‘Attractive’ female students saw their grades drop during online classes: study


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of life, and education has been no exception. As learning shifted from offline to remote, every student was hit hard at every level. However, it seems that the “attractive” female students were hit harder than the others.

‘Attractive’ female students saw lower grades during online classes, study finds

Attractive female students have seen their grades plummet since classes went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has suggested.

Attractive female students have seen their grades plummet since classes went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has suggested.
Representative Image/Shutterstock

Adrian Mehic, post-doctoral researcher in Lund University, analyzed the scores of 300 male and female engineering students in Sweden, both in class and online. The results showed that, to some extent, physical appearance played a role.

“The main takeaway is that there is a beauty bonus, for both men and women, when the teaching is onsite,” Adrian Mehic said.

But cut in-person classes and the personal setting, female students no longer thrive, he said.

The data was compiled from five groups of Swedish engineering students, whose attractiveness was rated by an independent panel of 74 students.

The most attractive students had better grades when taught in person.
Representative Image/Shutterstock

more attractive students had higher marks for certain classes, such as business and economics, when taught in person. What does it say? Attractive people can enjoy benefits that less attractive people don’t.

The most attractive students had better grades in offline courses

But when classes moved online, pretty women’s grades plummeted. Attractive male students – who “tend to be more persistent and have a greater influence on their peers” – suffered no such setback.

“This, to me at least, suggests that the handsomeness premium for men is due to a productive attribute (e.g., their higher self-confidence) rather than discrimination, whereas it is due to discrimination for women,” he said.

The data was compiled from five groups of Swedish engineering students, whose attractiveness was rated by an independent panel of 74 students.
Representative Image/Shutterstock

He admits that there are still many unanswered questions on the subject.

“It seems quite difficult for researchers to answer why people discriminate based on appearance,” Mehic said.

“It’s probably because when we see an attractive person, we attribute to them certain characteristics that they may not actually possess, such as intelligence. Further research is needed to establish precisely why this is happening,” he explained.

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