UK teachers are gender biased
Teachers ignore boys’ achievements in reading and the successes of girls in maths, a new study has suggested.
The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that research by University College London’s Institute of Education found that teachers who suffered from “subconscious bias” were likely to “underrate” children because of their gender, even when their test marks were the same.
Researchers found that sexist stereotypes – that boys are better at maths and girls at reading – are alive and well in the classroom and “could have a negative impact on pupils’ aspirations”, the paper reported.
Researcher Tammy Campbell said teachers were instilling these ideas into children from an early age and could be holding them back for the rest of their lives.
“Teachers are looking at emerging patterns and then over-extrapolating,” she reportedly said.
“The stereotypes are not as true as the teachers believe. It’s unfair on the pupils who are bucking the trends and not receiving the recognition for it. It can also affect their long-term attainment, especially if they are put into a lower-ability group.”
The university’s research involved studying information relating to 5 000 seven-year-old children in government schools in England.
Campbell, the newspaper reported, compared teachers’ perceptions of the pupils’ reading and maths ability with their marks on standardised assessments, which the pupils wrote under supervision by interviewers who visited them at home.
The research found that girls were more likely to be judged above average in reading than boys who read as competently. And teachers were less likely to judge children who received free meals at school as above average, even when they scored as well in tests as other pupils.
Stereotypes negatively affect pupils