Students Give Male Instructors Better Evaluations, Says Science


New research suggests that when it comes to evaluating a teacher’s skills, college students are naturally biased against women instructors.

As pointed out by New York Mag, the study, which appears in the journal Innovative Higher Education, was performed by splitting a pool of 43 students from an online class into four smaller groups. Each group was taught by either a male or female teacher who lied about their gender to see how this potential sexism would play out.

The results concluded that students gave their seemingly male instructors a better evaluation, which seems to confirm female leader bias. Men, nice. Women, ugh. According to the press release:

At the end of the course, students were asked to rate the discussion group instructors on 12 different traits, covering characteristics related to their effectiveness and interpersonal skills.

The categories included: “professionalism, fairness, respectfulness, enthusiasm, and promptness.” Lead author Lillian MacNell, who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology, says:

“We found that the instructor whom students thought was male received higher ratings on all 12 traits, regardless of whether the instructor was actually male or female. There was no difference between the ratings of the actual male and female instructors.”

Any of this a surprise? Not really. MacNell says the findings matter because ratings are “used to guide higher education decisions related to hiring, promotions and tenure. And if the results of these evaluations are inherently biased against women, we need to find ways to address that problem.”

Image via Bad Teacher/Sony Pictures

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