• Sweden's news in English

Boys fall further behind girls in school: report

8 Nov 2012, 13:25

Published: 08 Nov 2012 13:25 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We are worried about these results," Christina Sandström at the agency told The Local on Thursday.

“We have known for a long time that girls have better school results than boys. What is new is that the results are increasing. There has always been a gap, but now it is bigger,” Sandström explained.

On Wednesday, Skolverket published the school results of this summer’s ninth-year students. These results showed that girls’ school results were an average of 223.8 (out of 320), whereas boys scored an average of 199.5.

The statistics also showed that more girls qualified for high school (gymnasiet) programmes than boys.

Skolverket concluded that though results are improving for most student groups, boys with a foreign background and boys with less educated parents are actually performing worse.

“I do not begrudge any success for the girls, but it would be terribly serious to lose a generation of boys and immigrants,” Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) told the TT news agency.

Christina Sandström underlined that while the difference between the grade point average for girls and boys may seem small in numerical terms, when applied to 100,000 students, a gap of over 20 points is actually very significant.

”It takes a lot to make a major change”.

Meanwhile, Social Democrat Ibrahim Baylan is more worried about the general decrease in students that qualify for high school (gymnasiet) programmes, for the 6th year in a row.

The report indicated that proportion of qualified students decreased from 87.7 percent to 87.5 percent.

“The current school policy has reached the end of the road. The government is simply not doing the right thing,” Baylan told TT.

Sandström recognized that while the change is small, the trend is clear in that the results are getting worse.

“We want results to be better. We have implemented a new syllabus and it is very important that schools take the new goals for education seriously,” she continued.

“We have made changes within school regulations, but it is important that schools also implement these modifications.”

Story continues below…

Sandström said that research is ongoing into why girls systematically achieve better results than boys at this level, but there is currently no definitive explanation.

”I don’t know if we ever can solve it,” she said.

TT/Sanne Schim van der Loeff

Follow The Local on Twitter

Related links:

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:33 November 8, 2012 by just a question
It's easy to understand.

It's fashion now among boys in Swedish schools to have a gangsta attitude. To don't give a s....about your teacher, your school friends, don't respect the girls and pretend that you are a real troublemaker.

Do parents know what kind of music their children are listening to? or the video games they play? or what do they do in the school or after the school? No. And they don't care.

It doesn't matter how much money you put in the schools because unless you put some discipline in the school, it won't work. Ban cellulars from school and allow teachers take disciplinary actions if the student is behaving bad.
16:06 November 8, 2012 by Uncle
just a question

According to your theory, those who "behave badly" should have impacted the girls also, since if a student speaks on the phone or beats the teacher to death in the class, girls hardly have an advantage.

These statistics are not so different from other countries. Boys ARE less successful in schools. They are however more successful in life. They are statistically rougher in negotiation, present more design breakthroughs, hold more patents etc.

Genetic predisposition, you see, when male brain developed while hunting and female one, while observing the children development and male inventions.

That is also why men can concentrate on one thing (but deeply), while women can do many things at once (but touching the surface). Men survived while standing their ground against predators, while women - grabbing the kids and running in forests and swamps. (Females have proportionally longer legs, bigger leg muscles and wider field of vision, while male torso is bigger and bones are harder)

Why the learning diff is more pronounced now? Perhaps it is related to parents dropping the ball here (in line with your theory), when the boys are slipping from control faster than girls.
18:45 November 8, 2012 by KossBoss
@just a question

Clearly you've no experience from the Swedish school system at all. Ironically, it's always people like yourself with the least experience or knowledge that proclaims to be experts on how things are or should be done.

Cellphones ARE banned in classrooms in Sweden and measurements will be taken against the student if he/she break the rule. There ARE lots of discipline rules in the schools, which if breaken repeatedly will be confronted with a system of further steps of actions (google åtgärdstrappan), with everything from detention in the morning before school starts to suspension or relocation if things haven't improved.

This is not something unique to Sweden, it's always been like this more or less everywhere. Note that the author mentions immigrant boys and boys coming from family with low education background are prominent in the statistics. I'm not surprised over this as the attitude to perform well in school is largely affected by how it is valued by the parents.
18:59 November 8, 2012 by Bentham
@just a question

This is not something unique to Sweden, Go check the statistics for any country in the world and you'll find the sam pattern more or less everywhere. Note that the author mentions boys with immigrant background and boys coming from family with low education background are prominent in the statistics. I'm not surprised over this as the attitude to perform well in school is largely affected by how it is valued by the parents.

Clearly you've no experience from the school system but I'm not surprised.

Ironically, it's always people like yourself that tends to proclaim to be experts on how things are and what should be done.

Cellphones ARE banned in classrooms in Sweden and has been for a long time now. There ARE lots of rules to follow in the schools as they are obliged by law to set up official discipline rules. If the students break them repeatedly, there is a system with steps of disciplinary actions that will be taken, with everything from detention in the morning before school starts to suspension or relocation if nothing has improved.
23:19 November 8, 2012 by vbonilla
I believe that the explanation is that schools are largely staffed by females, the curriculums are developed by females, and the tests administered by females. Female teachers have an intuitive understanding of the female mind and therefore can reach the young female mind. Now, make lessons where kids have to shoot at the answers, or play action games that teach the concepts and you will see the opposite trend develop.
08:20 November 9, 2012 by smilingjack
having male and female children I have a theory.

whilst the boys are out and about being rambunctious, the girls are encouraged to sit down quietly and colour in and play with dolls.

Hence the girls from holding pencils etc earlier on develop much stronger muscles in their hands and learn to write earlier on and hence read earlier on.

boys struggle with writing because of a simple thing of not being able to hold a pen. with each new child we encouraged colouring in and drawing from an early age. by simply looking at letters and numbers all the time and being able to copy them they grasped reading and writing earlier and earlier.

I think the picture says it all.
16:25 November 9, 2012 by jla158
@uncle: "These statistics are not so different from other countries. Boys ARE less successful in schools"

The tendency are not so different, but the difference beetween boys and girls in Sweden one of the highest. Look at the last PISA test (2009):

Reading: The OECD avarage girls result is better by 39 points, but in Sweden girls result better by 47 points.

Mathematic: The OECD avarage boys result is better by 12 points, but in Sweden girls result is better by 3 points.

PIRLS and TIMMS result are the same difference beetween Sweden and other countries.
23:46 November 10, 2012 by Uncle

If I would be one easy to argue with, I would just take your stats and not notice that you actually took specific disciplines, whereas the article talks about averages.

GCSE "A" Grade 2011- Girls 26.5%, boys - 19.8%


Great Britain and New Zealand show the same effects on GPA: already in 1992 the difference jumped up from 4,4 to 12,2 marks (girls of course are better performers).


(really scientific research and conclusions)

As for the US:

"Nationwide in 2003, women earned 60% of all associate degrees, 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 59% of all master's degrees, according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics"

Would give you the link, if the site would allow it.

Girls are dominating the AVERAGES!
03:04 November 12, 2012 by jla158

Yes I can give the link for PISA 2009:


Reading (site 17), Mathematic (site 23):

There are other international tests, like PIRLS (it measure the 10 year olds reading achievement), the result is the same, Sweden gender gap is higher than avarage.

link: http://mek.oszk.hu/09300/09326/09326.pdf
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available