Which Gender Has Better Reading and Writing Skills?

Hi! We meet again! Last time, I wrote an article on “Who is Better in  Computation and Problem-Solving Boy or Girl?” which is explicitly concluded by girls  acquiring these skills better than boys in the early and middle of secondary school.  Then, it showed a twist when the school come to its end.  

This time, I would like to research other skills that I am also curious about – reading and writing skills. Before we start, let’s take a look at a few related articles.  Based on the article by Alia Wong (2018) titled “Why Girls are Better at Reading Than  Boys?”, she shared research by Keith Topping, a professor from Scotland’s University of Dundee, 

Girls tend to do almost everything more thoroughly than boys,” Topping told  me over email, while conversely, boys are “more careless about some, if not  most, school subjects.” And notably, as countless studies have shown, girls are  also more likely to read for pleasure. 

An article was written by Jamie Ballard (2018), a data journalist of, said that in America, women generally read more books than men.  

Based on the articles mentioned, as a hypothesis, we can say that girls read  more than boys, which helps turn out girls to have better grammar and enable them  to have a quick understanding and score better in reading and writing.  

To have better insights, I’m going to use the data from users of Pandai. They  are the students of year six and form 3. I will compare the test results of their English,  Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and Science subjects to see which of them scored better. 

Let’s take a look at the bar chart below. For this illustration, the score of 250 year-six boy and girl students is used. 

The chart presents comparisons in the score between boys and girls in English, Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and Science subjects of year six students. There is a statistically slight difference between the two groups for English and Bahasa Melayu, while for Mathematics and Science, it shows quite a large gap between the scores.

As we can see, in English subject, girl scored an average of 80.7%, with a tiny gap more significant by 1.3% than the boy. For Bahasa Melayu, even with a slight difference, it also seemed to be dominated by girls with greater by 1%. In Mathematics, it shows a 5.9-point gap and a 1.5-point gap in Science, both favoured by girls.

Overall, it is clear that girls performed better than boys in all four subjects during primary school.

Now that we’ve got the insights for primary school, I am curious, how is it in secondary school?

The bar chart illustrates the score of boys and girls of form 3 students in four subjects. A total of 200 students from both boys and girls are used.

The result shows a similar pattern as in primary school, where girl students dominated the achievement in all subjects. The boy and girl students scored an average of 74.3% and 75.2% in English, 64.1%, and 66.1% in Bahasa Melayu, respectively. There is a 0.9-point gap in the average score of English and a difference of 2 percentage points in Bahasa Melayu between both genders. Both favouring girls. As for Science and Mathematics, we can see girls overscored boys with a difference in 4.9% in Mathematics and 2.5% in Science.

Conclusively, we can say that in secondary school, girls maintained their excellency in all four subjects.

The results in Figure 1 and Figure 2 showed that girl’s performance in the four subjects is often higher than boys from primary school up to secondary school. Girls significantly outperformed boys in reading and writing ability across all grades. This is because girls tend to have a quicker understanding compared to boys.

Based on the results that we got, few approaches should be applied. Educators may need to concentrate more on reading and writing for boys in the classroom. Besides that, teachers should also be aware that more varied reading and writing learning strategies are essential for students, especially boy students who are not good at both. Apart from that, higher motivated boys perform better than those with poorly written motivation, so educators can focus on students’ motivation to influence student results more indirectly.


1. reading-boys/571429/

2. reports/2018/08/14/reading-books-men-women

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