Study Explores Why Attractive Students Get Better Grades

New research by Adrian Mehic a Ph.D. student at Lund University in Sweden found that attractive men and women tended to receive higher grades from faculty members when classes are conducted in person and there is significant teach/student interaction. But when classes are online, attractive women students do not get higher grades but attractive men continue to get better grades than their male peers as whole.

The researcher showed photographs of a large group of students to a jury of 74 individuals who rated the students for attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highly attractive. He then compared the grades of these students in engineering courses at the university.

Mehic believes that women received higher grades for in-person classes because most faculty members are male and they discriminate in favor of attractive women. But this advantage for women disappears for online classes because the predominantly male faculty does not personally interact with women students. But the author believes that attractive males continue to get higher grades because relative to other students, attractive men are more successful in peer influence, and are more persistent, a personality trait positively linked to academic outcomes.

The full study, “Student Beauty and Grades Under In-Person and Remote Teaching,” was published in the journal Economic Letters. It may be accessed here.

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