Good-looking women get better grades (but for men, looks don't matter)

Clara Guibourg
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Male students’ results, however, were unaffected by their looks (Source: Getty)

In an ideal world, brains and hard work would be all that influenced your grades, but it turns out that for women there’s an unexpected factor at play: their looks.

Researchers have found that unattractive women were given significantly lower grades than their more good-looking counterparts.

Male students’ results, however, were unaffected by their looks.

Professors Christina Peters and Rey Hernandez-Julian at the Metropolitan State University of Denver had participants rate student ID photos for physical attractiveness on a 1-10 scale.

The researchers then divided the students into average, more attractive or less attractive and analysed their 168,092 grades, discovering a statistically significant “attractiveness gap”.

Hernandez-Julian called the results troubling, saying to Inside Higher Education:

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,” he concluded.

The study found that it wasn’t so much beautiful women getting higher marks as less attractive women being marked lower.

Less attractive women, according to the study, had an average course grade 0.067 points lower on a 4.0 scale than the rest. More attractive women, by contrast, had an average grade 0.024 points higher.

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