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Study: Boys’ Misbehavior in Class Linked to Lower Grades

Is your son earning poor grades even though he does well on tests? A new study says that it may be his behavior that’s responsible, reports NBC News.

The authors of the study found that boys got lower grades than what their test scores would predict, largely because teachers take into account behavior when grading. “It shows that the gender differences in education emerge very early and it points to one potential explanation for why girls are outperforming boys in years of schooling and academic achievement,” Jessica Van Parys, a co-author of the study, told NBC News. "It’s a piece to a very big puzzle.”

The study drew from research involving roughly 6,000 elementary school students, reports NBC News. The students were evaluated by teachers on both their classroom behavior and their test scores in math, reading and science.

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Van Parys and her co-researchers found that when it came down to assessing the students academically, the teachers also took into account the kids behaved in class. Girls scored lower on the tests than the boys, but they earned higher grades because of better behavior. “Our point is that teachers take into account other factors, either consciously or unconsciously, when they rate the child’s ability on all kinds of subject areas,” Van Parys told NBC News. “It’s hard for teachers to be completely objective when they’re giving an assessment.”

Shaun Harper, an associate professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in gender and education, told NBC News that teachers may be biased by longstanding gender stereotypes when they interact with students and evaluate their work. He said that the study “calls attention for the need for deeper conversations, more conscious-raising among teachers, parents and others about the stereotypes and gender expectations that follow girls and boys through all levels of schools.”

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Have you ever felt that your son earned lower grades than he deserved? Leave a comment.