Achievement and gender

Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2011 - 2013
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg


Short description

On teaching, youth groups and local conditions.

Aim of the project

The study aims at exploring understandings of gender and achievement in various educational settings and local contexts. It takes as a starting point gender differences in achievement, and the theoretical explanations for boys´ lower achievement emphasising the dissociation between hegemonic young masculinities and school work.

Empirical research in this area has typically focused on understandings and ideals within youth groups and concluded ´laddish´ performances of masculinity to attract higher status. We acknowledge the importance of this line of research, but also emphasise the need to explore in greater detail the discourses on gender and educational achievement that are communicated in various teaching settings.

Hence, in the present study we aim to study

  • the understandings of achievement and marks that are communicated among various groups of young people in school and their relations to dominant femininities and masculinities in the groups
  • the understandings of achievement and gender that are communicated in teaching 
  • young people´s conceptions of the meanings of academic achievement for their present and future lives.

This will be explored by use of ethnografic research, including classroom observations and student interviews, in nine lower secondary classes in ninth grade. The classes will be chosen to include schools in different socio-economic areas and, within these areas, with different levels of educational achievement.


Project members

Elisabet Öhrn, Project Leader, University of Gothenburg

Lisa Asp-Onsjö,  Senior Lecturer, University of Gothenburg

Jan Gustafsson, Senior Researcher, University of Gothenburg

Ann-Sofie Holm, Senior Lecturer, University of Gothenburg