In 2009 boys were 30 percent more likely to drop out of high school than girls, and girls received 57 percent of college degrees (Snyder &Dillow 2011). The Department of Education forecasts that growth in women's educational attainment will continue to outpace men's, so that increasingly the problem of ensuring that we are fully developing our nation's human capital will be an issue of making sure that boys, as well as girls, are not being left behind. To address the growing disadvantages faced by boys in school, this project will draw on research from sociologists, economists, and psychologists and provide international and longitudinal perspectives on this issue. Specifically, this project has two research objectives: 1) To capitalize on cross- national variation in gender regimes to investigate how gender shapes boys'educational disadvantages and interacts with home and school factors to contribute to boys'underachievement;and 2) To trace the longitudinal development of boys'educational disadvantages, identifying key periods and factors using panel data from the US and three strategically chosen countries. Current cross-national research largely ignores how micro-level factors such as students'developmental stage and teachers'classroom practices might interact with broader contextual factors. To address this shortcoming, this proposal will allow the PI to develop expertise in 1) Human development and 2) Pedagogical theory, through a combination of 1) Mentoring from Greg Duncan and Deborah Vandell;2) Directed study with Greg Duncan, Frank Furstenberg, Jim Stigler, and Deborah Vandell;3) Coursework;and 4) Attending conferences and seminars. The training received through this project will augment the PI's expertise in international research, and allow the PI to combine international comparative perspectives with insights from human development and pedagogical theory. These training goals, together with the publications resulting from the research, will contribute to the PI's long-term goal of becoming an independent investigator capable of producing research of interest to the broad interdisciplinary community of scholars working on questions of human capital development. UC Irvine's history of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences and the presence of outstanding interdisciplinary mentors with backgrounds in economics and psychology make UC Irvine an ideal environment in which to pursue this project.

Public Health Relevance

The prosperity of the United States hinges on the ability of its educational system to supply a well-trained workforce. As the growth in women's educational attainment continues to outpace men's, fully developing our nation's human capital will entail ensuring that both boys and girls are not being left behind. By comparing how gender differences vary across a wide variety of national contexts, this study will help us understand the contexts in which boys fail to fully develop their human capital.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Study Section
Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
King, Rosalind B
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University of California Irvine
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Domina, Thurston; Penner, Andrew; Penner, Emily (2017) Categorical Inequality: Schools As Sorting Machines. Annu Rev Sociol 43:311-330
Sanabria, Tanya; Penner, Andrew (2017) Weeded Out? Gendered Responses to Failing Calculus. Soc Sci (Basel) 6:
Domina, Thurston; Penner, Andrew M; Penner, Emily K (2016) `Membership Has Its Privileges': Status Incentives and Categorical Inequality in Education. Sociol Sci 3:264-295
Goldman, Amy D; Penner, Andrew M (2016) Exploring international gender differences in mathematics self-concept. Int J Adolesc Youth 21:403-418
Penner, Andrew M; Domina, Thurston; Penner, Emily K et al. (2015) Curricular policy as a collective effects problem: A distributional approach. Soc Sci Res 52:627-41
Penner, Andrew M (2014) Can we expect more of teachers? Comment on Robinson-Cimpian, Lubienski, Ganley, and Copur-Gencturk (2014). Dev Psychol 50:1285-7