Education

Study Finds Professors Give Hot Chicks Better Grades

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Blake Neff Reporter
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Attractive women, but not men, are given better grades than their less-attractive classmates according to a new economics study.

The research, first written about at Inside Higher Ed, was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. The research was conducted by Rey Hernández-Julián and Christina Peters, two economics researchers at Metropolitan State University in Denver. The two economists collected ID photos of students at the school and recruited a pool of people not affiliated with the school to rate all the photos on attractiveness from 1-10.

After having the photos rated, the researchers obtained over 168,000 course grades from professors at the school and then controlled for student academic ability using their standardized test scores and other objective factors.

The results were clear: After controlling for academic ability, women rated as more attractive showed a small but statistically relevant bump in their grades. Overall, each standard deviation increase in attractiveness was associated with a 0.024 increase on a 4.0 grading scale. The boost was greater at lower ends of the attractiveness scale, meaning that even ordinary women had substantially better grades than women rated as ugly.

The advantage for more attractive women disappeared when looking only at online courses, lending further support to the researchers’ findings.

Attractiveness only influenced grades for women, while for men it didn’t appear to make a difference.

The study draws no conclusions about why more attractive women fared better, though many possibilities present themselves. It could simply be a matter of professors being more generous in their grading, but it’s also possible that attractive women have an easier time getting academic help from instructors or fellow students, or that they have greater self-confidence which results in better grades on class participation and presentations.

This isn’t the first study to find a major advantage for attractive people in educational endeavors. An earlier study found that those rated as attractive in high school were more likely to complete four-year college degrees.

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