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Gender Gap in Student Engagement

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According to a study by students of Hazara University they found that the girls they studied were better in using study skills compared to the boys studied. (Fazal, Hussain, Majoka, & Masood, 2012) Girls were scoring higher in test scores because they were “self-regulated” learners and had better study skills that they learned possibly as early as the pre-school age range. As stated by Crede and Kuncel “study skills are the ability of a student to know suitable strategies and methods for study, whole utilizing his/her time and resources efficiently.” (Crede & Kuncel, 2008) However, after conducting a study to see if there is a difference in the ways a certain gender may study, it was found that gender does not appear to be as big as a factor as one would assume when it comes to study skills and applying them.

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This study was focused on different aspects of college students’ studying habits. It asked students if they procrastinated or worked ahead on their school work. They were also asked about where they preferred to study, did they prefer to study in their rooms or in public places for example the library or Post 95. The survey questioned how students studied. Did they have a scheduled work period for each day or did they just work whenever they could. The survey received various answers from thirty-five students. Of which, eleven were male and the remaining twenty-five were female. The goal of the surveys was to see if there was really a difference between the way females and males study and if they were satisfied with the grades they received in correlation of the amount of hours they studied or worked.

An article on the gender gap in student engagement stated that studies found that women tend to study abroad, volunteer in the community, and spend longer hours preparing for class. Men, however spend more time playing video games, relaxing, and watching television. In contrast to women men have more substantive engagements with their professors and are more likely to do undergraduate research. Although women do many of the things that researchers have identified as positive influences on a college experience, they also report higher levels of stress and lower confidence than men. (Sander , 2012) The surveys support the male aspect of this research found. In class when asked a male student claimed one of his reasons for procrastinating was that he played videogames often which push back or even cut into his study hours. Many other male students agreed that their reasoning was the same.

On the survey seven out of eleven males reported that they procrastinated and sixteen out of twenty-five females admitted to procrastinating on schoolwork. Only nine females and four males worked ahead. In support of the surveys, an article about procrastination in which researchers who have studied academic procrastination have found that as many as 50% of undergraduates at one university report a tendency to procrastinate on assignments. (Haycock, McCarthy, & Skay, 1998) Procrastination is widely spread for many reasons; for example; behaviorists believe that procrastination is a learned habit developing from a human preference for pleasurable activities and short-term rewards. (McCown, An Empirical Investigation of the Behaviors of Procrastinators, 1986) This explains why videogames are often used as means of procrastination. However, in contrast psychodynamic theorists view procrastination as rebellion against overly demanding or overindulgent parents, or as a means of avoiding unconscious anxiety. (Blatt, 1967; McCown , Petzel , & Rupert, 1987) Yet another popular theory about the etiology of procrastination is that it is a strategy for protecting a fragile sense of self-esteem. (Brown, 1992; Burka & Yuen, 1983) Students did not offer any other excuse for procrastination other than they always had something better that they wanted to do.

Many students reported listening to music while other students needed complete silence in order to focus. Nineteen out of the thirty-five people surveyed listen to music while studying the remaining sixteen stated that music distracted them and preferred studying in silence. Out of the students that study with music on fourteen out of nineteen reported being satisfied with their grades. Six of the students that listen to music while studying are male, five of them were satisfied with their grades. Having music playing or having silence does not seem to have an impact on the students’ grades. Distractions effect each student differently some students are better at tuning out their surrounding than others.

Women work harder to meet expectations, therefore spending more time on drafts of paper and projects before turning them in then men. (Sander , 2012) The majority of females that participated in the survey studied for at least three and a half hours a day. The majority of males that took the survey studied for an average of one and a half hours a day. In contradiction to the time spent studying more female than males report being unhappy with their grades in correlation to the amount of time they put into studying. From an article on confronting the gender gap in student engagement it shows that males may be happier with their grades because they are more confident and feel as if they can talk their way through situations. The article states “when left to their own devices in an academic environment, women are excelling. However, that doesn’t always translate into professionally oriented tasks like career fairs, where men often schmooze more readily with prospective employers. Guys don’t seem too concerned with their grades defining them. Their social capital comes from how many women they were sleeping with or how good they were at sports or what job they were aspiring to.” (Sander , 2012)

Another focus the survey provided was where and how students studied. Many students prefer to study in their rooms others in the library or in Post 95. The students that preferred to study in the library or at Post 95 also felt that they studied better in a group or with one other person. However, more than half of the surveyed students reported being able to focus more easily alone in their dorm room. The students also gave different study tactics they used. Some rewrote their notes, others read their material out loud, and many make flashcards or study guides. Even though many of the students had their go to study habits most of them do not have a strict schedule that they’ve set aside for just studying. According to an article on study skills and academic achievements, this is not a problem because students should work with they feel fresh. Some students can best perform in the morning, while others perform better in midday or the evening. They can best utilize their time at these day times and more positively than other times of the day. (Fry, 2003)

Looking at the different habits and grade satisfaction there is not a big jump between the two genders that were surveyed. The comparison of the percentage of males and female procrastinating shows that it’s not a gender based idea, they both procrastinate just as equally. Each gender does have a different reaction to studying and their grades. Males tend to have a more relaxed approach to studying and their workload and females are more likely to stress out and develop anxiety. This is obvious when looking at the comparison of male and female average of hours that they studied per day. Both genders have a general idea of what study tactic work best for them. The majority of them use flashcards to quiz themselves on the material they’re studying. Different study habits vary among the students not the genders even though females tend to study more than males.

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