Study says boys' reading scores most pressing gender-gap issue

Boys in Kentucky's schools need to work on reading, according to a national analysis of gender gaps in education being released Wednesday.

The Kentucky results generally mirror the national picture, which shows boys trailing girls on reading assessments in most states.

The report, which covers 2007-2008, was prepared by the Center on Education Policy, an independent education advocacy organization. It called the reading performance by boys "the most pressing gender-gap issue facing our schools."

In Kentucky, 77 percent of fourth-grade girls scored at proficient level on the state reading test in 2007, compared to 70 percent of fourth-grade boys.

In 2008, however, 76 percent of fourth-grade girls tested at proficiency, while the percentage of boys at that level fell to 67 percent.

The difference was more dramatic among Kentucky eighth graders, with 74 percent of girls at proficiency in reading in 2008 compared to just 60 percent of boys. Meanwhile, among 10th graders, 68 percent of girls were at reading proficiency in 2008, compared to only 52 percent of boys.

Scores were considerably brighter in math.

The report said that 71 percent of Kentucky boys and girls in fourth grade were at proficiency in math in 2008. Boys and girls in eighth grade were tied at 51 percent proficiency in math in 2008. Among 11th graders, 39 percent of Kentucky girls and 38 percent of boys were at proficiency in math 2008.

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