Another remote learning casualty: attractive females’ grades … say, what?

Here’s one that you might not have seen coming…

According to economic researchers in Sweden:

During the pandemic, as education moved online following the onset of the pandemic, the grades of attractive female students deteriorated. Source



Maybe this is something that we should have expected.

In a long ago HomaFiles post, we asked (and answered) the question:

Do better looking students get better grades?

To answer the question, Prof Robert Kaplan of San Diego State University conducted an experiment:

Faculty subjects were asked to grade an essay written by a student.

A photograph of the student was attached to the essay.

The grade given for the essay correlated strongly with a subjective attractiveness scale evaluated by other judges.

What is interesting is that all the subjects received the exact same essay, and the photograph attached to it was randomly assigned.

Bottom line: Physical attractiveness effects grading

Here’s what’s going on …


According to Douglas Hubbard in “Measure Anything”

This is an example of the so-called “halo effect”

If people first see one attribute that predisposes them to favor or disfavor one alternative, they are more likely to interpret additional subsequent information in a way that supports their conclusion, regardless of what the additional information is.

For example, if you initially have a positive impression of a person, you are likely to interpret additional information about that person in a positive light (the halo effect).

Likewise, an initially negative impression has the opposite effect (the “horns effect”).

This effect occurs even when the initially perceived positive or negative attribute should be unrelated to subsequent evaluations.

For the  most memorable example of the halo effect see Biases: The “halo effect” … rock on, sister!

Be sure to watch the video … it’s priceless.


So what?

Several studies have coined the correlation between attractiveness and grades to be a “beauty premium”.

It accrues when classes are held in person … but losses some of its sway in a zoom call.

It’s as simple as that…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: