The statistically significant findings:
- For female students, an increase of one standard deviation in attractiveness was associated with a 0.024 increase in grade (on a 4.0 scale).
- For the least attractive third of women, the average course grade was 0.067 grade points below those earned by others.
- In online courses, the grade punishment for unattractive women disappears.
When it comes to male students, there is no significant relationship between attractiveness and grades. This bias is true of both male and female professors.
These data add credence to those reported in the 2013 book, Physical Attractiveness and the Accumulation of Social and Human Capital in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: Assets and Distractions. Those data indicated that attractive high school students are more likely than those with just average or below average looks to go on to earn four-year college degrees.
So, it must be asked: Just how are academic administrators going to respond to these extremely troubling findings? Taking a cue from how they've responded to other troubling findings, perhaps professors will soon be required to attend workshops where they will role play to get in touch with and surmount their inner bias towards good looking coeds?
Let the discussion begin…
* - A “Tip of the Hat” to Scott Jaschik over at Inside Higher Ed for the lead.