Female students are more likely to get lower scores on physics exams than male counterparts, even though they give identical answers, researchers at a Swiss university found. Sarah Hofer and a group of researchers from ETH Zurich asked high school physics teachers with limited teaching experience to…
Here is a key finding:
As an example: teachers with five or less years of professional experience discriminated girls by a grade of 0.7 (Switzerland) and 0.9 (Austria) on average.
Almost an entire grade difference! For the same answer.
Teachers with 10 years or more experience showed no bias at all.
In Switzerland and Austria, the sex of the teacher did not matter when giving girls lower marks. But in Germany, only females with little experience gave low marks. German men gave the same marks to either sex no matter how long they have been teaching.
So the bias against girls very much seems to be a cultural thing as well as an experience thing.
It shows just how subjective scoring is in something that should be as objective as physics.
I’d like to see a folloup study where there is no sex assigned to the student. And also one where the correct answer is used, to see if all teachers give it 100%.
Image: Blondinrikard Fröberg