Attractive people can get away with a lot according to many recent scientific studies. When it comes to finding a mate or a job, and even in salary negotiations, we all know that being attractive counts. New findings suggest such bias toward beauty also affects how professors grade their students.
A new study by Metropolitan State University of Denver professors Rey Hernandez-Julian and Christina Peters found attractive female students tend to get higher grades than less attractive ones, reports Inside Higher Ed.
Using ID photos and grade data at MSU Denver, the researchers studied the impact of students’ appearance on their academic performance. Gathering data from 77,067 students who attended the university between 2006 and 2011, they also matched school ID pictures of students to 1,139,772 course grades.
The results showed that in courses that students can be seen (traditional classes) women who were attractive got better grades than those who were not. However, when the researchers looked at courses that were online-only, the scores were evenly balanced.
In a statement published in Inside Higher Ed, researcher Hernández-Julián said that there are two possible explanations: “Is it that professors invest more time and energy into the better-looking students, helping them learn more and earn the higher grades? Or do professors simply reward the appearance with higher grades given identical performance? The likely answer, given our growing understanding of the prevalence of implicit biases, is that professors make small adjustments on both of these margins.”
Their paper, which was presented at the American Economic Association, revealed that the better looking the female students are, the greater the difference in grades between online and traditional classes. The data also showed that for male students, there is no significant relationship between attractiveness and grades.