Black and Hispanic male students in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the achievement of girls not only exceeds that of boys in English language arts at all grade levels, but girls are generally outperforming boys in math as well, an area which has traditionally been a strength for boys.
Across the state, especially in the 10 largest urban districts, dropout rates are higher for boys than girls, and statewide more than two-thirds of special education placements are male.
The class of 2005 lost 23 percent of the male students that had enrolled as ninth-graders in 2002. This attrition rate was significantly higher among blacks and Hispanics. Nearly half of the 4,829 Hispanic students enrolled in ninth grade in 2002 failed to make it to the 12th grade four years later.
Closer to home, city educators have noticed over the past several years that the overwhelming majority of the top students in the system’s graduating classes have been girls.
Worcester Superintendent James Caradonio noted, for example, that one year only one of the 25 top students at one high school was a male.
“The gender gap is real and negatively affects boys, most notably black and Hispanic boys,” the brief concluded.
In addition to permitting some experimentation with single-sex education, the Rennie Center is recommending that educators incorporate information about gender differences into teacher training and pay particular attention to black and Hispanic males.
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