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The New Zealand Curiculum Online - Success for boys.

Success for Boys navigation

Success for boys is a subsection of New Zealand Curiculum Online.

Research and evaluation

Success for Boys encourages you to look at how your school is engaging with boys and responding to their needs. A look at recent research and evaluation in this area will help you update your understanding of some of the key issues to consider.

Success for Boys provides you with a portal to access national and international research and evaluation on boys’ learning needs and educational achievement.

| New Zealand | Australia | United Kingdom | United States | Suggested readings |

He rangahau nō Aotearoa | New Zealand research

On this site:

External links

Papatoetoe High School - Enhancing literacy and numeracy skills: Year 10 Māori and Pasifika boys (2019)
Twelve year 10 boys participated in this tailormade programme. The aim was to set up the boys for future success. Participants were co-taught by four teachers and supported by community mentors. You can download the full Word doc (33.9 KB).


Glendowie School - Creativity: the catalyst for boys’ writing (2019)
Concerned about the significant gap in writing achievement between boys and girls, with a considerable percentage of boys at or below expectation, teachers at Glendowie School conducted an inquiry of two cycles, over two years. You can download the full Word doc (21.3 KB).


Boys will learn like boys (Education Gazette 26 January 2015)  
Explores strategies that get the best out of boys, particularly where engagement is concerned. 

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) practitioners, teachers, and North Shore schools work with Massey University lecturer Dr Michael to determine engagement strategies best suited for their situations.


Reading to Learn: New Zealand 15-year-olds' reading habits, learning approaches and experiences of teaching practices (2013) 
Report for primary and secondary school teachers and senior management.  

Presents evidence from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 and discusses factors that raise students reading skills. 

Download a PDF or Word document of the full report. 

  • Part 1: Full Report (PDF, 3.3 MB)
  • Part 2: Full Report (PDF, 2.6 MB) 
  • Full Report (DOC, 2.6 MB) 

International research


The Boys' Education Lighthouse Schools (BELS) programme (2003-2005) involved a school-based approach to developing and testing the effectiveness of strategies for improving learning outcomes for boys.

Following the BELS Program, the Success for Boys professional learning program was developed.

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United Kingdom

Boys' Achievement in Secondary Schools (July 2008)
Report follows up some of the issues raised in The gender divide and identifies approaches used to raise boys’ attainment.

In 1996 Ofsted published The gender divide which highlighted the gap between the performance of boys and girls.

Since then the attainment of boys has continued to lag behind girls.

Yes he can – schools where boys write well reports on writing in English in greater depth.

Selected current research in gender and educational attainment (August 2001)
Report that provides an overview of current research into the ‘gender gap’ in educational attainment and selected government strategies to prevent underachievement amongst boys.

The report, published by the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Service, identified that this gap tends to increase at the higher levels of school education.

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United States

The truth about boys and girls (June 2006)
Report produced by the Washington-based think tank Education Sector

The findings reveal that despite increasing number of reports about boys’ problems in school, a new study shows boys are actually making substantial academic gains; however, girls are making strides faster.

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Suggested readings

Keeping up to date with reading about success for boys will help your school keep its finger on the pulse and provide the best possible learning opportunities for your boys.

The following readings identify key issues and describe pedagogies related to success for boys.

Information on this page will be updated regularly, so keep coming back to see what’s new and ensure your school is up to speed with the latest recommended teaching practices to provide quality learning opportunities for boys.

Teaching Boys: Developing Classroom Practices that Work 
Amanda Keddie, Martin Mills
Allen & Unwin, 2007
ISBN: 978-1741752427
This publication bridges the gap between theory and practice to offer a practical and sustainable framework for teaching boys in classrooms at all levels.

Raising Boys’ Achievement in Primary Schools 
Mollie Warrington, Mike Younger
McGraw-Hill Education, 2001 
ISBN: 978-0335216079
This book focuses on successful approaches to raising achievement for boys and the reasons for that success. It looks at how primary schools are addressing the issue, and the processes involved in schools working collaboratively and voluntarily to share good practice.

Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) programme – results for topic search "success for boy"
BES is a collaborative knowledge-building strategy designed to strengthen the evidence base that informs education policy and practice in New Zealand. The touchstone of the programme is its focus on explaining and optimising influences on a range of desired outcomes for diverse learners. The BES series is designed to be a catalyst for systemic improvement and sustainable development in education.

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men 
Leonard Sax
New York, Basic Books, 2007
ISBN: 0465072097 
This book outlines four factors driving apathy and lack of motivation in disengaged boys: an overemphasis on reading and mathematics as early as kindergarten; video games; medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD); and endocrine disturbances (and environmental oestrogens). It also offers parenting strategies to counteract these factors.

Raising Boys' Achievement in Secondary Schools: Issues, Dilemmas and Opportunities 
Molly Warrington, Ros McLellan, Mike Younger 
Maidenhead, Open University Press, 2005
ISBN: 0335216080 
Abstract: Boys and girls talking - National and international dimensions: context and causes - The conundrum of the gender gap - What about the girls - Raising boys' achievement within an inclusive context - The context of the classroom: pedagogies and teaching-learning styles - The context of the individual: target-setting and mentoring - Organizational contexts: equal opportunities in the single-sex classroom - The socio-cultural key - Gender and achievement in special schools - Policy directions within an inclusive context.

Addressing the Education of Boys: A Community of Practice Approach 
E. Hartnell-Young, G. Neal (University of Melbourne; Victoria University)
ISSN: 1324-9320 (CD-ROM)
ISSN: 1324-9339 (Online)
In 'AARE 2005 International Education Research Conference: UWS Parramatta: papers collection' [Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, 27 November - 1 December 2005] compiled by P L Jeffrey. Melbourne: Australian Association for Research in Education, 2006. 
In this paper, the authors apply a community-of-practice model to analyse the Boys' Education Lighthouse Project (BELS) and consider knowledge building through student and teacher learning as the practice of the community in question. Clusters have focused on initiating new literacy programmes, modifying teaching practice, introducing male role models, or using ICT to improve learning outcomes.

Boys’ Underachievement: Which Boys Are We Talking About? 
Dr Wayne Martino (University of Western Ontario)
ISSN: 1913-1097 (Print)
ISSN: 1913-1100 (Online)
In What Works? Research into Practice. Research Monograph #12 (April 2008)
Boys are often presented as an undifferentiated group, on the basis of simply being boys. This has resulted in interventions designed to cater to perceived common interests and learning styles, such as the introduction of the boy-friendly curriculum and of more male teachers. This monograph looks at which boys require help becoming literate, and what kinds of help educators can provide.

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