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Challenging Underachievement in Boys: A Critical Review of Unreliable and Misinterpreted Data Collection Methods

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  1. Introduction
  2. Method critique
  3. Results critique of stage one
  4. Results critique of stage two
  5. Wide data range
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

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. [...]


[...] Carol Adams, GTC Chief Executive Speaker at the Labour Party Conference 2005 discussed the primary fault with national assessments and testing, A recent review of the impact testing has on pupils' motivation found that since testing in this country became linked to school targets and league tables, low-achieving pupils had lower self-esteem than before. It found that the external publication of results, which made the tests ?higher stakes? for schools and teachers, discouraged rather than encouraged these pupils to try to improve their achievement A loss in motivation can be devastating to a pupil's attainment, as Adams' (2005) explains. [...]

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