'd get good results without putting the effort in." 

Education officials said they were nonplussed when it came to explaining the gap.

"We don't really have a good explanation," said Anita Wester, spokeswoman at the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket). 

The latest edition of the Pisa test for the first time included digital tests for the maths and reading components. The boys got better results in the digital rather than the analog exams.

"In 2015, the entire test will be digital for those countries that have access to the technology," Wester noted. "It will be interesting to see what effect that has on the results." 

TT/Ann Törnkvist (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spotify chief unveils Sweden innovation bash

Spotify chief unveils Sweden innovation bash

Spotify founder Daniel Ek and Avicii's manager Ash Pournouri are set to launch a major new tech and music event to reflect Stockholm's status as a lucrative hive of start-up activity, Billboard reports. READ  

The Local List
The ultimate guide to Sweden's party leaders
The outgoing leader of Sweden's Christian Democrats, Göran Hägglund, with the new leader, Ebba Busch Thor. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The ultimate guide to Sweden's party leaders

Two are pregnant, four are under 40 and nearly half are women. As the Christian Democrats elected their first female party head on Saturday, The Local's beginners' guide to Swedish political leaders reveals who has clung on to power and whose heads have rolled in the months since Sweden's general election in September 2014. READ  

Sweden Democrats boot seven in extremism row
From left, Sweden Democrat youth leaders Gustav Kasselstrand and William Hahne on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Sweden Democrats boot seven in extremism row

Seven people have been expelled from the Sweden Democrats - including the two heads of the nationalist party's youth wing - in a row over far-right extremism, the party announced on Monday afternoon. READ  

Swedish arms giant one of Europe's 'cleanest'
An Air Force pilot uses a simulator to fly a Saab Gripen fighter aircraft at the LAAD Defense and Security International Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 14th 2015. Photo: AP/TT

Swedish arms giant one of Europe's 'cleanest'

Swedish defence giant Saab does more than most other European arms companies to tackle corruption but should give staff better access to whistleblowing channels, according to a Transparency International report released on Monday. READ  

Taxman: Cosmetic surgery is not deductible
Winners of the Miss Plastic Hungary beauty pageant. If they lived in Sweden they would not be able to make deductions for breast implants, nose jobs or face lifts. Photo: AP/TT

Taxman: Cosmetic surgery is not deductible

With next Monday the deadline for filing tax returns, Swedes will try to get the taxman to cover the cost of everything from milk to plastic surgery, explains a tax agency worker who has seen it all. READ  

My Swedish Career
Building my Swedish lego dream brick by brick
James Gill in his lego shop. Photo: The Local/Bobbie Carlson

Building my Swedish lego dream brick by brick

James Gill was working as a chef in the UK when he one day decided to combine his two passions in life: Sweden and Lego. The Local's reporter Bobbie Carlson visited his shop in Stockholm - and discovered that there is far more to the famous children's toy than meets the eye. READ  

Head rolls in Sweden’s private jets scandal
Anders Nyrén attends SCA's annual general meeting in Stockholm on April 15th 2015. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT.

Head rolls in Sweden’s private jets scandal

A major corporate scandal involving the “excessive” use of private jets claimed a fresh victim on Monday as the main owners of investment giant Industrivärden blocked the under-fire CEO Anders Nyrén from taking over as chairman. READ  

US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture
Jay Z's got 99 problems but Tidal ain't one. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture

Rapper Jay Z has defended his Tidal streaming service as viable and a boon to artists after a much-criticized start to the revamped company has given its main Swedish rivals at Spotify little cause for concern. READ  

Nepal earthquake
Swedes join earthquake rescue efforts in Nepal
Residents rescue items from the debris of a house damaged in Saturday's earthquake in Nepal. Photo: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Swedes join earthquake rescue efforts in Nepal

An expert team from Sweden is set to travel to Nepal on Monday to help with a search and rescue operation following a devastating earthquake which is believed to have claimed 3,200 lives so far. READ  

Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters
It's not the first time train delays cause headaches for Swedish commuters. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters

A faulty railway switch in Stockholm was expected to cause rush-hour headaches for travellers across Sweden on Monday morning after several trains were cancelled and others diverted. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Leonore meets Pope Francis
VIDEO: How did these Swedish cops become New York heroes?
Business & Money
Five crucial things you need to know before you move to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: April 25th
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,330
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
?>