Educator Claims 'Damning Evidence' Against Games, Offers Little

An evenhanded study last month about kids and schoolwork found "nothing evil about video games", but not a Kansas educator, who bootstraps those findings to his claim that games are responsible for the widening achievement gap between boys and girls.

John Richard Schrock, writing for The Wichita Eagle speaks of seeing "mostly women's faces" when he lectures at Chinese universities ("except in the forestry schools,") and that colleagues in Europe anecdotally describe the same thing. From there, he makes this leap: "Whatever is depressing boys' school performance is cutting across cultural and political boundaries and widely disparate educational systems."

He then goes back 15 years ago, when boys and girls' academic performance started to diverge. "This decline in boys' scores coincides with the emergence of video games," Schrock states flatly.

"[E] ducators and computer enthusiasts are in denial, trying to find fault with [last month's]study or somehow deflect the damning evidence," Schrock writes. "There are now more women in the American work force than men, in part because of layoffs. But the academic decline in boys began 15 years before the recession. If we are going to stop this educational slide of males, we are going to have to take the electronic toys out of the hands of our young boys."

I'm not too exercised about this because, in the end, this is a local piece, and the guy is stating - in a little more heated way - what the Denison University researcher said in the first place, that kids time in front of consoles should be controlled. We hear a lot of that in our comments and, really, who would disagree with that?

But it's connecting a lot of dots to say university classrooms from China to Europe are full of girls because of a global attention-deficit pandemic caused by video games. The workforce has changed. Opportunities for women have increased. Competition for desirable jobs and for enrolment in leading universities is more keen, generation to generation. These could be factors in any perceived or real achievement gap between the genders, too.

Oh, I'm not backing up any of this with data, trends or studies. But neither did Schrock.

Are Video Games Causing Achievement Gap? [Wichita Eagle via Game Politics]


    Wow he's about five years behind in the argument. He just said that girls don't play games.

    More seriously, I agree with Owen. The 'glass ceiling' of the 80's and 90's has disappeared and women are considered equally capable in the majority of career roles.

    So now he's seeing mostly female faces in his lectures? It could also be the subjects he's lecturing on. My group of friends was about 10 males and 3 females... and I'm the only one who didn't go to university.

    I think maybe Schrock just wanted him name in print outside the education circuit.

    John Richard Schrock, writing for The Wichita Eagle speaks of seeing “mostly women’s faces” when he lectures at Chinese universities (“except in the forestry schools,”) and that colleagues in Europe anecdotally describe the same thing. From there, he makes this leap: “Whatever is depressing boys’ school performance is cutting across cultural and political boundaries and widely disparate educational systems.”

    So just out of curiosity what classes do these lectures see mostly women's faces? A few years ago I would walk into a 500 seat lecture hall for an maths or engineering class and it would be a massive sausagefest. Does this mean there is something stopping women being good at math?Wouldn't it be logical to do a study to actually compare the GRADES of students who play video games to those who don't to see ifthere is a connection?

      I'm wondering the same. Engineering based subjects still are sausage fests. My guess is he's lecturing commerce, arts or law based subjects where women are more prolific - a trend that's coincided with equal opportunity laws. You then have to factor in what guys tend to do when they get out of high school, many will get into blue collar jobs where a university degree is not required. Whether this is related to dodgey academics due to games can't be confirmed without a proper study. Should also consider the psychological differences between men and women. Women psychologically may prefer higher status jobs or maybe men are less likely to plan ahead and don't think about going to uni. I've been to 3 uni's and I honestly have not noticed a major gender gap.

      I'm not sure how any of this applies between different countries but they've got to be considered before making a statement. If he's going to make a comment like that, he should back it up with proper peer reviewed studies - being a university lecture, he should know better.

        A quick google of his name reveals a Ph. D. in entomology, and he teaches generally biology-related subjects. Biology being a fairly female-dominated subject (at least from my own experience). Maybe he should hop in to an undergrad physics lecture.

          I agree, 1st year physics, 120 students... like 7 girls.


    There's a problem with the achioevement cap? I've got more than 30000 points worth of them!

    What a retard. There's no mention made of the increasing trend of girls playing computer games. Perhaps in his mind, this would lead to the gap being closed, with both girls and boys achieving low scores. Damn you Mario. Damn you Pikachu. Single handedly (and pawedly) wreaking the future of humanity.

    Are you joking?

    You could easily as say in 1995; The World Trade Organization (WTO) is established to replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which then allowed for better flow of goods between countries, thus aiding gloablisation and allowing more women to go to schools in areas they would not have been able to before.

    Of course my argument is not supported by anything except for the fact that these 2 events did occur; too many dots to connect imo

    The 'boys decline' would have nothing to do with the rapid decline in male teachers would it. In a system that assumes your a peadophile if your a male I wouldnt go near teaching with a 10ft barge pole.

    Much easier to blame games.

    correlation does not equal causation

      Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

    If I walk into a lecture theater and see all female faces, I know I'm in the wrong room.
    I guess he is not teaching I.T.

    I know many of my mates in engineering and IT say that out of classes of like 100 there are 3-4 girls, if that in the lecture theaters. However in my course (psychology) the ratio between girls which make up 90% of the 200-300 strong group and boys is staggering. I can't comment on whether it has been like this for a while or if it is a new trend but i think it has been like this for a while in psych because ALOT of honors and masters students are female as well and thats a 2-3 course.

    So that guy is saying its not because women have equal rights and opportunity now, hes saying the reason they get jobs is because boys stopped trying for them? how sexist ;P

    If I recall, 15+ years ago there was a greater push to get more girls to complete their senior high school years AT ALL:) there was a sudden spike in awareness of girls' overall academic achievement, and measures were put in place across most of the developed world to help bump up their grades overall and in sci-math particularly... but there was some concern at the time that we were doing all this at the expense of boys? Again, all this is anecdotal, just like Mr. "I only notice the chix" in Witchita :)

    Here's a headline for you: Common Internet Joes Find 'Damning Evidence' Educator Is Full Of Crap, Barely Need To Try Because He Makes It So Easy.

    Someone needs to go out there and hit this loser with a rubber chicken.

    The biggest problem with this argument is you just can’t just generalize based on other statistics or studies. Some kids can play games non-stop and still do fantastic in school while others cant (that was me!).

    Having said that (and I do agree the evidence mentioned above is completely debatable) I think it’s true that stuff like mmos and wow can be a powerful and involving force if not done in moderation (much more so then the snes and nes games I grew up with). It’s entirely possible that gaming could be a slice of the reason there’s a slouch in academic outcomes but could actually be more of a symptom than a cause (eg boys escaping into games to cope with issues and problems going on in life).

    I would say a lack of Male teachers or decent male role models in society, stress from broken or poor family life and/or a lack of relevance in teaching methods for guys have just as much bearing as to why guys are tuning out of a part of life that is so important for their future.

    Another random idiot making big false claims about games solely for attention.

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