Are They the Same - a Project to Examine the Successes of Adolescent Males in Education in Secondary and Tertiary Settings

Year: 2000

Author: TRENT, F, SLADE, M

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Much has been made of the drop out rate of adolescent males from education, particularly as a contrast to adolescent females. This research, funded by DETYA , is designed to look at the boys' perception of what is happening . This involved talking to adolescents from all three schooling sectors, urban and rural and examining University achievement to see whether any particular discipline patterns emerge. The research occurred in two stages, both using focus groups. 360 adolescents were interviewed and their thoughts summarised. These summarie were returned to them for checking. The checked results formed the basis for discussions with those who had left school and for the remainder of the 1800 sample, over 60 schools. Some tertiary students were also interviewed.

Results show that there are conflicting paradigms at work . These cover notions of success, achievement, what is reasonable, adult society and schooling, teacher expectations, curriculum and assessment. Contrary to what appears in the literature, the effects of gender and masculinity are not seen as issues.

The research suggests a greater need for flexibility, structural change and a closer relationship between school and the world if the pressures which result in resistance, and despair are to be lessened and success rates of adolescents at school to be raised.