Study: Teachers overestimate boys in math, girls in language

Teachers tend to judge girls' language skills and boys' math skills better than their actual test performance suggests, according to a new study.

Study: Teachers overestimate boys in math, girls in language

Teachers tend to judge girls' language skills and boys' math skills better than their actual test performance suggests, according to a new study. Distortions in the assessments of primary school children were systematically related to the gender of the students, said the Martin Luther University in Halle.

"In the area of ​​language, girls' abilities are overestimated and boys' abilities are underestimated; in mathematics it is exactly the opposite," said Melanie Olczyk from the Institute of Sociology. The teachers' distorted judgments also had a long-term impact on the performance differences between girls and boys.

For the study published in the journal "Social Science Research", the international research group evaluated three longitudinal studies from Germany, England and the USA. A total of around 17,000 students were followed throughout primary school, their performance was regularly tested and parents and teachers were interviewed.

Also differences between countries examined

The team found that the teachers' assessments cannot be completely traced back to the measured performance of the children - the judgments are sometimes distorted. For the authors of the study, these distortions are related to the gender of the students.

The research group also observed differences between the countries studied. The distortion in the area of ​​mathematics is greatest in Germany, but in the area of ​​language it is in England. In the USA the differences were much smaller.

It has also been shown that boys' lead in mathematics and girls' lead in language skills increased throughout primary school, according to the scientists. According to the study, the observed differences between boys and girls can partly be attributed to the distorted judgments of teachers.

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