Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Quick hit: Competent Children, Competent Learners report at 16 years of age

An NZPA report in today's Herald:
...Female 16-year-old school leavers were the unhappiest group surveyed , the report found.

Boys of the same age who left school were much happier.

The boys went to a specific job or training and left school because they were bored, head researcher Cathy Wylie said.

The girls' main reasons for leaving school were because they found it too hard, or they were depressed.

They were less likely to be following other interests, more likely to be hanging out with peers who were into drugs, or thought unsafe sex was okay, Ms Wylie said.

"About two thirds of the female school leavers said they never spent time on an interest or hobby."

That only applied to 14 per cent of the male school leavers, Ms Wylie said.
Click through for the whole article, which also covers other findings of the study, including that a mother's qualification had the largest association with the child's "cognitive and attitudinal competencies".


Byron said...

interesting, but the sample size seems to small for the research to show anything; "Out of the 447 who took part in this phase of the project, 420 were still at school and 27 had left."

So all this information is based on 27 school leavers? I'd like to see a study with a larger sample

Anna said...

I think you're right, Byron - really interesting cohort study, but it would be great to see further research on the gender/school leaving issue particularly. Could be really valuable.

It'd also be interesting to know how this stuff fits with claims that the curriculum favours female learners.

Something odd about this study was the under 16s having sex and falling in love bit. The sex thing might be a worry - but haven't teenagers been falling in love since the beginning of time? And is it anything to have a moral panic about?

backin15 said...

I too think Byron's point is a fair one. This research is interesting, but it's not consistent with other national and international studies. I'm not saying it's wrong, and the findings are worrying, but NZ senior secondary retention and achievement rates are improving. Perhaps Wylie's research conclusions tell less about systemic issues and more about particular at-risk cohorts?

Anonymous said...

Since we don't know how many boys vs girls drop out, we learn nothing. If only 6 girls have dropped out, then 4 girls and 3 boys have no hobbies or interests, meaningless.