Original Research

Gender differences in academic achievement of children with developmental coordination disorder

Elna de Waal, Anita E. Pienaar, Dané Coetzee
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 1 | a515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.515 | © 2018 Elna De Waal, Anita E. Pienaar, Dané Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2016 | Published: 19 November 2018

About the author(s)

Elna de Waal, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhasRec), Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa
Anita E. Pienaar, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhasRec), Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa
Dané Coetzee, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhasRec), Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University,, South Africa

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Background: Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) has a negative impact on everyday activities and academic achievement in children, mainly owing to similar underlying motor and cognitive constructs. Academic achievement of boys and girls seems to be different, with boys being more prone to academic backlogs, especially in language-related areas.

Aim: This study investigated if boys with DCD displayed more academic problems than girls with DCD.

Setting: Ten-year-old children (N = 221, ±0.41) from different economic backgrounds were randomly selected for assessment as part of the NW-CHILD (North-West Child Health, Integrated with Learning and Development) longitudinal study in the North West Province of South Africa.

Methods: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition, was used to determine DCD status in the group. The results of the Annual National Assessment and the mid-year June exam, which included six learning areas, were used to analyse academic differences between typically developing boys and girls and those who were identified with DCD (seven boys, seven girls). Independent t-testing and Mann–Whitney non-parametric tests were used to determine differences between boys and girls.

Results: Boys with DCD had inferior literacy and numeracy skills, significantly poorer manual dexterity and balancing skills and also displayed statistically and large practically significant weaker mid-year grade point averages than girls. Children with DCD also portrayed poorer academic achievement than typically developing children.

Conclusion: Significant differences in balancing skills and in languages between boys and girls with DCD might have contributed to the practically significant poorer maths performance of boys.


Academic achievement; gender; mathematics; language; developmental coordination disorder


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Crossref Citations

1. Prevalence of possible developmental coordination disorder among Grade 1 learners in low socio-economic environments in Mangaung, South Africa
Alretha Margaretha Du Plessis, Monique De Milander, Frederick Francois Coetzee, Mariette Nel
South African Journal of Childhood Education  vol: 10  issue: 1  year: 2020  
doi: 10.4102/sajce.v10i1.836