Maths in French secondary schools has marking bias for girls


Girls in French secondary schools are benefiting from a marking bias by maths teachers, reports the BBC.

According to research by the London School of Economics and Paris School of Economics, the girls were given 6% higher marks than boys for similar work.

The boost encouraged girls to take science subjects later in their school careers, say the researchers.

The study analysed the records of around 4,500 11-year-olds at 35 secondary schools, where it was found that the boys outperformed girls in mathematics in these anonymised tests.

However, the researchers compared these results with those from teachers' assessments of pupils on end-of-term report cards. In the teacher assessments, the girls did better than boys in maths.

French schools perform another set of anonymised tests three years later, when pupils are 14.

Analysis of these results found the girls had caught up and even overtaken the boys by the age of 14 in maths.

The researchers suggest the improvement may result from encouragement generated by grade bias in teacher assessments during the intervening years.

Camille Terrier from the London School of Economics, said: "These results show that positively rewarding pupils has the potential to affect their progress and course choice. Since we note that marks in maths influence the progress of students, they could be a way to reduce the inequalities in achievement between boys and girls."

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