Addressing gender disparities in the results of large-scale tests of student writing, this study examined fourth- and eighth-grade teachers' and students' perspectives on boys' and girls' relative writing competence. Interview and questionnaire responses showed a privileging of girls' writing over boys' writing. Girls' writing was viewed as more detailed, descriptive, and showing greater conformity to writing conventions. To some extent, girls' relative success on large-scale writing assessment may be related to students' and teachers' expectations that girls are more competent than boys in the areas measured in the evaluation rubrics. The results of this study indicate a need for conversations that question an emphasis on conformity in writing and that explore ways to nurture boys' and girls' identified strengths in areas that are overlooked on evaluation rubrics, as well as their identified needs in areas that are emphasized.
Peterson, S. (2000). Grades four and eight students' and teachers' perceptions of girls' and boys' writing competencies. Reading Horizons, 40 (4). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol40/iss4/3