Why do girls get better grades in elementary school than boys—even when they perform worse on standardized tests?
New research . . . suggests that it’s because of their classroom behavior, which may lead teachers to assign girls higher grades than their male counterparts. . . . The study, co-authored by [Christopher] Cornwell and David Mustard at UGA and Jessica Van Parys at Columbia, analyzed data on more than 5,800 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. It examined students’ performance on standardized tests in three categories—reading, math and science-linking test scores to teachers’ assessments of their students’ progress, both academically and more broadly.
The data show, for the first time, that gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls. In every subject area, boys are represented in grade distributions below where their test scores would predict.
The authors attribute this misalignment to what they called non-cognitive skills, or “how well each child was engaged in the classroom, how often the child externalized or internalized problems, how often the child lost control and how well the child developed interpersonal skills.” They even report evidence of a grade bonus for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts. . . .
I believe it. The teachers in elementary school were always putting me down, sending me to the principal, telling me I wasn’t so special. But I knew I was special. My problem was, it took me a long time before I realized that lots of people are special in their own way.