I’m wondering what the college professors on the list have to add about this topic. One explanation for the decline in male academic achievement might be found in these excerpts: 


The New Gender Divide Series: Boys who ‘coast’

At College, Women Are Leaving Men In The Dust

A quarter-century after women became the majority on campuses, men are trailing in more than just enrollment.

By Tamar Lewin, New York Times, July 9, 2006


It is not that men are in a downward spiral: they are going to college in greater numbers and are more likely to graduate than two decades ago. Still, men now make up only 42% of the nation's college students. And with sex discrimination fading and their job opportunities widening, women are coming on much stronger, often leapfrogging the men to the academic finish. "The boys are about where they were 30 years ago, but the girls are just on a tear, doing much, much better," said Tom Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education in Washington.


Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor's degrees — and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in 4 or 5 years. Men also get worse grades than women. And in 2 national studies, college men reported that they studied less and socialized more than their female classmates.


The gender differences are not uniform. In the highest-income families, men 24 and under attend college as much as, or slightly more than, their sisters, according to the American Council on Education, whose report on these issues is scheduled for release this week.

Young men from low-income families, which are disproportionately black and Hispanic, are the most underrepresented on campus, though in middle-income families too, more daughters than sons attend college. In recent years the gender gap has been widening, especially among low-income whites and Hispanics.


When it comes to earning bachelor's degrees, the gender gap is smaller than the gap between whites and blacks or Hispanics, federal data shows.  All of this has helped set off intense debate over whether these trends show a worrisome achievement gap between men and women or whether the concern should instead be directed toward the educational difficulties of poor boys, black, white or Hispanic.


In dozens of interviews on 3 campuses — Dickinson College; American University; and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro — male and female students alike agreed that the slackers in their midst were mostly male, and that the fireballs were mostly female. Almost all speculated that it had something to do with the women's movement.  On each campus, the young women interviewed talked mostly about their drive to do well. "Most college women want a high-powered career that they are passionate about," Ms. Smyers said. "But they also want a family, and that probably means taking time off, and making dinner. I'm rushing through here, taking the most credits you can take without paying extra, because I want to do some amazing things, and establish myself as a career woman, before I settle down."  Her male classmates, she said, feel less pressure. "The men don't seem to hustle as much," Ms. Smyers said. "I think it's a male entitlement thing. They think they can sit back and relax and when they graduate, they'll still get a good job. They seem to think that if they have a firm handshake and speak properly, they'll be fine."


In the Dickinson cafeteria on a spring afternoon, the byplay between 2 men and 2 women could provide a text on gender differences. The men, Dennis Nelson and Victor Johnson, African-American football players nearing the end of their junior year, teased each other about never wanting to be seen in the library. They talked about playing "Madden," a football video game, 6 hours a day, about how they did not spend much time on homework. "A lot of women want a 4.0 average, and they'll work for it," Mr. Nelson said. "I never wanted it because it's too much work to be worth it. And a lot of women, they have everything planned out for the next 3 years."


Mr. Johnson jumped in: "Yeah, and it boggles my mind because I don't have my life planned for the next 10 minutes. Women see the long-term benefits, they take their classes seriously, and they're actively learning. We learn for tests. With us, if someone calls the night before and says there's going to be a test, we study enough for a C." His female friends offered their assessment. "They're really, really smart, and they think they don't have to work," Glenda Cabral said.


Since the process of human development crosses all borders, it makes sense that Europe, too, now has more women than men heading to college. The disengagement of young men, though, takes different forms in different cultures. Japan, over the last decade, has seen the emergence of "hikikomori" - young men withdrawing to their rooms, eschewing social life for months or years on end.


At Dickinson, some professors and administrators have begun to notice a similar withdrawal among men who arrive on campus with deficient social skills. Each year, there are several who mostly stay in their rooms, talk to no one, play video games into the wee hours and miss classes until they withdraw or flunk out.  Of course, female behavior has its own extremes. In freshman women, educators worry about eating disorders and perfectionism.  But among the freshman men, the problems stem mostly from immaturity. 




Next: Football carries a special allure for small colleges with overwhelming female populations.


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