In 2017, what was the approximate female-to-male ratio among students who took the AP exam in Spanish Literature?
19 girls for every 10 boys
To be precise: 17,082 girls took the AP exam in Spanish Literature and Culture, and 8,752 boys, which works out to 19.51 girls for every 10 boys. For these and other data on the AP exams, go to https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/research/2017/Program-Summary-Report-2017.pdf.
There is no innate difference in the ability of girls and boys to master a foreign language; but in the United States, there is now a big gender gap in motivation. In other words: the biggest differences between girls and boys are not in what they can do but in what they want to do. In my visits to more than 400 schools over the past 17 years, I have learned a great deal about how to boost boys’ motivation in modern foreign languages as well as in English literature and creative writing, history and social studies, art and music. You can get a taste of this material in chapters 2 and 8 of my book Boys Adrift, second edition. Or, you could attend my workshop for teachers titled “Jane Eyre for Boys: Gender-specific strategies to break down gender stereotypes and broaden educational horizons.”
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