Study of elementary school children finds entrenched discrimination against boys

The study is here (PDF), and Susan Walsh writes about the study on her blog. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)

Excerpt:

A new study of nearly 6,000 elementary school children has found that boys are discriminated against beginning in kindergarten. Christopher Cornwell, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, says that ”gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why? Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.

[…]Here’s what the disparity looks like for kindergarten boys:

Std. Deviation Test Scores Grades
Reading -.017 -.27
Math +.02 -.15
Science +.035 -.14

(Note: Values are approx., gauged visually from study graphic.)

Another interesting finding was that boys who adhere to female norms on non-cognitive skills were not penalized. Effectively, the more female behavior was rewarded with a grade “bonus” for males.

The implications of this are obvious. Masculinity, even normal maleness, is being punished in schools from a very young age. Only the most female-acting boys are rewarded with a fair assessment.

I found this story on Stuart Schnederman’s blog, and this is what he had to say about it:

The results demonstrated that schoolteachers are prejudiced against boys. When teachers do not just grade on performance, but include a number of intangible qualities that girls are more likely to possess, they are acting as bigots.

I recommend that everyone pick up a copy of “The War Against Boys” by AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to learn more about this anti-male discrimination problem.

I see a lot of people raving at men to “man up” these days. Many of those people are pastors who remain ignorant about the real, systemic causes of male underachievement. Even very obvious factors – like the dominance of female teachers and administrators in schools – are ignored by the blame-men crowd. Boys generally learn better when they learn from male teachers in all-male classrooms. But unfortunately for boys, there are people who don’t want to do what works for men, especially when it doesn’t fit with feminist ideology.

6 thoughts on “Study of elementary school children finds entrenched discrimination against boys”

  1. “Boys generally learn better when they learn from male teachers in all-male classrooms.”

    So true. One of the most spiritually stable guys I know went to an all-boys parochial school growing up. Both the families he grew up in and the one he now leads as husband and father are the best examples I know of true godly love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What female behaviors are being promoted? If the standard for classroom behavior is “don’t fight, sit quietly and do your work”, then boys are going to be penalized. The teachers can’t very well give them a pass for being boys.

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    1. The study clearly says that there exists a bit of an academic riddle that needs to be solved when it says:

      “Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why?”

      The answer is then given as:

      “Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.”

      The problem then is not as you frame it that boys are being discriminated against, but rather that girls are being overly favored in the grading process because of certain non-male behavioral traits that they tend to carry. The end result is that the possession of these traits tends (whether unconsciously or not) to trump academic performance in the grading process yielding grade levels that are skewed in favor of those who may not perform so well academically, but who possess the favored traits of the teacher.

      Are certain of these traits desirable ones? Surely so, but one’s academic achievements should not be negated by the fact that one say, may not be as organized as some one else.

      That’s the problem the study addresses.

      JMG

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      1. Thanks. I just wanted to make sure we weren’t saying that organization is not a desirable trait. Surely, if the point of school is to produce students who pass exams, organization might not be such an important factor, but teachers tend to think that their job includes encouraging characteristics that aid future career success. At least I hope they do.
        Now, if the teachers were grading based on how well you play with dollhouses, we would have a problem.

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  3. The article says the teachers are discriminating based on:

    the child’s attentiveness
    task persistence
    eagerness to learn
    learning independence
    flexibility
    organization

    Because girls do better than boys at that. What are they supposed to do? Say it’s ok to be inattentive as long as you’re a boy?

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    1. Girls tend to be better at sitting still for long periods of time. Boys have more energy and need activity more than girls, in general. Also, boys often need to fidget in order to concentrate. They actually learn better when they can move while doing it. But when the standard is to sit absolutely still and never get out of your seat, boys have a harder time concentrating and learning.

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