Raising the achievement level of male pupils, especially disadvantaged males, has been a concern of the UK educational system from several years. Many studies have been conducted using various methods and data sources. The following paper is a critical review of "Challenging Underachievement in Boys" (Lindsay and Muijs, 2006); which was conducted by the authors and the Scrutiny Commission. The researchers use a multilevel model of analysis which has been debated by researchers as to its reliability. In many cases, multilevel models can provide a more realistic approach to problems by analyzing various viewpoints and levels of a given problem which is especially useful when data is missing. Student achievement is a complex issue with many possible influencing factors.
[...] As the authors' write; Visits were made, in some cases, as a group comprising one of the authors together with two members of the Scrutiny Commission and one or two officers of the authority, who provided administrative support to the Scrutiny Commission (Lindsay and Muijs, 2006: 317). It is impossible to say whether the interviews were conducted using similar methods because the interviewers present at each interview changed. The length of time that each interview was held varied as well. [...]
[...] CONCLUSION There is a significant need for investigating possible methods for improving the achievement levels of disadvantaged male pupils, especially those of black Africans and black Caribbean ethnicity. It is an extensive problem which requires in-depth, well organized research. Lindsay and Muijs' study skimmed the very first layer of the problem however, it did reveal the recent mindset of many LEAs, who feel that student motivation and self-esteem is essential to attainment. Although the researchers did not state this directly, the results of "value added" schools demonstrated the need by implanting programmes directed at increasing self-esteem and motivation. [...]
[...] It was the basis of a formal conference which included special interest groups, as such the handling of data by the Scrutiny Commission and the authors may have been tampered with in order to grab the attention of the special interest groups. While the authors claimed to be the "outside experts" responsible for the primary design and implementation of the study, the reliability of the data collection procedures by outside non-experts in questionable (Lindsay and Muijs, 2006: 316). The researchers of the study did confirm that other researchers were concerned with the reliability of the study; three researchers, "Atkinson and Delamont (1985) and Adelman (1989)" were specifically mentioned (2006: 316). [...]
[...] As the data collection throughout Stage 1 was sporadic and unregulated, there is no way of knowing whether the chosen schools were actually the most appropriate choices. RESULTS CRITIQUE OF STAGE TWO Stage 2 appeared to be more organized as the same number of schools was chosen for primary and secondary school interviews. It must be noted however, that these schools were chosen based on unreliable and incompatible data. Lindsay, Muijs and the Scrutiny Committee (2006) found that of the six chosen schools for interview, all of the schools used a multiple approach to attainment. [...]
[...] Wide Data Range Various data collection methods were used in Lindsay's et al. (2006) study; information from various assessments, school levels and age ranges was collected. This allowed for an abundance of data with little comparative value. Initially, the data to be used was to come from key stages 1-3 and the GCSE; however, the results indicate that key stage Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) data was also included within the attainment methods of individual schools. [...]
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