Coursework 'will widen gender gap'
A LEADING UK academic has warned that continuous assessment will widen the gender gap and see girls perform even better than boys.
Girls already get better results than boys in the state exams. However, with plans for more continuous assessment for the Junior Certificate, this divergence could become even more pronounced, warned Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham.
He said coursework, or continuous assessment, favoured girls as they tended to apply themselves more consistently and spend considerably more time on schoolwork than boys.
"Coursework tends to put hard work at a premium over talent. However, as one goes into subjects more deeply (as happens at Leaving Certificate level), hard work won't be enough," he warned.
Educational sources in the UK said middle-class pupils were also perceived as gaining an unfair advantage over their less well-off peers from a greater emphasis on coursework.