Monday, April 22, 2013

Teachers favor girls

A Georgia study found:
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. ...
This tracks other findings. A parallel finding is that moms tend to focus more on grades, while dads focus on how much their kids learn.

Of course leftists and feminists are endlessly denying that humans have any sex differences. A couple of psychology academics write a NY Times op-ed:
MEN and women are so different they might as well be from separate planets, so says the theory of the sexes famously explicated in John Gray’s 1992 best seller, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

Indeed, sex differences are a perennially popular topic in behavioral science; since 2000, scientific journals have published more than 30,000 articles on them.

That men and women differ in certain respects is unassailable. Unfortunately, the continuing belief in “categorical differences” — men are aggressive, women are caring — reinforces traditional stereotypes by treating certain behaviors as immutable. And, it turns out, this belief is based on a scientifically indefensible model of human behavior. ...

But what of all those published studies, many of which claim to find differences between the sexes? In our research, published recently in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we shed an empirical light on this question by using a method called taxometric analysis.

This method asks whether data from two groups are likely to be taxonic — a classification that distinguishes one group from another in a nonarbitrary, fundamental manner, called a “taxon” — or whether they are more likely to be dimensional, with individuals’ scores dispersed along a single continuum.

The existence of a taxon implies a fundamental distinction, akin to the difference between species.
This sort of analysis would deny that men are taller and heavier than women. Yes, someone who is 5'8" could be a man or a woman, but th height differences are obvious and significant.

I am not sure which is worse -- these silly studies that deny sex differences, or the studies that blame men for whatever differences they find. For example, NBC TV News reports:
While pop culture claims that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, both sexes are pretty similar. Yet despite the genders' psychological overlap, a few small studies in men have suggested they have trouble "mind-reading" and guessing what women are thinking and feeling. For instance, one study found that  men interpret friendliness from women as sexual  come-ons.
Men only have trouble mind-reading women because women have trouble verbally communicating.

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