Here’s Why Girls Score Lower in STEM Classes Than Boys

Here’s Why Girls Score Lower in STEM Classes Than Boys

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it turns out that girls’ grades in STEM classes could have less to do with their abilities and more to do with unconscious biases of the people grading their work.

A recent study by researchers at Tel Aviv University found that when sixth grade math teachers graded the tests of students they knew and could see the names of their pupils on those tests, they tended to give the girls lower scores than a control group of teachers who graded the same tests but without names attached. Additionally, the girls’ male peers received higher grades on average from teachers who could see their names than teachers who couldn’t.

The study has come under fire, with some questioning if there really are broader implications and if the research is replicable. Additionally, cultural differences between a variety of countries also come into play, and many aren’t sure if other countries would show the exact some results.

However, studies like these force us to think about our own cognitive biases: Are we favoring certain people, traits, or characteristics over others? And what do those biases say about us?

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.