Gender Gaps in Student Achievement in Turkey Evidence From PISA 2015 and TIMSS 2015: a policy note from Aydın Doğan Foundation and Education Reform Initiative

Aydın Doğan Foundation and Education Reform Initiative analysed performance differences between girls and boys in PISA 2015 and TIMSS 2015 and issued a policy note based on the main findings of “Gender Gaps in Student Achievement in Turkey” studies.

In the policy note, both PISA and TIMSS data is analysed based on gender, and endowments of girls and boys in Turkey, such as sense of belonging to school, achievement motivation, attitudes towards learning, are examined. By analysing the achievements of girls and boys in translating these endowments into their performance, policy recommendations are made for students to use their full potential and be successful.

Among other findings, evidence from TIMSS shows that the positive effect of early childhood education on student achievement is stronger for girls than it is for boys. Sensitising parents on the significance of early childhood education as well as literacy and numeracy activities prior to schooling, would support academic performance of all students, especially girls. Additionally, education policies should be guided towards improving the enrolment rates, which are relatively low, and the quality of early childhood education.

In addition to interventions that specifically target girls, there is also a need for policies targeting all students in order to allow them to perform to their full potential. The analysis shows that home environment matters for student achievement: conversing regularly with parents is crucial for both girls’ and boys’ performance in science, mathematics and Turkish literacy.

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