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South Africa’s Pro-Girl Gap in PIRLS and TIMSS: How Much Can Be Explained?

Heleen Hofmeyr ()
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Heleen Hofmeyr: Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP), Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University

No 17/2020, Working Papers from Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper analyses South Africa’s pro-girl gap in Grade 4 reading and Grade 5 mathematics achievement. I make use of Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis to decompose the observed gender gaps into their explained and unexplained components, separately by school socio-economic quintile. Contributing to a growing body of evidence internationally that pro-girl gaps in education may be due to girls having better-developed non-cognitive skills than boys, I find that South African girls display more of the traits and behaviours that are associated with school achievement than boys. Interestingly, the results of the decomposition analysis suggest that these factors explain a larger proportion of the pro-girl gap in Grade 4 reading than Grade 5 mathematics. The results further indicate that although part of South Africa’s pro-girl gap in PIRLS and TIMSS is attributable to a female advantage in grade completion in the early grades, there is still much about South Africa’s pro-girl advantage in education that remains unexplained.

Keywords: gender; non-cognitive skills; literacy; numeracy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I21 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2020/wp172020/wp172020.pdf First version, 2020 (application/pdf)

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