UK teach­ers are gen­der biased

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

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

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