What is Happening to Girls Studying Economics in Low Decile Schools?

Author: Stephen Agnew, University of Canterbury

Abstract: This research attempts to show that establishing a correlation between gender and socioeconomic group with respect to academic performance across a subject can provide some illuminating data. Ordinary least squares regression is used to show there is an interaction between gender and school decile in NCEA externally assessed economics standards. On average, girls in low decile schools receive higher rates of not achieved grades in economics compared to boys in low decile schools. When this same comparison is done for girls and boys in higher decile schools, there is a statistically significant reduction in the rates of not achieved grades received by girls relative to boys. This difference is the strongest and most consistent for Europeans on average. One key finding of this paper is that girls do not perform as well as boys in low decile schools in the subject of economics, relative to their counterparts in high decile schools.