Josh Logue writes at insidehighereducation, about "Overrated Men Do the biology students celebrated (perhaps undeservingly) for their intellect always seem to be male? A new study says the answer lies in gender bias." on February 12, 2016
"Male students appear to consistently and significantly overrate the abilities of other male students, whereas female students showed no such bias, according to a new study in the journalPLoS ONE."
"Researchers at the University of Washington surveyed more than 1,700 students in three introductory biology classes, asking them to nominate those who they felt were doing exceptionally well in the class. Even after controlling for outspokenness and actual graded performance, male students in each of the classes consistently overestimated the performance of other men to the tune of an assumed 0.765 bump in grade point average. Effectively, for an outspoken female student to be nominated at the same rate as an outspoken man, her class GPA would need to be three quarters of a point higher than that of the guys.
Female students, on the other hand, demonstrated no statistically significant bias. Researchers found they were equally likely to nominate male and female students with equivalent GPAs."
The paper is called " Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms", by Daniel Z. Grunspan , Sarah L. Eddy , Sara E. Brownell, Benjamin L. Wiggins, Alison J. Crowe, Steven M. Goodreau
Published: February 10, 2016
Here is the abstract:
"Women who start college in one of the natural or physical sciences leave in greater proportions than their male peers. The reasons for this difference are complex, and one possible contributing factor is the social environment women experience in the classroom. Using social network analysis, we explore how gender influences the confidence that college-level biology students have in each other’s mastery of biology. Results reveal that males are more likely than females to be named by peers as being knowledgeable about the course content. This effect increases as the term progresses, and persists even after controlling for class performance and outspokenness. The bias in nominations is specifically due to males over-nominating their male peers relative to their performance. The over-nomination of male peers is commensurate with an overestimation of male grades by 0.57 points on a 4 point grade scale, indicating a strong male bias among males when assessing their classmates. Females, in contrast, nominated equitably based on student performance rather than gender, suggesting they lacked gender biases in filling out these surveys. These trends persist across eleven surveys taken in three different iterations of the same Biology course. In every class, the most renowned students are always male. This favoring of males by peers could influence student self-confidence, and thus persistence in this STEM discipline."