Anonymous marking makes huge difference in elementary school

and non-anonymous marking has long-lasting effects.

Beginning in 2002, the researchers studied three groups of Israeli students from sixth grade through the end of high school. The students were given two exams, one graded by outsiders who did not know their identities and another by teachers who knew their names.

In math, the girls outscored the boys in the exam graded anonymously, but the boys outscored the girls when graded by teachers who knew their names. The effect was not the same for tests on other subjects, like English and Hebrew. The researchers concluded that in math and science, the teachers overestimated the boys’ abilities and underestimated the girls’, and that this had long-term effects on students’ attitudes toward the subjects.

For example, when the same students reached junior high and high school, the economists analyzed their performance on national exams. The boys who had been encouraged when they were younger performed significantly better.

They also tracked the advanced math and science courses that students chose to take in high school. After controlling for other factors that might affect their choices, they concluded that the girls who had been discouraged by their elementary schoolteachers were much less likely than the boys to take advanced courses.

For more, go here.

2 thoughts on “Anonymous marking makes huge difference in elementary school

  1. That doesn’t really make sense, though, since there are hard answers to math problems and the correctness of an answer is predetermined?

  2. Replying to rswindon:

    To paraphrase Tolstoy: all perfect calculations are alike; each imperfect calculation is imperfect in its own way. I imagine that a math script that got 100% from one marker would get 100% from another marker. But given a calculation, explanation or proof that gets some of the idea and method but is a bit confused or unclear, it’s a matter of a teacher’s judgement what level of credit to give and there’s plenty of scope there for that level to be inadvertently influenced by background factors.

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