r/science 3d ago Wholesome 1 Narwhal Salute 1 I'll Drink to That 1 Lawyer Up 1 Mind Blown 1

Study shows when comparing students who have identical subject-specific competence, teachers are more likely to give higher grades to girls. Social Science

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01425692.2022.2122942
33.8k Upvotes

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u/paerius 3d ago

A few of our classes are graded without names, but rather student ID number, that was randomly generated per class.

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u/echo-94-charlie 3d ago

My mum got top grades by sitting up near the front of the class and being friendly to the teacher. As a social experiment, the next term she sat near the back of the class and got bad grades. Later the teacher asked her back to his place for private study and her boyfriend told her not to go.

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u/Representative-Ebb76 2d ago

did she go? and who is your father?

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u/hipperxc 2d ago

This guy Phoenix Wrights

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u/captainpoppy 2d ago

Random second question there

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u/wilds94 2d ago

Is it the boyfriend or the teacher?

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u/Autong 2d ago

Apparently it was the taxi driver that took her to the teachers house

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u/beybabooba 2d ago

Indian tv serials be like

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u/Objective-Steak-9763 2d ago

I joined my high school English teachers ice hockey league when they were short on players.

I got a 72% in that course without doing a single assignment

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u/Unusual_Pearl 3d ago

My bioethics professor told us to put our names on the very last pages of our paper so that he wouldn't be biased to anyone just solely by their names

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u/CallFromMargin 2d ago

My biochemistry course has developed a whole plan where our exams were anonymised and send to another university to be graded by professors there.

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u/nm1043 3d ago

I wonder if there's a difference between male and female teachers

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u/LavenderGumes 3d ago

The article says no

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u/hectorgarabit 3d ago

A large OECD study that was done a few years ago did compare grades given to male female and the gender of the teacher grading the work.

Boys were graded around 10-20% lower than girls (I read the study years ago, so I don't remember exactly) for the same work but only by female teacher.

This discrimination is nothing new, it has been going on for years. As the vast majority of teachers are women (I think in the US more than 80%), it has a profound impact on boy's achievements. We discuss about it as a statistic, but I am pretty sure that both boys and girl "see" this difference in real life. I suspect boys' motivation is not very high when they know the deck is stacked against them.

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u/summonerkarl 3d ago

I had a professor that flat out said he gives women better help and grades than the men. I had to beg the women in my study group multiple times to ask the same question I had already asked previously during the office hours and we would receive different levels of help. We were all older and he had straight up told us but it would have been obvious regardless.

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u/Quelcris_Falconer13 3d ago

He straight up told you he’s discriminating against you? And you didn’t say anything to the dean?

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u/RedMiah 3d ago

If it’s not recorded or in writing the university will usually ignore the complaint. Even when you have proof it doesn’t guarantee anything will happen unfortunately.

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u/Klutzy-Fishing5210 2d ago

From what Ive read universities first priority always is to cover up anything negative unless actually dealing with it will somehow make them look good

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u/mrgabest 3d ago Gold Heartwarming

The real answer is that men usually aren't taken seriously when they complain about discrimination...or anything.

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u/Herpderpington117 2d ago

In 7th grade, we had an assignment to write an expository essay about a topic of our choosing. I said I was going to do mine on how the girls were treated better than the boys (at my school, a private Catholic school that had only female faculty and had 70% female students) I was told by multiple teachers that it was ridiculous and would gave to pick a different topic.

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u/Dan-Man 3d ago

This. Or worse they get socially ostracized.

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u/summonerkarl 3d ago

At that point in my college career it was common to have to rely on one’s self and/or study groups to help understand the content of the class, you just get use to doing what you have to. I don’t think I ever once said to myself “I should go to the dean” my thought was simply “Oh this is how this class is going to work” which with my peers seemed to be the norm.

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u/relCORE 3d ago

And get laughed off and dismissed and at best told "it's about time"? Nah, I'm good.

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u/xT1TANx 3d ago

We would laugh about this amongst my college friends. One of the women a friend was dating kept saying how friendly all of her professors were and we laughed. They were nice to her. Not any of us.

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u/BanditSpark 3d ago

I had a remote teacher in high school that seemed to only respond to emails from female students.

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u/Skepticalfap 3d ago

My male teacher in the 4th grade had 2 daughters, so he got along with all the girls in the class better than the boys, and he would hang out and chat with the girls during breaks in the classroom.

How it worked at my school, the teacher would show us our report cards 1-on-1 once at school before they were finalized so that we could ask questions about it before they went home to our parents. Grades were pretty subjective back then since most things were graded with letters, but math was ALWAYS graded with a %. My 1v1 meeting with the teacher was the first time I ever cried in public because he gave me a B in Math. I cried because I was scared of bringing home a B in math, but also confused because I would always ace all the math tests. I would lose 1 or 2 points here and there because the student graders couldn't read my numbers, but was definitely >95% overall. He did change my grade to an A, but I still wonder to this day why he gave me a B initially (maybe because he thought I was better than to sloppily lose those 1-2 points)?

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u/Culinarytracker 3d ago

This seems overly subjective. If the grade is based on a percentage and the homework/tests have right or wrong answers then I don't see where the variability would come from.

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u/CaveMacEoin 2d ago

Women have an automatic in-group bias around three times higher than men, and men have a higher out-group bias than women. So it's not exactly unexpected that there is significant bias in favour of women.

Translation: Women like women more than men like men, and men like women more than women like men.

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u/SirCutRy 2d ago

I wonder of that's cultural or something more intrinsic.

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u/MagicSquare8-9 2d ago

I have an anecdote for this. I was outvoted by 3 women in our group project and they all agree on an obviously wrong answer, even though they know I'm an expert (I was a senior taking a 100-level class in my major). The situation is only resolved when the professor was called (they insisted on not even checking it on a computer). My only possible possible explanation for this in this effect, because there are no ways 3 people independently choose the same wrong answer. They all must have perceived me as male, and thus exclude me from consideration.

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u/no_free_donuts 2d ago

How long has this been happening? I don't think it happened 50 years ago when I was in junior high and high school. The top performers in grades were predominantly male where I went to school.

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u/OccultRitualCooking 2d ago

Women started outpacing men in university graduation in 1985.

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u/AGriaffesEye 3d ago

I'm from Ireland, when we do our 2 major examinations, junior cert and leaving cert, the person correcting the paper has no idea whether we are male or female, we are just a number. I'm really surprised the same isn't the case elsewhere.

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u/scolfin 2d ago

American schools have a much more varied mix of assessments that count for grades, including classwork (almost always handwritten unless there's an IEP calling for a keyboard) and homework.

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u/Not_your_ma 2d ago

I'm also from Ireland and was so shocked to hear a friend from Italy had face to face, oral exams, about science. The bias must be insane.

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u/BananeVolante 2d ago

It's kind of similar in France (anonymous national exam at the end of high school), but the writing gives a clear indication of whether the pupil is male or female

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u/virgilhall 2d ago

In Germany, half your grade comes from in-class participation

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u/moonroots64 3d ago

Grading should be blinded.

It isn't just gender... bias can be manifested in many ways, for many reasons, and varying by the person grading.

When you blind grade homework it is far better.

Even people with all the best intentions will have biases, possibly even without their knowledge!

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u/UzumakiYoku 3d ago

I believe there was a recent study that showed “favorable students” getting lower grades and “problem students” getting higher grades when their assignments were done anonymously. I’d try to find it and link it but I’m way too lazy and google is free for others to use and search themselves. Don’t just take my word for it.

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u/ChiefGraypaw 3d ago

Does this suggest that “problem students” are that in part because of a bias teachers may have against them, and not entirely because of the students own actions?

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u/Alrik JD|Patent Attorney|Intellectual Property and Technology 3d ago

Former professor here...

I actually caught myself doing this....

It's incredibly difficult to see the obnoxious, argumentative student from class as insightful when you're reading their paper, and it's easy to overlook some cumbersome reasoning from the kid who is a genuine joy to have in class.

I changed things to have the students provide a random number when submitting assignments, and then email me with their random number after grades were posted.

I'm almost certain I then had students trading grades.

I would have used student ID numbers, but the only way I had to look up ID numbers included their photos.

But I'll never forget the time that I asked a fellow professor to look over my papers to tell me if I was grading too harshly (I taught a class that was notoriously difficult).

She agreed that my grading rubric was appropriate, and her list of proposed grades matched up almost entirely (50-some students that semester) except for one student, whom I really enjoyed having in class.

I had her tear off the student's name, then I reread the paper and agreed that her grade was right. Except then realized it was from my favorite student. His paper was definitely closer to average than I had graded it.

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u/wild_man_wizard 2d ago

I was smart and knew it in school, but didn't realize until years later that many of the "points off for handwriting" I would get were probably mostly to do with being an arrogant know-it-all in class.

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u/Metue 2d ago

I was smart but frustrated teachers to no end with my disorganisation, poor hand writing, constant doodling and staring out the window, etc. There was a few times I had to go up to teachers and point out I'd done the same as someone who got a higher mark than me. They explained that they knew that that student was thinking the right way because they'd seen them paying attention in class but for all they knew I was guessing. It was frustrating.

As an adult I got diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and suddenly it all made sense. Conversely I actually ended up doing very well in school and got a good degree at a very good uni. So it didn't ruin my life or anything. I just wish I had support.

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u/wild_man_wizard 2d ago

Yep, same. ADHD but good enough at school that I didn't get diagnosed until I was an adult. Turns out it's not a huge learning disability if you never have to study anyway.

Socially though - eek. Lack of impulse control sucks. I still wake up sometimes cringing about things I did and said 20 years ago.

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u/DorkRockGalactic 2d ago edited 2d ago

I can relate. I had a rough few years in grade school because I'd do the same thing. Doodling, staring out the window, making little gadgets out of rubber bands, paperclips and pens and such.

I'd often forget to turn in homework, or forget to bring home slips for parents to sign. I'd also procrastinate on some homework like math because I hated how it was 40-50 problems when it would take me 20 to understand the concept.

Really anything that tries to make me memorize something I would avoid because it was so boring and I wasn't good at it.

I was disciplined fairly often by my teachers for the various behaviors and had poor grades. My 6th grade teacher thought I was a complete loser. He didn't outright say it but he would yell and tell us we were more or less bad kids in softer words. He eventually put my best friend and I in the very back of the classroom separated by a wall.

I guess though that's how I found out I was near-sighted, for awhile I couldn't see what he was writing and didn't think anything of it, but Im sure it didn't help the situation.

As a side note, this teacher I recall had stacks of oreos and dr. pepper just by his desk. He'd be slowly consuming that all day and had a huge supply. He clearly hated his job and needed that dopamine.

Well. I am an applied mathematician (MS) now. Turns out I'm a pattern-thinking autistic person and memorization is not how we think. I was never evaluated for it as a kid, they didn't do that for us older millennials. They just told us we were bad kids and to do better.

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u/Cinderstrom 2d ago

Why didn't you assign the grades, not post them, and then have the students return their numbers to you so you'd match them up while still hidden and after they were established?

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u/soaring_potato 2d ago

Could still trade.

Smart kid selling off their good grade and all.

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u/maniacal_cackle 3d ago

When I studied family psychology (minor), there was a well-documented 'self-fulilling prophecy' effect with kids.

If teachers believe a kid is destined to fail, they will treat them in a way that makes it significantly more likely that they will.

So even grading biases aside, the teacher's won't put in the effort for problem kids and then surprise surprise the kids don't put in the effort either.

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u/UzumakiYoku 3d ago

Again, working off my own line of thinking here, but that would make sense to me. A student could be struggling which might result in the teacher thinking something along the lines of “this kid is dumb, they’ll never improve, I shouldn’t even waste my time with them”, resulting in harsher grading which in turn means the student falls even more behind. Eventually maybe even the student gives up too which would only cement the teacher’s lack of hope in the student, creating a vicious cycle.

Again, I have no study to back this up and this is based on my own thoughts and experiences.

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u/valaranias 3d ago

I am a high school teacher and sometimes it's just about giving the student the benefit of the doubt. Students whom you like and always show effort you want to do well, so you read between the lines of what they wrote more to see if it could get done if that sweet sweet partial credit.

I try my best to keep treats as non biased as possible and have even taken grading breaks when I feel like I'm slipping too far. The other teacher who teaches my class and I always take about 5 tests from the other teacher and grade those. If the grade she gives my 5 students is vastly different than my own grades, I go back and relook at how I was grading

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u/HiddenCity 3d ago

I dont necessarily condone it, but if you consider school a trial run for real life, this teaches a valuable lesson: people's perception of you matters. Life isn't a level playing field

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u/jooes 3d ago

I had an English teacher who played favorites. If she liked you, you would do well in her class. If she didn't like you, you wouldn't.

She even came right out and said it once too. Somebody had said something she didn't like, she decided that student was being a smartass, and she said, "You shouldn't talk like that to the person who's grading your final exams next week." Wildly inappropriate, IMO.

And where I'm from, having a certain grade in high school English was a requirement to get into University.

So these kinds of biases can really screw people over in the long run. You get one teacher who doesn't like you, and your life turns out completely different.

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u/talgarthe 3d ago

I once had a review comment from a Biology teacher (when I was about 13) along the lines of "shows no interest in the subject" next to my exam mark of 85%.

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u/Alrik JD|Patent Attorney|Intellectual Property and Technology 3d ago

I had that from a 4th grade teacher: "Alrik excels at arithmetic but is not creative."

Joke's on her, I'm a published author and owned an art gallery for a while. (But my day job is data scientist, so she's right that I'm good at math.)

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u/NorthernerWuwu 3d ago

In some ways that is excellent preparation for how the rest of your life is going to go!

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u/churchcomer 3d ago

As a teacher, I think one thing people don't take into account is that grading is inherently poor system of academic measurement. Teacher's mood plays into grades. How the student acts in class affects grading. How the students' parents act plays into grades.

There are more, but these are some that don't get factored into the analysis.

Grading is ridiculous on its face. Mastery is what we look for in our students. Mastery isn't something that can or should be measured in hard, fast numbers. Standardization is also a stupid thing to apply to the diversity of student education.

Whatever. Students learn differently based on their material conditions.

Rant over.

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u/kratrz 3d ago

your name should go at the end of the test, not the beginning

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u/dandelion-heart 3d ago

Or do what my high school, university, and medical school all did. Tests and assignments were submitted under student ID numbers, not names.

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u/mofukkinbreadcrumbz 3d ago

I teach software engineering. Every assignment I give is graded by a computer or is pass/fail for doing it (discussion questions). It’s really hard to argue with a computer about turning something in or not. I never thought of the bias advantage, though.

Anecdotally, my girls still do better than my boys on average, although all of my really high flyers have been boys over the past six years.

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u/etrytjlnk 3d ago

I study computer science, and while not all of my assignments are autograded, they are all submitted anonymously in pretty much every class I've ever taken

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u/mofukkinbreadcrumbz 3d ago

Interesting that they’re anonymously submitted. I’ve never had an assignment be anonymous except in some academic competitions that I did when I was younger.

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u/occams1razor 2d ago

I'm in uni in Sweden, all our tests/essays are graded anonymously.

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u/BearsWithGuns 3d ago

Women seem to perform better on average and are getting accepted to universities at higher rates, however the top % always seems to be men. I assume due to competitiveness? Men can be ambitious psychos in a way most women can't be for whatever reason.

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u/turnerz 3d ago

The iq bell curve is more stretched for men than women too

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u/Hexalyse 3d ago

Yep but is it innate or acquired? If the second, then it could be a consequence of what previous commenter said (or both could be consequences of a common cause)

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u/Tittytickler 3d ago

It does seem to be somewhat innate. If I'm not mistaken, men are over represented in extremely high intelligence as well as mental disability. Basically two ends of the spectrum that are displayed regardless of environment.

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u/dandelion-heart 3d ago

There are definitely several x linked genetic disorders that lead to intellectual disability, so this does make sense.

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u/KevDevBot 3d ago

Statistically men have greater extremes in their intelligence when compared to women. There are more genius AND stupid men than women. They are interesting stats, but people tend to get hung up on them - we should really only concern ourselves with individual ability.

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u/Throbbing_Smarton 3d ago

Statistically men have greater extremes in their intelligence when compared to women. There are more genius AND stupid men than women.

This is very interesting. How robust, and high-quality are the sources supporting this?

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u/Ferromagneticfluid 3d ago

School in general is more suited for young girls than boys.

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u/Eubeen_Hadd 3d ago

This is common across the board. Men are more likely to dedicate larger sections of their life to their work than women, and this accounts for a sizeable portion of modern work environment realities.

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u/bgraphics 3d ago

I think the higher average on female scores could be explained by lower popularity of tech degrees among women?

When I completed my CS degree most of my courses were male dominated and their was a large range of commitment/interest amongst them.

Where as most women in my courses knew that this was the degree for them and were set on being in the industry.

Although this is just my observations which could be completely incorrect and even if correct, would be influenced by millions of factors I don't understand

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u/mofukkinbreadcrumbz 3d ago

That does make sense. I teach 100/200 level college courses to high schoolers at a trade school. Pretty much all of my students are interested in tech, but a lot of the boys are under the impression that software development is the same as playing video games whereas the girls understand that it is an actual job.

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u/ragergage 3d ago

Student #69420 reporting for duty

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u/silverionmox 3d ago

Actually you don't want to use that number for face-to-face purposes, only administrative, lest they start recognizing the numbers. That's contrary to the whole point of the exercise.

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u/Thatek214 3d ago

Thanks, #69420. Let’s continue with role call, shall we?

80085? Is student #80085 here?

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u/netarchaeology 3d ago

To be pedantic wouldn't it be #58008 ? Since you turn your calculator upside-down.

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u/peteroh9 3d ago

That's for 5318008.

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u/Slapbox 3d ago

It seems dystopian, but really the alternative of allowing gross biases based on perceived gender or race is much more dystopian.

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u/flippy123x 3d ago

Doesn't seem dystopian at all.

Every student/employee/customer in any database has a unique ID attached to them, in order to properly identify them. Otherwise your system wouldn't work anymore, if you ever got two people with the same in it.

Might as well use it to undermine a bias that probably every human has to an extent.

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u/solid_reign 3d ago

but really the alternative of allowing gross biases based on perceived gender or race is much more dystopian

Oh yes, a number divisible by three, clearly a homosexual.

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u/BeautifulBeard 3d ago

No names.

Just barcodes.

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u/No-Acanthaceae-8809 2d ago

How in the world does anonymized grading seem dystopian?

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u/captain-snackbar 3d ago

That’s what we did in university — all tests and assignments were signed with your student id

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u/e-wing 3d ago edited 3d ago

I always tried to not look at students names when grading, but you learn student’s handwriting almost as fast as their names, so it really only works on multiple choice, which leaves no room for objectivity subjectivity anyway.

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u/squidmanwillie 3d ago

Not if you get absolutely hammered before you do the grading. To this day I can’t recognize any students handwriting, or their names, or my own name for that matter.

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u/Chronotaru 3d ago

This is true, or even better switching to using numbers on the paper, but school teachers learn the handwriting and writing style of their pupils pretty quickly.

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u/boocea 3d ago

Was going to say this. I used to be a teacher and my students did their work in a workbook, so their names were only on the front and they would hand them in open to the most recent work. I wouldn’t see their names but I could tell which student it was immediately by the handwriting within a few weeks.

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u/dasonk 3d ago

How many students did you have in a class?

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u/boocea 3d ago

28 fourth graders!

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u/RumpleCragstan 3d ago

I had a teacher whose policy was that we were to mark our homework and tests not with our names, but with our student numbers instead. He was very clear with the class that he didn't want anyone to think that they were being graded on anything but the work on the pages.

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u/Ransacky 3d ago

Can't agree more, I've always wondered how much The name in the markers expectations for that person would affect the grade.

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u/asleepaddict 3d ago

I was a student who was expected to do well. In some cases, this really hurt me. I got bad marks with comments along the lines of “I know YOU can do better” pretty often.

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u/YogiBerraOfBadNews 3d ago

I was a student who was expected to do poorly. I got bad marks, along with undeserved accusations of cheating, all the way through high school and my undergraduate degree in engineering.

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u/Andire 3d ago

Took a few exams where we put our student ID number, date, time, and class on the scantron and left off the name. Grades were also posted with student ID numbers after exams at the end of a class so you could look and still compare to how others in the class did while not knowing how each individual did. Really liked that tbh, made things simple

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u/LordGalen 3d ago

It's interesting. I asked my wife (a teacher) about this. She said that she does blind grading for exactly this reason, because of potential bias.

As an employer, I also do blind application reviews. I always read job applications from back to front. By the time I see their name (and therefore potentially know their gender, race, ethnicity, etc), I've already decided whether to interview them and if they might be a good fit. I'm not sexist or racist, but I'd still prefer to control for those possible biases.

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u/Ikkon 3d ago Silver

This is not the first study to come to a similar conclusion of boys being systematically undergraded while in school. And this phenomena seems to be fairly common worldwide, or at least in the West. It makes me wonder about wider societal implication of this, because it seems like men are getting academically stunted at a young age.

A slight variation in grading may not seem like much, but consider a situation like this:

A boy and a girl both write a test in a similar way, just good enough to pass. The teacher scores the girl more favorably and she passes without an issue, then the teacher is more strict with the boy and he fails just by a few points. The girl can go on to study for the other tests without any additional stress. But the boy has to retake that test, forcing him to focus on this subject and neglect other, making him fall behind his classmates in general. Plus now he’s stressed that if he fails again he might have to repeat the whole class, in addition to felling dumb as one of the few people who failed the test. If it’s just a one teacher it may not be a big issue, but when this bias is present in ALL teachers, the problems start piling up.

It’s clear that a bias in grading like this can have a serious effect on average and just-below-average students. Basically, average boys are being told that they are dumber than they really are, which could lead them to reject studying all together. “Why bother, I’m dumb anyway”. So they neglect school, genuinely start doing worse, and fall into a feedback loop, with more boys abandoning the education system all together.

And we can clearly see that’s something is up, because men have been less likely to both go to college and complete college for years now. Similarly, men are more likely to drop out of high school.

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u/Kalapuya 3d ago

It’s an open secret in some academic circles that educational systems are not geared well for boys. Research shows that girls do better with sitting still, listening, following detailed instructions, etc. Boys need to move their bodies more and develop coordination skills that help them interact with their environment, gain confidence, and control their impulses. Ask any occupational therapist that works with kids. Unfortunately, there’s been a gradual shift in the last ~50 years away from physical education and experiential learning that has been practically disastrous for boys, and society is feeling the effects of it now.

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u/CapableSecretary420 3d ago

I know this is anecdotal, but I'm a guy and I was pretty terrible in school and left university prior to finishing in my early twenties. I ended up working in the trades for several years before going back and finishing my schooling in my late twenties. When I cam back I was so much more focussed and able to actually learn effectively.

I'm sure a lot of it was just some extra maturity with extra age but I also strongly think it was because those many years were the first time I was pretty much full time learning to do all those things you mention, "develop coordination skills that help them interact with their environment, gain confidence, and control their impulses."

Makes me think about my years in school, especially grade school and high school, where I was kind of a "bad" misbehaving kid largely because I was rebelling against a system that wasn't designed for me in the first place.

Turns out I'm actually pretty good at a lot of academic stuff when I can engage it effectively, whodathunk. Hardly an academic but not the total moron I thought I was after public school.

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u/falldownkid 3d ago

It can also be a matter of how people learn and where their aptitude lies. Hands down the best engineers I've worked with almost always have a few years experience in the trades. I've known a lot of really smart tradespeople, but they just hate being stuck at a desk so they never got a degree.

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u/pringlescan5 3d ago

I feel like most successful coders are at least a 5-10 points out of 100 on the autism scale, because who else is capable of sitting down and focusing on coding for that long?

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u/lilaliene 3d ago

Ad(h)d people into hyperfocus are great at that too. They just have to be fascinated.

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u/quinncuatro 2d ago

DevOps-er with ADHD checking in! Being able to hyper focus when I’m working on adding a feature to a complex system is such a big benefit.

Took a lot of work to figure out the habits and activities I need to practice in order to fall into that flow state on-demand, though.

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u/ducklabs 2d ago

Any tips on those habits and activities?

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u/quinncuatro 2d ago

Sure! I should preface this by saying that ADHD presents itself differently for everyone, so what works for me may not work for you. If you’re in, or have been considering therapy - this is a good topic to talk with a professional about. They can help you figure out good strategies.

But I’ve found that doing the following, while working from home, really help for me:

  • Start off the day by getting up, brushing my teeth, and getting dressed as if I were going to an office.
  • Get some coffee, maybe breakfast, and throw on some music (that I’ve listened to a million times and is effectively background noise) right after stand-up.
  • Try to break for lunch at the same time every day.
  • Have some kind of ritual at the beginning and end of the work day, to act as a mental “commute” to separate “work” and “play” times.
  • Also, get medication if you need it! Little strategies can sometimes only get you so far, and finding the right medication/dosage can be a process, but feels like flipping on a switch that’s accidentally been off your whole life.

Basically, I try to set myself up to have nothing to worry about (fresh clothes, cup of coffee, full water bottle, leftovers ready to be a quick lunch, an infinitely generated playlist on Spotify) so that I can dive into a project knowing I won’t have to waste brain cycles on those other things at some point, and subsequently break my flow.

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u/awkjr 2d ago

Reading something like is always very surreal because it’s genuinely as if I wrote it myself.

As silly as it sounds, sometimes it’s hard to remember that other people deal with the exact same thing I do but reading this was a great reminder. Thanks!

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u/ducklabs 2d ago

Appreciate the detailed reply. A lot of that is similar to what I do—almost eerily, and I of course have my own takes on aspects.

I was kinda diagnosed with adhd / general tiredness later in life and for a long time it just felt like a moral failing of me not being dedicated enough, meanwhile my effort level to accomplish tasks was higher than you’d expect.

I work in tech too and need that hyper focus to overcome other obstacles. For me routine is huge. I could stand to add in a more regular lunch schedule, or at least try it.

Yes medication is critical, while I also need very little of it for a big benefit. Happy thanksgiving

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u/Extreme_Corner4093 3d ago

Yes! Hyperfocusing gets me through the day to day in my job. One second I start to figure out the cause of a bug, next thing I know it’s 5 pm and I haven’t had a lunch or breakfast.

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u/them_apples_ 3d ago

It's the same as sitting down and focusing on anything for that long. If you have an interest in it and actually want to be skilled, you'll spend time doing it. Music, art, coding, etc. Coding is actually fun too and has an addictive, must solve this problem because it's bothering me vibe to it.

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u/theshicksinator 3d ago

Yeah coding for me is like reading, I have to force myself to do it for about 30 minutes to get into it, but after that I can do it for hours without noticing. That being said I am autistic so stereotype fulfilled I guess.

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u/HughJassmanTheThird 3d ago

Idk about that. I get extremely fixated on things that are just gobbledygook to others. I taught myself circuit design during the pandemic purely because I was fascinated by analog sound synthesis and wanted one but didn’t want to spend the money. I honestly think coding is just really cool to some people. It is really cool! It’s just not something I’m so interested in that I’d be willing to learn it and work at it all day. But I can sit at a workbench and solder for hours without ever getting tired.

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u/Senrabekim 3d ago

I went to college at 30, the big difference for me was desperation, I had been working for Office depot after the military. I knew what the no-education track looked like.

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u/Dorisito 3d ago

Part of this is fueled by the fact that teachers are overwhelmingly female.

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u/m4fox90 3d ago

I feel like this may be partially driving the diagnosis of ADHD in young boys

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u/3mteee 3d ago

A really bad part of this is that it also hurts the people who truly have ADHD. I put off my diagnosis for a long time because I assumed that the doctors overprescribe it and I didn’t want to become reliant on pills. I just recently got diagnosed as an adult and it’s changed my life.

I could have been so much farther in my career and my life would look different if I had actually gotten diagnosed on time and my symptoms weren’t downplayed by me and everyone.

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u/You_Will_Die 3d ago edited 3d ago

Even worse for those that don't have the "can't sit still" symptoms, they never get picked up because of it. I have problems focusing on stuff like reading, I read the same sentence over and over again or not remember what I previously read etc but have no problem not moving. Only got caught by a doctor I was visiting for other things when I had already dropped out a year before.

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u/Caelinus 3d ago

I have ADHD, but it was never caught because I express it by alternating between no focus and hyper focus. So people never thought I could have it, as I was able to sit and read a book for 10 hours straight. But getting "locked in" like that is not normal either, as I generally can't control when it happens.

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u/You_Will_Die 3d ago

Ye hyper focus is also one of the common things that people don't realise. I had one really bad episode of that by getting so into ripping up weeds between road bricks that I didn't notice that my fingers were literally bleeding until I stopped 3 hours later. Games follow the same pattern, get really into something for like a week or two and then never touch it again.

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u/EmberQuill 3d ago

Yeah I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was 25. I have the inattentive type, so I didn't have the hyperactivity, and I was "gifted" in grade school so the teachers didn't think anything of my tendency to get distracted from lessons as long as I was able to pass tests and get my homework done. It wasn't until I failed out of college (twice) that I finally saw a psychiatrist and got diagnosed with ADHD inattentive type.

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u/3mteee 3d ago

Yep. My hyperactivity died down enough after high school that I thought it was a phase. Went though university being unable to focus and self hating myself for being “lazy”. Still unlearning all of that and it’s difficult

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u/TheDoctorYan 3d ago

This a symptom of ADHD? I do all the same things you mentioned. I may need to get this addressed.

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u/Caelinus 3d ago

ADHD is a deeply misunderstood disorder for most people, as the social image of it is the out of control child who can't sit still. That is just one way it can be expressed, and that personality type might just be high energy and not ADHD.

I have ADHD, but am and was very calm. I also excelled in the classroom format because of my skill at reading/self teaching. I never paid attention to lectures, as I was spaced out the whole time, but I looked like I was paying attention.

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u/flammablelemon 3d ago edited 3d ago

Same here. I was considered a “bright” child but I had a lot of difficulty with reading like you mentioned, was extremely slow in doing my work and tests, procrastinated and spaced out constantly, was constantly forgetful and unorganized, etc.. However, I was quite calm and often quiet and I looked like I was paying attention in class, so no one thought anything was wrong. They just thought I was lazy and undisciplined, maybe even just a bit melancholic, and I believed the same but felt frustratingly powerless over changing how I was no matter how hard I tried. I went from being easily an A student to a C/D (sometimes even ‘F’) student as the years went on as I couldn’t get a handle on my issues. It wasn’t until I was an adult that a doctor picked up I may have ADHD along with clinical depression that was being made worse by said ADHD, I got treated, and suddenly I started excelling again. I’m still trying to unlearn the negative effects of all the years of constant failures, discouragement, mistreatment, and misunderstanding from both myself and others I had due to my ADHD (as well as depression, but I haven’t found a way to manage that aspect well yet).

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u/ethanicus 3d ago

Same thing here. Went my whole life unable to focus on anything or follow through, but wasn't hyper so never got diagnosed.

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u/The_Yarichin_Bitch 3d ago

It also drives misdiagnosis in girls because of the near-zero research of how it often manifests through camouflaging in women. It's terrible stereotyping that harms all the youth.

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u/JimGuthrie 3d ago

And also why girls with ADHD are under diagnosed. It generally presents differently for girls (inattentive/ 'dreamy' rather than disruptive)

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u/bluGill 3d ago

My daughters teacher last year said she was fine and so she just barely passed. This year it didn't take her teacher (someone just out of college) only a couple weeks to figure the problem out and fill out the paperwork . With the right meds she does much better, but sadly they wear off before she gets home so we just see the dreamy can't focus girl.

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u/JimGuthrie 3d ago

I'm a guy who presents with the inattentive adhd and did miserably in school. I was considered very bookish but couldn't pay attention or stay awake in class (and ultimately dropped out of college). Later on I was fired from multiple jobs for falling asleep in safety meetings and that sort of thing.

So I say all of this to frame this next statement: It puts a big smile on my face to know that more and more young kids like your daughter are getting the help they need and won't have to deal with the same problems I did.

And for whatever it's worth - as she gets older and can manage her meds herself, I suspect there will be more options around how you can medicate/ extend /adjust them. I just imagine with growing brains they have to be extremely cautious.

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u/spiralingsidewayz 3d ago

Talk to her pediatrician about her taking a long acting along with a short acting to last her through day. My husband, my kids, and I all have two pills we take a day so we're properly medicated until bed time.

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u/rylie_smiley 3d ago edited 3d ago

Perks of having a unisex name at uni is that I find I’ve received good grades on papers I didn’t always think I should have done so well on. It also helps that my spelling is generally considered to be the female spelling. As a matter of fact up until a month ago I’d never met another guy who spelt it the same as me

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u/WTFwhatthehell 3d ago edited 3d ago

I remember some old behavioural economics papers that showed in experiments that boys knew they were under-graded by female teachers.

This also corrupts a lot of assumptions in other studies.

If you do a study comparing how employers view the same CV, only changing the name from a girls to a boys, well now you can't make the same assumptions.

If the employers view the boy slightly more positively than a girl who got the same marks, then they're just reflecting knowledge of systematic under-grading.

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u/SamaelET 3d ago

I cannot find the source sadly https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/16/female-teachers-give-male_n_1281236.html

Conducted by professors Amine Ouazad and Lionel Page, for the London School of Economic's Centre for Economic Performance, the report said:

"Male students tend to bet less [money] when assessed by a female teacher than by an external examiner or by a male teacher. This is consistent with female teachers' grading practices; female teachers give lower grades to male students.

"Female students bet more when assessed by a male teacher than when assessed by an external examiner or a female teacher. Female students' behavior is not consistent with male teachers' grading practices, since male teachers tend to reward male students more than female students."

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u/WTFwhatthehell 3d ago

That sounds like the methodology I remember! Thanks for finding that.

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u/start3ch 3d ago

Seems like this gap is fairly well known in Italy, and they point out that Italian education system has certain factors that make it a ‘best case’ for this disparity. I wonder how the US compares. Also I wonder how the fact that girls tend mature faster than boys plays into this

Edit: found what seems to be a solid summary of the study

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u/entr0py3 2d ago

Also I wonder how the fact that girls tend mature faster than boys plays into this

From the article : "Results show that, when comparing students who have identical subject-specific competence, teachers are more likely to give higher grades to girls."

So, if their measurements are accurate, the idea is that average differences in competence/maturity don't play into it at all. The whole controversy is that it seems girls are graded better even in cases when their performance is the same.

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u/ignorediacritics 3d ago edited 3d ago

The headline of this article is classic clickbait. It reads Why do teachers give girls higher marks than boys? Italian researchers have the answer but after finishing the short article you'll come to realize that they don't actually have the answer, just some unconfirmed ideas of what could be driving it:

The study’s authors say it’s possible that, in reading, teachers unconsciously reward students exhibiting traditionally female behaviour, such as quietness and neatness, which make teaching easier for the teachers. Another theory is that inflated grades in mathematics are a way of trying to encourage girls, who are often seen as weaker in this subject.

Yean, that's all you get. Saved you a click.

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u/Dr_Sisyphus_22 3d ago

I wonder if this plays a role in boys gravitating towards STEM fields? The answers to a math problem have no room for interpretation, so presumably they won’t see this discrimination.

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u/Ihatethemuffinman 3d ago

This is exactly what I did in high school.

I avoided English and Arts electives like the plague because I knew that the grading was subjective and my grade would be at the whim of the teacher. I could barely pass English one semester and then get an A effortlessly the next. Some teachers loved my writing style and would chat me up about how good I was at writing. Other teachers would mark my paper up and treat me like I was barely literate.

Wayyyy too much variability when you need a damn near perfect GPA to get into a good college with good scholarships.

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u/lpreams 3d ago

I took AP English in high school. Teacher clearly didn't like me. Nothing I turned in was ever given an A. Not a single time. Plenty of other students in the class got As, so it's not like he was a harsh grader.

When I asked him, all he'd say was stuff like "I grade AP exams in the summer, and I grade assignments in this class exactly like the AP exam."

Toward the end of the semester he started saying to the whole class "whatever your grade is in my class, you can expect to earn that on the exam. If you have an A, I expect you'll make a 5. If you have a C, I expect you'll make a 3."

I had a C average in the class, but I scored a 5 on the exam (the highest score you can get). I still say that that teacher was biased against me and I deserved an A in that class.

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u/DilutedGatorade 3d ago

At my high school, 5s would retroactively change your class grade to an A

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u/ThatNewsGuy 3d ago

Very similiar experience for me! I had an AP English teacher that consistently gave me lower grades than what I felt like I deserved. Some of the girls I was friends with in the class would always get higher grades than me, despite me generally having performed slightly better in other classes. Sure enough I also got a 5 on the actual AP exam. Based on my teacher's grades, you'd have expected me to get a 3.

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u/checkered_bass 3d ago

This was my experience, too. I had written just about the same through all my writing and literature classes and felt that i was treated differently by every teacher. In other words, our grading for non-technical parts of academia have biases and this isn't given as much importance and yet it can be life-changing for many.

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u/DietDrDoomsdayPreppr 3d ago

I was absolutely picked on by every female teacher I had when pursuing my English/etc. classes. I only started thinking I had any talent in writing when I eventually had a male professor but by that point I'd given up and moved on to psychology, which was literally a nightmare. I think my classes had 5 to 10 percent males?

I really should have gone STEM.

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u/teejay89656 3d ago

I’m a math teacher. I think you’d be surprised. Most math questions are partial credit which you can certainly be more gracious or give the benefit of the doubt to certain students.

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u/den15_512 3d ago

Sure, but if you know what you're doing and get the right answer with the proper work, there is no way for that to be marked down in math, whereas a good paper might be marked down for any number of reasons in the humanities.

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u/tonufan 3d ago

I'm a mechanical and electrical engineering graduate. At the university I went to there were only like 2 girls in the entire major (civil engineering had a lot more). There was definitely preferential treatment from fellow students and professors to make the girls pass. I remember we even had this international build competition we joined and the only girl got credit without doing anything because it was required to have a girl on the team. On the flip side, I've known women in engineering who were discriminated against by male colleagues and ended up going back to school.

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u/aliendepict 3d ago

Sounds like a potential feedback loop from their experience. Watching some students complete classess and have to put in no work might cause those same individuals to discriminate against the gender all together based on the perception that they did not "earn" the position.

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u/partyhazardanalysis 3d ago edited 3d ago

That makes sense to me. When I (female) studied engineering, the male students who gave me crap were generally the poor students who I assumed were jealous because they assumed I didn't work hard and they wanted to get by without working hard too.

The thing is, at least in my program, tests were objective. Maybe you could find a tutor more easily as a woman but if you couldn't figure out the material, you weren't getting a passing score because of your gender.

edited for clarity

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u/Dr_Sisyphus_22 3d ago

Women definitely get discriminated on in these fields especially outside of academia, and there is a big push to get them into these fields in college.

There is no corresponding push AFAIK for men in traditionally female dominated fields like teaching or nursing. Even general college enrollment skews female.

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u/minuialear 3d ago Helpful

This is kind of a weird study IMO. They compare the school grades against their standardized test scores to determine the extent to which they think a student was given more or less leeway than they should have been. But I'm not sure how standardized test scores tell you anything about how well a student is performing on their class assignments. Like if a girl is really good with the kind of hands on learning she gets in class but is bad at taking standardized tests, the fact that her grades seem higher than her test scores would suggest doesn't automatically mean she's being gifted more points because of a gender bias; she might just suck at taking standardized tests. Or maybe the way her teacher phrases math questions in class just makes more sense to her than the questions on the test.

The reverse could also be true; if a boy does better on tests maybe it's not because the teacher is grading him more harshly for being a boy, maybe it's just that he's not as good at working on assignments in time, but is really good at taking tests. Or maybe he doesn't pay attention in class but makes sure to study and apply himself for a standardized test. The fact that a kid is really good at the standardized tests doesn't automatically correlate with how well they do in class.

I would think a better way to figure this out is to basically replicate the resume study but with tests (i.e., give the exact same tests and essays to a group of teachers, but put a girl's name on some and a boy's name on others; see if there's any difference in how the tests are graded bases on the name put on the test).

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u/refused26 2d ago edited 2d ago

Yup, i went to an all girls school so the teachers couldn't really discriminate boys vs girls. However, grades were partially based on in-class behavior (Catholic school) as well as timely submission of scheduled school work for the major subjects (we are given an hour each day to work on these and we were supposed to manage our own time).

I have ADHD so i was really bad at things that required conscientiousness and time management. So of course I sucked at submitting the school work and got graded some points below other students who may have gotten the same scores in exams/quizzes. For exams that don't have essays we grade those ourselves by exchanging our papers with our classmates at random, so there was no bias there.

For objective subjects like math I had a really biased teacher junior year who gave a lot of significance to how "behaved" someone is in class, and I was always caught chitchatting or not paying attention so I got lower marks regardless of perfect test scores. In the end I didn't even get the best in math award in graduation even when I kept scoring the highest among all students everytime in quizzes and quarterly exams, and I was the main representative of our school in interschool math olympiads.

I only excelled in university because people pleasing wasn't a requirement and the university was truly secular. My high school grades did affect my college applications, but that was because I went to a Catholic high school. Public secular schools in my country did not have that problem with bias.

If the study only sampled Italian schools, then that is obviously the case there as Catholic schools make up the majority of private schools in that country. I dont know how much religion affects public schools in Italy since apparently a lot of Italians are Catholic.

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u/nooptionleft 2d ago

The journal impact factor is 1.something. This is not my field so it's hard to judge based on my experience, but if this was a molecular biology paper, I would take it with a beach worth of grains of sands

Doesn't mean there is nothing valuable here, I did felt like that when I was in school and the data are still data, but if we are going to form opinions on this, we can't just accept whatever confirms our premade notion

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u/Thebadmamajama 3d ago

I wish this could be done consistently. There's something important you learn from this though:. Someone else's evaluation of you should not matter to you. It's more important that you try to be the best you.

So if anything, I stopped believing my teachers were somehow superiors. I studied my own way, learned the way I chose to learn, and made it clear to teachers when they weren't working for me.

This frustrated a lot of them, and others in my college years respected me for it.

I think part of this is the life lesson of learning resilience. No system is going to be impervious to bias. I take away the study you mention as needing to train our kids to be more self confident, even when the people in front of you won't vouch for you.

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u/ChornWork2 3d ago

This study is basing subject-specific competence on standardized tests. Seems a bit of a stretch to make that assumption.

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u/DiligentLemon2850 3d ago

Biases are so rampant and skewed this way and that in different fields even just in different classes. I think it’s really important that admissions and grading be done billing for this reason.

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u/TooMuchButtHair 3d ago

Something like 80% of teachers are female, so perhaps they unfairly favor girls?

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u/Joshmoredecai 3d ago

Handwriting bias, too. Whenever I have students themselves grade samples themselves, they all assume the nicer handwriting (which tends to be more common in female students) is going to score higher before even reading.

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u/TheOceanMansWeen 3d ago

it’d be interesting to know how many of the graded assignments in the study were for older students that typed them up on a computer or if they were simply pen and paper assignments

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u/magus678 3d ago

Almost certainly. But men favor girls too. Just less.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women-are-wonderful_effect

This research found that while both women and men have more favorable views of women, women's in-group biases were 4.5 times stronger[5] than those of men. And only women (not men) showed cognitive balance among in-group bias, identity, and self-esteem, revealing that men lack a mechanism that bolsters automatic preference for their own gender.[5]

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u/idle_idyll 3d ago

From the abstract:

"Furthermore, they demonstrate for the first time that this grading premium favouring girls is systemic, as teacher and classroom characteristics play a negligible role in reducing it."

(Emphasis mine.) So the study seems to account for gender/sexual characteristics in teachers, yet the grade disparity persists.

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u/meltyourtv 3d ago

I personally experienced this junior year of high school in precalc. The girl who sat behind me and I both got the correct answer on the bonus question on an exam, but hers was marked right and mine wrong. I asked the teacher why I got it wrong, and she said I did the process of getting answer incorrectly. So, naturally I turned around to compare my work with the closest student to see how she got it, and wouldn’t you know, our work was the same.

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u/Sinowhino 3d ago

Ya its lame.

I was killing it in an art history class and the teacher was a bit unfair, seemed to favor the women in the class. My line in the sand was when we took a test or quiz or something.

She used the ole what is the best answer. The answer I chose was word for word the right answer in the book. I was so pissed and felt sleighted.

I went to her and brought up word for word in the book the same exact phrase as her test. I was really annoyed I felt I would have brought this to the dean since it was so dumb.

She relented though. Sometimes you have to make your stand against injustice.

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u/TheDevilsAdvokaat 3d ago edited 3d ago

There has been a transition to mostly female teachers in parts of the world.

I suspect this has something to do with it.

In Australia in 2019, 71% of teachers were female, 28.3 were male. Fifty years ago, 58.7% were female and 41.3% were male. And fifty years before that, that were almost certainly even more male teachers. https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/students-near-4-million-female-teachers-outnumber-males#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20there%20were%20288%2C294,41.3%20per%20cent%20were%20male.

In America, 74.3% of teachers are female, 25.7% are male.

UK: 75.5% female

Germany 69.3%

Canada 68%

China 70.9%

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u/moeris 3d ago

The study attempts to address this somewhat,

In other words, the female grading premium is always present, irrespective of teachers’ individual characteristics and practices.

Of course, you could argue that the makeup of teachers creates a culture of advantage for girls. But there's no evidence for that here, at least. (That, or I missed it)

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u/TheDevilsAdvokaat 3d ago

From the article:

Some studies demonstrate how students benefit from having a same-gender teacher (Ammermueller and Dolton 2006). Accordingly, the ‘stereotype threat’ theory (Steel 1997) explains how the similarity between the demographic characteristics of students (such as gender) and those of their teachers improves communications and mutual understandings between teacher and student. This could lead teachers to unconsciously reward ways of behaving that are similar to their own. In this respect, it has been suggested that the increase in the share of female teachers may explain the gender gap in achievement that favours females, even if there is contrasting evidence on this topic (Neugebauer, Helbig and Landmann 2011).

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u/MacStylee 3d ago

I can’t say for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I graded females higher than males. (In a university science subject)

But not because of gender per se, because in my experience females have better handwriting.

When you’re marking papers, believe it or not you’re trying to mark highly. You’re not looking to remove marks, you’re looking for the right answer in there. If things are nice and clear and easy to read it makes my life easier, and I suspect I tended to mark those papers better than papers I’m staring trying to untangle the letters / words. If I had to painstakingly grind through each word I’m going to look at the paper longer, and I’d guess the longer I look the more errors I’d notice.

I’m not saying this is good, but if a paper was clear and easy to mark, I bet I’d probably mark it higher than a train wreck. And on the whole females seemed create clearer papers.

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u/EmhyrvarSpice 3d ago

I don't know about other places, but in Norway all end of term exams are anonymous so the one who grades only see a number. Like "student 1223" etc.

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u/Back_In_Cork 3d ago

1st year college Physics. Girl copied my report, she got 8 and I got 4

Next week I copied her to confirm. She got 8 and I got 4

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u/Talska 3d ago

Damn plagiarism in college? Brave man. Or are you talking about sixth form?

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u/LegacyAngel 3d ago

Love the amount of people ignoring the equal competence part. It is really hard to accept that teachers might just be biased? I was one of the few boys that did better than the top girls and i remember distinctly calling out bad bias from teachers on "misbehaving" male students multiple times. That is anecdote. But we see countless studies show that males are over graded in schools and also that a lot of systems dont accomodate male students.

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