U women get higher grades than men

by Nancy Ngo

Those who claim women are smarter than men might have more evidence to back up their claims if the grade-point averages at the University are used as an example.
An analysis of fall quarter’s grades by the University’s Office of the Registrar has some University administrators and faculty members examining why women consistently get higher GPAs than men at the University.
University-wide, women earned a quarterly GPA of 3.11 and men 2.94.
“I don’t see any reason why it would not continue,” said Marvin Marshak, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Marshak, who has worked at the University for more than 20 years, said he has witnessed the grade point disparity for as long as he can remember.
Observations by faculty members and students of interaction between men and women in classrooms lead them to predict that learning differences exist between the genders that may account for the gap.
Marshak, who is also a University physics professor, said his observations led him to believe women get better grades because they tend to work together more with others in the classroom and ask more questions.
“Women are more collaborative,” he said.
Christian Lies, a junior majoring in kinesiology, said he is not surprised that women get higher grades because he sees a definite difference in women’s attitudes toward learning. He said that women in his classes are more focused, and their attendance is better.
“They know what they’re here for,” Lies said.
The numbers are not necessarily a good predictor of how men and women fare in the professional realm, warned Lynn Friedman, assistant professor in the School of Mathematics and the Department of Educational Psychology. Friedman studies test scores of men and women.
“The grades are not quite an indication of why there are glass ceilings in science and mathematics,” she said. Friedman added that while women are becoming more visible in fields such as law and medicine, women are not as prevalent in professions such as mathematics.
Friedman said the gender ratio of tenured faculty members in the University’s mathematics department is an example. Currently, there are 67 male tenured professors and three female professors.
In the University’s science and mathematics classrooms, women’s fall quarter GPAs were at 2.97, and men’s were at 2.92.
Female students earned higher GPAs than men in all but five of the University’s departments. Men earned higher grade-point averages in the Medical School, medical technology, mortuary science, occupational therapy and pharmacy.
In those five departments, however, men outnumber women. In the medical school the ratio is three to one; in mortuary science the ratio is two to one.
Friedman also said that her studies of gender learning indicate men have higher scores on college and graduate achievement tests.