‘Girls’ better behaviour results in higher grades than boys’

Teachers give girls higher marks than boys because they are better behaved, researchers say.

Teachers give girls higher marks than boys because they are better behaved, researchers say.

A study suggests it is not just academic ability which predicts a child’s performance, with teachers favouring a range of attributes, including attentiveness, eagerness and organisation.

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Because young girls often possess more of these traits than boys, they are stood in better stead, it was claimed.

The researchers say it begins in primary school and could have an effect on a child’s life all the way through to university.

Data which examined the performance of more than 5,800 students from the age of five or six in reading, maths and science was analysed, with test scores linked to teacher assessments of students’ progress.

Results showed gender differences in teacher grades start early and favour girls, with boys’ grades below what their test scores would predict in every subject area.

The researchers say this is due to how well each child was engaged in the classroom, how often the child lost control and how well the child developed interpersonal skills.

The results of the Journal of Human Resources study also reveal boys get a grade bonus on test scores when they behave as well as girls.

Professor Christopher Cornwell, of the University of Georgia, US, said: “The skill that matters the most in regards to how teachers graded their students is what we refer to as ‘approaches toward learning’.

“You can think of ‘approaches to learning’ as a rough measure of what a child’s attitude toward school is. It includes six items that rate the child’s attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, flexibility and organisation.

“I think any parent could tell you that girls are more of all of that. The trajectory at which kids move through school is often influenced by a teacher’s assessment of their performance.”