I’ve noticed a trend. Since I work with high school students and their families, I attend many graduation ceremonies — and over the past decade, nearly every valedictorian, it seems, has been female.

As I further examined this phenomenon, statistics revealed young women’s academic strength: Approximately 70 percent of high school valedictorians across the country are women. Women are not only dominating during high school, they are also outnumbering men at college by nearly 1.4 to 1, according to a report by Inside Higher Education.

It is well documented that girls often learn to read sooner than boys. By first grade, the gap between boys and girls is the widest for reading and writing, the Center on Education Policy has found. In every grade, boys, on average, trail girls in reading, and boys tend to enjoy reading less. Since reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built, a head start by girls quickly becomes insurmountable.

To many educators, this literary chasm is the most pressing gender gap issue facing our schools.

To further widen this gap, girls prioritize their homework more compared to their male classmates: On average, ninth-grade girls spend five-and-a-half hours per week doing homework, while their male classmates spend approximately four-and-a-half hours, according to a report in The Economist. Such dedication results in better performance across all subjects. According to Dr. Michael Thompson, author of the book “Raising Cain,” “Girls [are] outperform[ing] boys in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, and graduate school.”

[lz_related_box id=”93234″]

To many researchers, the disparity between boys and girls in education is due to the evolving curriculum at schools. Common Core State Standards require children to learn how to read in kindergarten, a time when most boys are not developmentally ready, the Washington Post and others have noted. Richard Whitmire, the author of “Why Boys Fail,” has said, “Today’s accelerated academic demands have been hard on boys, who tend to develop more slowly than girls do.”

Even though teachers know that boys start off slower in the areas of reading and writing, the elementary classroom is, on average, four-fifths language-based, according to Dr. Thomas Newkirk, author of “Misreading Masculinity.” Pediatric neurologists have proven that boys mature more slowly than girls; specifically, girls have more of their cerebral cortex defined for verbal function at a younger age. As researchers have noted, “The world has gotten more verbal; boys haven’t.”

Common Core exacerbates this gender divide by requiring kindergarten students to read “complex texts.”

This academic gap is taking a psychological toll on boys; they are far more likely to be disciplined at school, accounting for 71 percent of all school suspensions, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Who do you think would win the Presidency?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

Boys are also 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of school.

[lz_related_box id=”123845″]

To escape the constant academic pressure, many boys turn to video games. Boys spend more time in the virtual world playing online games compared to their female counterparts. In a recent middle-school study done by the Educational Research Service, boys reported playing an average of 13 hours per week, while girls played an average of 5 hours per week. These boys showed less advancement in their reading and writing skills compared to their female counterparts.

Specifically, boys who played video games spent 30 percent less time reading and 34 percent less time doing homework than their female classmates, according to a report in Parenting Science.

“Girls and boys have very similar rates of intelligence. But girls do work harder — and their hard work pays off,” said Claudia Buchmann in her book, “The Rise of Women.”

On top of all of this, statistics show that 25 percent more females take Advanced Placement (AP) tests in high school than males. The problems encountered by male students are not caused by a lack of intelligence — but by the difficulty in adapting to certain classroom environments and contrasting learning styles. To many researchers, the difference between the genders is more about motivation than ability.

Some researchers believe that female students’ motivation stems from a backlash against men’s socioeconomic dominance. Women not only represent a majority of young adults enrolled as college undergraduates — they also now comprise nearly three-fifths of graduate students, the Census Bureau has reported.

[lz_related_box id=”125500″]

Young women are driving the change. In the 25 to 32 age group, 38 percent of women have a bachelor’s degree, while only 31 percent of men do, the Pew Research Center has found.

According to Hanna Rosin, author of “The End of Men,” “Women are speeding past men in schools and in the workplace.”

While the future is bright for women, it is very unsettling for young men.

Parents of boys in the younger grades can take several steps to address these issues proactively. They can work with their school districts and administrators to help make classrooms friendlier to boys in the younger grades — specifically, by the addition of more hands-on projects, more movement around the classroom, and more unstructured playtime.

Parents can also introduce their boys to graphic novels, comic books and magazines; used as a supplement to their reading for school, this variety of reading material can help boys with their reading skills.

Another idea is to provide a gap year for high school graduates who are not quite as mature as their peers. Young men who work, travel, or volunteer during a gap year — interacting with others outside of a classroom structure — tend to be more mature when they arrive at college and more engaged in their education moving forward, according to research.

Daniel Riseman, founder of Riseman Educational Consulting in Irvington, New York, has been counseling students and working with families for 16 years on every aspect of the college admissions process, including tutoring students for SAT and ACT tests and selecting schools and majors.