Boys are ‘grossly unfair’ disadvantaged in school system – Kelly

Boys are at a “gross unfair” disadvantage in the school environment, according to Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly.

She was speaking after a new study found that teachers consistently give girls higher grades than boys.

The study, conducted by researchers in Italy and published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education, suggests that teachers unconsciously reward students for exhibiting traditionally feminine behavior, such as quietness and cleanliness.

He also suggests that teachers give girls inflated grades in math to encourage them because they are often seen as weaker in the subject.

To test their theories, the researchers looked at the test scores of nearly 40,000 teens — some graded by their teachers and others graded anonymously.

Consistent with previous studies, anonymous testing saw girls outperform boys in language while boys performed better in math.

Regarding the marks given by the teachers; however, girls performed significantly better than boys in both cases.

On Newstalk breakfast this morning, Ciara Kelly said boys face a ‘grossly unfair’ disadvantage in schools.

“Education should serve children who come through the system, including boys,” Ciara said.

“I already think boys are at a bit of a disadvantage in education, not just in terms of their grades, but also the fact that there are, by far, far more female teachers than male teachers.

“Boys tend to be a bit more vocal and physical and I think maybe they end up being seen as troublesome when maybe they’re just kids being themselves.

“I think there are a lot of issues around boys in education and how well we serve them.”


The Newstalk breakfast The presenter said the problems create much bigger problems for society as a whole.

“We have a situation where, in my former profession as a doctor, the vast majority of people who get these strengths and get into it are girls,” she said.

“We are feminizing certain professions and I think that’s bad for society because, I think, men should be able to choose to see a male doctor to talk about private things and all that kind of stuff.

“So I think there are issues around that and the lack of fairness bothers me – and that’s not to say that I don’t understand that men still run the world and that’s also unfair.”


Ciara said we should do everything we can to ensure fairness at all levels.

“We are moving more and more towards continuous assessment which will favor girls more and we know by this that teachers are hardwired to give girls higher grades,” she said.

“We don’t want to skew education and academia so that girls have some sort of unfair advantage.

“It’s not good for our boys. I have three sons and one daughter and would like to see equity in all areas for each of them.

Jeremy S. McLain