Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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.

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5 Responses

  1. joecoolmccall says:

    Interesting study.
    Girl perform better in both grades and scores in the area of reading. (that doesn’t really surprise me- and how does that play into the study I wonder)

  2. Brendan says:

    It’s pretty obvious that this has come about because of the combination of (1) switching around school curricula and style in classrooms to suit girls, which was done beginning in the 1980s in an effort to get girls to “catch up” to boys and (2) the now almost completely female nature of the teaching profession (this was not the case as recently as 20-30 years ago, yet now is considered perfectly normal). The two are independent yet related, because as the teachers have become more female, percentage-wise, of course the classroom style has as well, so the two factors compound each other to create an incredibly feminine atmosphere in the average classroom, especially in the early years, where the emphasis on literary and writing skills at that age has the girls pulling ahead into a lead position that the boys never equalize.

    The powers that be don’t want to make the classroom style less feminine, because they are worried that if they do that, it will “hurt girls” — that is, they *like* that the girls are performing as well as they are. The “solution”, as we can see, is to promote the boys to become more feminine by rewarding this through grading and other means. Of course, they would say that this isn’t “feminine”, but it’s a “new, appropriate for today, kind of masculinity”, but in reality it’s feminine, because it comes a hell of a lot more naturally to most of the girls, and their female teachers, than it does to most of the boys. This is the kind of thing supported by people like Michael Kimmel, who basically wants masculinity redefined to be more feminine, and the schools are a great place to do this — by rewarding the more feminine acting boys, and punishing the more typically masculine-acting boys.

    I doubt that this issue will be dealt with in any meaningful way anytime soon, because (1) the educational establishment is extremely feminist, from the schools of education on down, and is either unreceptive to, or simply doesn’t care about, any issues concerning whether boys are succeeding or not (i.e., “let them sit in the back of the bus for a couple of hundred years, after all we’ve sat there for tens of thousands of years” type of attitude and (2) parents of girls don’t really want the system to be changed, especially fathers of girls, because it benefits their daughters to a huge degree.

  3. Matt says:

    Ah man, don’t even get me started on female-student-favoritism in elementary schools. I’m still annoyed about certain unfair gender-based punishments, awards I got passed over for, etc.

  4. James Brown says:

    This type of discrimination is not deliberate. Furthermore, the research shows that male techers also award higher marks to girls than they do to boys for the same work. This was demonstrated in a study carried out at Queen’s University in Canada in the 1980s. It is a factor of the “halo” effect. If a teacher sees a student in a positive light, he or she unconsciously gives that student higher marks for the work than would be given to a student that is seen in a more negative light. It also reflects the evidence from studies in the UK that demonstrate that boys do better and girls do less well when courses are evaluated using end of the course examinations that do not identify the student by name than they do when the method of evaluation is by course work. In the latter case, the halo effect can be pronounced.
    Details of this phenomenon are described in my book Rescuing Our Underachieving Sons. My website is http://www.DrJamesSBrown.com.

  5. My daughters have a teacher who who prides herself on her feminism. She not only despises the boys in her classroom, male, straight ‘A’ students, struggle to get ‘B’s and are punished for the mildest comments while girls are encouraged to act out. Recently they read the Greek tragedy ‘Medea’ in which Jason’s wife punishes her husband’s infidelity and polygamy by killing his new wife and their OWN children. The teacher claimed that she agreed with Medea’s actions. When my daughter pressed her on the issue, believing she was playing devil’s advocate, she stood her ground, even privately outside of the classroom. She claimed it would be justified in a modern setting!
    I realize this is just one tiny example, and most of my kids teachers have been great, male or female, but you’ve always got your nuts in there.

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