Boys’ Classroom Misbehavior May Hurt Grades

Boys who act out or otherwise misbehave in their school classrooms may actually be doing themselves an academic disservice, a new study published in The Journal of Human Resources suggests.  The study found that in many classrooms, boys earned lower grades than their standardized test scores would have predicted, because their teachers hold their behavior against them.  More from NBC News:

According to the study, disruptive behavior may indeed be working against the wiggle worms of the world.

[Study co-author Jessica] Van Parys and co-researchers analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics involving about 6,000 mostly white, black and Hispanic students from around the country who were followed from kindergarten through fifth grade, starting in the 1998-1999 school year.

Students were given tests in reading, math and science, while teachers also rated students’ abilities in all three areas, as well as rated them on classroom behaviors. The study found that when assessing kids’ academic abilities, the teachers factored in their classroom behaviors.

This ultimately helped the girls and hurt boys. The girls scored about 15 percent higher in behavior (also called ”non-cognitive skills”), which meant they earned better grades than boys, even though they didn’t score as high on the tests.

“Our point is that teachers take into account other factors, either consciously or unconsciously, when they rate the child’s ability on all kinds of subject areas,” Van Parys said. “It’s hard for teachers to be completely objective when they’re giving an assessment.”

Image: Boy in school, via Shutterstock

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  1. by Nate

    On February 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    So, to sum-up

    1. Teachers are using non-academic factors to determine student’s grade
    2. This bias is split almost exactly down gender lines
    3. This bias favors girls over boys
    4. Boys are being penalized academically throughout their school career for typical boy behavior.

    I think we’ve discovered way fewer men are graduating high school, going to college, and succeeding professionally.

    I look forward to hearing the response from the White House council on Men and Boys. Oh wait- no such council exists.

  2. by Bob

    On February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Nate hit the high points. This article is just another example of the biases boys face in academia.

  3. by Jen

    On February 16, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I teach high school math, and I wonder if this “study” included data on whether or not the children who acted out actually turned in completed assignments. Most of the time, the disruptive kids in my class will have lower grades because they don’t ever bother to turn in homework assignments.