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Noncognitive Skills and the Gender Disparities in Test Scores and Teacher Assessments: Evidence from Primary School

  • Christopher Cornwell
  • David B. Mustard
  • Jessica Van Parys

Using data from the 1998–99 ECLS-K cohort, we show that the grades awarded by teachers are not aligned with test scores. Girls in every racial category outperform boys on reading tests, while boys score at least as well on math and science tests as girls. However, boys in all racial categories across all subject areas are not represented in grade distributions where their test scores would predict. Boys who perform equally as well as girls on reading, math, and science tests are graded less favorably by their teachers, but this less favorable treatment essentially vanishes when noncognitive skills are taken into account. For some specifications there is evidence of a grade “bonus” for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/48/1/236
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 48 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 236-264

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:48:y:2013:i:1:p:236-264
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Julian R. Betts & Darlene Morell, 1999. "The Determinants of Undergraduate Grade Point Average: The Relative Importance of Family Background, High School Resources, and Peer Group Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 268-293.
  2. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
  3. Holmlund, Helena & Sund, Krister, 2005. "Is the Gender Gap in School Performance Affected by the Sex of the Teacher?," Working Paper Series 5/2005, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  4. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  6. Zeman, Klarka & Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  7. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 210-40, April.
  8. Loury, Linda Datcher, 2004. "Siblings and gender differences in African-American college attendance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 213-219, June.
  9. Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves, 2009. "Test Scores, Subjective Assessment and Stereotyping of Ethnic Minorities," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/221, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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