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Study: Teachers underestimate girls in mathematics and boys in languages

Study: Teachers underestimate girls in mathematics and boys in languages

According to an international study, teachers tend to judge girls' language skills and boys' math skills better than their actual performance in test presentations. Martin Luther University in Halle announced that distorted assessments of primary school children were systematically linked to the gender of the students.

Scientist Melanie Olczyk from the university's Institute of Sociology said: “In the field of language, girls' abilities tend to overestimate boys' abilities, while in mathematics it is exactly the opposite.” Teachers' distorted judgments also had a long-term effect on performance differences between girls and boys.

For those in the magazine Social science research In a published study, the international research group evaluated three longitudinal studies from Germany, England and the USA. Nearly 17,000 students were followed throughout primary school, their performance was regularly tested and parents and teachers were interviewed.

Differences in achievement increased in elementary school

The research team found that evaluations of primary school teachers could not be entirely attributed to measuring children's performance. For the study authors, these distortions are systematically related to the gender of the students.

It has also been shown that the superiority of boys in mathematics and girls in linguistics increased during the primary school years. According to the study, observed differences in performance development are partly related to teachers' distorted judgments.

“Empirical surveys, such as the Pisa or Igloo study, show that girls perform better in reading and boys in mathematics,” Olczyk said. “So far, little is known about the reasons.”

The results of the study also indicated differences between the countries included in the study. The distortion in the field of mathematics is greater in Germany, while in the field of language it is greater in England. In the United States, the differences were much smaller.