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Study: Female teachers grade boys lower

12:00 Fri Feb 17 2012
Female teachers have been identified as a key reason why boys are behind in the classroom (Thinkstock)
Female teachers have been identified as a key reason why boys are behind in the classroom (Thinkstock)

Female teachers have been identified as a key reason why boys are behind in the classroom.

Research, carried out by the London School of Economics, found that boys will lower their expectations if they think their work is going to be marked by a woman because they believe their results will be worse.

Their suspicions proved correct as female teachers,on average, awarded lower marks to boys than unidentified external examiners, while male teachers awarded boys higher marks than external examiners.

The findings could have immense repercussions for Kiwi boys due to a lack of male teachers in the New Zealand education system.

Professor Alan Smithers, a leading academic researcher, called the findings "fascinating"..

The research was carried out among 1200 children in 29 British schools.

It also revealed that girls tried harder if they had a male teacher because they believed they would get better marks.

Their suspicions, however, proved wrong as male teachers tended to give them exactly the same marks as the external examiners.

The study showed that boys believed their answers would be three per cent lower if marked by a woman. The girls thought their results would be six per cent higher if marked by a man.

Mr Smithers said the study stressed the importance of independent marking for examinations and assessments..

User comments
As a teacher of low decile students in a female dominated work environment for 15 years I found my female colleagues to be clearly biased against boys as a general rule with "fair and balanced" assessment, treatment and expectations being the exception among female teachers rather than the rule. Discussions in the staffroom about boys could easily have been mistaken for errant dogs rather than human beings if the subject matter had not been that these women were clearly talking about boys. The only positive talk about any level of male student was if they fell into the "gifted" category and the teacher wanted to claim credit for that young person's results rather than it being of the student's own efforts. In discussions among staff in formal meetings direct insults were not directed at male colleagues- rather, remarks such "only women can multi-task" were made clearly suggesting that female teachers were superior and demonstrating that a discrimation against males generally.