Rather, its [sic] more likely that differences in noncognitive skills mediated boys' ability to demonstrate performance in the classroom. We tend to have this idea that test scores reflect the magical truth about how well children "really" perform. But the reality is that there's no magical ideal of "true" performance. There's plenty of evidence that how you score on tests has significant predictive power in life. But how children execute and demonstrate skills in classroom and real-life tasks matters, too. Teacher-assigned grades reflect students' demonstrated performance in the classroom (on both regular class and homework assignments and teacher-created tests). And it's likely that boys' weaker non-cognitive skills resulted in submitted work that demonstrated lower quality of performance than the girls did. After all, if you're not good at being organized, persisting in completing tasks, or paying attention, you're probably not going to do as well in school as someone who is good at those things.
The really interesting question, then, is what you do with that result. Some people have responded to this study by saying that it's evidence that school practices systematically discriminate against boys....
February 5, 2013
"[E]lementary school-aged boys are actually smarter than girls, but teachers screw them over by giving them lower grades based on their behavior."
That's a meme — or a distortion of the meme — but is it what the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study really showed?