Gender stereotypes follow primary school kids into adulthood

The National Bureau of Economic Research has published a paper that suggests teacher biases in favour of boys in primary school can have a positive effect on boys and a negative effect on girls and that these effects continue through middle and high school.

The study measured teachers’ gender bias in Tel Aviv, Israel, by comparing test scores marked by teachers in the classroom against scores from blind assessment by external markers. The results suggested an over-assessment of boys, which produced a significant positive effect on male academic achievement and had a significant negative effect on girls.

According to the study, the effects of such gender biases continue into middle and high school and affect subject choice – such as whether to enrol for advanced mathematics and science courses – that may have long-term implications for occupation choice and earnings.

The largest impact was on children from families where the father was more educated than the mother and on girls from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Source: On the Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers’ Stereotypical Biases (2015), National Bureau of Economic Research

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