A friend just sent me this post from Slate on a study done at North Carolina State which attempts to discern how gender affects the ways students evaluate professors. Well, we know gender and race both affect students' perceptions of professors, but they created a small study to see if they could isolate gender as a factor.

The researchers took two online course instructors, one male and one female, and gave them two classes to teach. Each professor presented as his or her own gender to one class and the opposite to the other.

The difference was pretty big. When instructors presented as male, they got higher ratings in all categories:

"The difference in the promptness rating is a good example for discussion," MacNell explains in the press release for the study. "Classwork was graded and returned to students at the same time by both instructors. But the instructor students thought was male was given a 4.35 rating out of 5. The instructor students thought was female got a 3.55 rating." Considering that professors were rated on a five-point scale, losing an entire point on the "promptness" question just because students think you're female is a major hit.

Any college GT-ers out there? Students, are you being conscious of the ways you are checking those boxes? Faculty, do you notice gender differences in the ways students talk about you teaching versus your colleagues? Is your college doing anything to try to correct for bias when they evaluate you?


By the way, I'm not a statistician or social sciency person; I'm just a gal who stirs shit on the internet, so I can't judge the methodology of the study.

ETA: Y'all, so sorry not to reply to comments. Some work stuff went to shit right after I posted and I'm traveling, so when I wasn't pretended to pay attention to people, I was trying to fix stuff long distance. cassibearRAWR reminded me that my title was too cisgendered and I changed it. "John" pointed out that The Salon piece didn't have a link to the original study, which is in the Inside Higher Education link supplied by MrsDukeSilver.