Our thanks to Bryn for this. It’s been known for decades that teachers award girls higher marks than boys for the same quality of work, indeed that knowledge was the driver of the replacement of O Levels by GCSEs in 1987/8, because then teachers’ pro-girl bias could be reflected in higher marks for girls. The significant education gender gap started that year – the gap had been miniscule previously – and has been with us ever since. It’s an issue well explored by William Collins here.
Extracts from the BBC piece:
Teachers are more lenient in their marking of girls’ schoolwork, according to an international study.
An OECD report on gender in education, across more than 60 countries, found that girls receive higher marks compared with boys of the same ability.
Researchers suggest girls are better behaved in class and this influences how teachers perceive their work.
Differences in school results can sometimes “have little to do with ability”, says the study.
The OECD study, examining gender inequality in education, says that girls can be put off careers in science because of a lack of self-confidence and negative stereotypes. [J4MB: How often do we have to read of the female self-confidence issue, and stereotypes? Surely a more plausible explanation is that girls are disinclined to study challenging subjects e.g. STEM – where answers are right, or wrong, so teacher bias plays less of a part? And do girls’ (and women’s) problems with “stereotypes” arise from their anxiety and herd instincts, which aren’t going to change any time soon?]
But it also reveals that teachers can be biased towards giving girls higher results than boys, even when they have produced the same quality of work…
It also raised questions about whether this really benefited girls.
“Is it a good thing? Maybe in the short run, you get a better school certificate,” said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher. [J4MB: “You” being female, of course. Complete blindness to the other side of the coin, that boys get worse school certificates as a result of this female privileging.]
“In the long run, the world is going to penalise you because the labour market doesn’t pay you for your school marks, it pays you for what you can do.”