Friday, January 08, 2016

'Unattractive' women get lower grades, study finds

From  Metropolitan State University of Denver

Grades students receive in class are supposed to be based on their academic merits, but a new study has revealed Unattractive women get lower marks in exams and coursework compared to their more physically appealing counterparts.

“Is it that professors invest more time and energy into the better-looking students, helping them learn more and earn the higher grades? Or do professors simply reward the appearance with higher grades given identical performance?"

Those awarding the lower grades are both male and female professors, researchers at the Metropolitan State University of Denver said.

The study also showed that looks for male students had no impact either way as there was no meaningful link between grades and physical attractiveness.

Two economists at the American university gathered student identification photos and had their physical appeal rated on a scale of 1 to 10. They recruited people who weren’t students or faculty members to rate the images.

Women were divided in three groups: average, more attractive, and less attractive.  The researchers looked at 168,092 course grades awarded.

The study found that for the least attractive third of women, the average course grade was 0.067 grade points (on a 4.0 scale) below those earned by others. This was described as a statistically significant gap. This compares to an increase of 0.024 in grade for the more attractive group of female students.

Rey Hernández-Julián, one of the economists carrying out the research, told Inside Higher Ed that he found the results of the study “troubling”.

He said there are two possible reasons why grades are correlated to physical appearance. He said: “Is it that professors invest more time and energy into the better-looking students, helping them learn more and earn the higher grades? Or do professors simply reward the appearance with higher grades given identical performance?

He also said that “tools to address the presence of implicit racial bias in policing are becoming increasingly prevalent. Similar tools might be useful in other environments where other implicit biases are prevalent, such as colleges and universities.”

Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders said: “Behaviour of this kind would be completely unacceptable. Accurate assessment of student’s work must be conducted to the highest professional and ethical standards and school leaders would act decisively if these were not adhered to.”


UK: Another teacher at Trojan Horse school who said Islam was the 'true religion' and Christians and Jews were ignorant is found guilty of misconduct

A former teacher at two Birmingham schools linked to the Trojan Horse scandal could face a lifetime ban from the classroom after he told pupils that Christians and Jews were 'ignorant' and Muslims have 'the true religion'.

Wakass Haruf, 30, was found guilty of 'professional misconduct' for making the 'inappropriate' comments during a playground sermon to mark Islamic Friday prayers in June 2013.

A panel said that while Mr Haruf's comments to pupils during the sermon were 'isolated utterances', they breached teaching standards that rule teachers should 'not undermine British values and should promote tolerance of all faiths'.

In a witness statement, another teacher at the school said he saw Mr Haruf making offensive remarks during prayer sessions.

He claimed that he told pupils: 'We (Muslims) have the true religion, not like those ignorant Christians and ignorant Jews.'

However, describing Mr Haruf as a 'credible and truthful' witness the panel cleared him of allegations that he stopped pupils from playing football to make them pray instead and telling children they were worse than a 'kaffir' - a non-believer - if they chose sport over worship.

He is just one of 13 teachers from four Birmingham schools linked to the so-called Trojan Horse plot accused of professional misconduct by the National College for Teaching & Leadership.

The alleged plot allegedly involves a group of hardline Muslims attempting to Islamise non-faith schools.

Previously,The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) heard that Mr Haruf - a Sunni Muslim - clashed with the school's head of maths Homa Memari, who is a Shia Muslim.

NCTL legal representative Kate Bex told the hearing in November: 'In June 2013, Mr Haruf made comments in a Friday prayer session that were sectarian in nature.

'Frank Bruce, a teacher at Golden Hillock School, heard him emphasise several times how important Abu Bakr is, while directing his attention to Ms Memari.

'Historically, Shia Muslims follow one leader after the Prophet, Ali, and not other leaders such as Abu Bakr who is important only to Sunni Muslims and not to Shia Muslims.  'Such a sermon should have focused on figures that are not divisive, for example Allah or Muhammed.

'Mr Bruce spoke to Ms Memari afterwards and she was visibly upset and said she would not attend Friday prayer sermons in future.

'Mr Bruce heard Mr Haruf telling pupils 'you can't even pray if you don't believe in Abu Bakr'.'

The ruling comes as the former headmaster of another Birmingham school linked to the Trojan Horse scandal was banned from teaching for ‘misconduct of a serious nature’.

Jahangir Akbar, was found to have decreased the diversity of religious education for pupils - aged seven to 11 - having banned the school from holding Christmas performances or putting up a Christmas tree ‘in order to have more time to focus on teaching and learning’.

While Wakass Haruf's teaching fate is yet to be decided, Jahangir Akbar could be allowed back into the classroom in as little as five years.

The panel cleared Haruf of a number of additional allegations - including claims he was part of an agreement with like-minded teachers, governors and parents to allow an undue amount of religious influence on the education of pupils at Park View and Golden Hillock.

Mr Haruf was part of a What's App messaging group called the Park View Brotherhood, which saw teachers sharing 'offensive' views including claims the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby was a hoax, the panel heard.

However the ruled that while his messages about the soldier were 'ill-advised and inappropriate', they were 'limited'.

Mr Bompas described Mr Haruf as a 'hugely enthusiastic' teacher who should have been given more support from senior leaders and took on extra responsibility, such as prayers, when he 'should have declined'.

He added: 'The panel formed a largely favourable impression of Mr Haruf and found that he was an outstanding maths teacher who was well-liked by staff and students.'

Mr Haruf was also cleared of encouraging pupils to pray at Park View by broadcasting calls to prayer over a tannoy, putting up posters and sending direct reminders to teachers and prefects.

He is set to be sanctioned at a later date by education secretary Nicky Morgan and could be banned from teaching indefinitely.

Park View, which was made subject to special measures by Ofsted in April 2014 following the emergence of the Trojan Horse allegations, was renamed Rockwood Academy in September and now has a new head teacher and governing body.

Last month Ofsted said it was on the right path to pull itself out of special measures.

Golden Hillock was taken over by another academy chain in September and is now Ark Boulton. It too has a new principal and governing body. 


British High School exams in major subjects are set to be brought forward this summer so Muslim children fasting for Ramadan don't lose out

GCSE and A-levels could be rejigged this summer to ensure young Muslim students can observe Ramadan without it affecting their results.

Subjects such as GCSE English and maths could be timetabled right at the start of exams season to ensure they are over before the start of Islam's holy month in June.

Ramadan, which Muslims observe by fasting during daylight hours, has been gradually moving into the summer exams season in England and this year crosses over with almost the entire period.

The window available for students to sit papers is tight - usually from the end of May and throughout June - meaning exams would not be able to be delayed.

But those who arrange the exams suggested there is scope for movement within the regular schedule.

The changes could affect more than one million pupils, if subjects such as English and maths are affected.

In a statement, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents exam boards, said it considers comments from a wide range of groups - including schools, colleges and faith groups - every year before setting the schedule.

'The small window in which examinations can be taken, the large number of candidates taking examinations and the diverse range of subjects available to candidates, places significant limitations on the changes that can be accommodated for any one group,' a JCQ spokesman said.

'However, JCQ meets the needs of various groups as far as possible. JCQ and the qualifications regulator Ofqual have previously met with Muslim groups to discuss the timetabling of examinations in light of Ramadan moving into the examination period.

'Where possible, large entry GCSE and GCE subjects are timetabled prior to the commencement of Ramadan and consideration given to whether they are timetabled in the morning or afternoon.'

The statement came today after Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield was asked about the impact of Ramadan falling over the exams period this morning as she gave evidence to the Commons Education Select Committee.

In response, she said she was not aware of the detail but that she understood there were discussions under way around delaying the timetable.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the union is meeting with Muslim faith leaders to discuss Ramadan and plans to issue guidance to schools and colleges ahead of the exams.

'The guidance will be non-prescriptive and will not advise families or students on how they should address the question of fasting during Ramadan which we agree is a matter for the individuals concerned along with parents, carers and faith leaders,' the spokesman added.

'School and college leaders are very keen to work with communities to ensure young people are able to observe Ramadan without any detrimental impact on their examinations.' 

Teachers first raised concerns about the impact of Ramadan on Muslim teenagers two years ago, arguing that if students go into their exams hungry or thirsty it could affect their results.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the union has been campaigning about the issue for more than a year.

'As educators we want all children to be able to achieve their best in exams that are so crucial to their future,' she said.

'We shall continue to raise awareness of best practice and how education staff can support students during Ramadan.'


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