A study by researchers from the University of Miami Health Economics Research Group examined the effect of three personal characteristics – physical attractiveness, personality and grooming – on students' grade point averages (GPA) in high school. The basic goal was to determine which aspects of these personal traits are more strongly linked to academic achievement, said Michael T. French, professor of health economics at the UM College and study co-author. 'Several studies have found that physical attractiveness is significantly related to labour market earnings for men and women. Thus, we were somewhat surprised to find that physical attractiveness was not the most important non-cognitive predictor of grades,' said French. He informed that, 'Instead grooming and personality were stronger predictors of academic success in high school for boys and girls, respectively.'
Looking at GPA as a function of a long list of individual, familial, school, and environmental characteristics that are likely to affect academic performance, the researchers were able to make several significant observations. They found physical attractiveness had a positive effect on GPA for both genders, but only when considered alone. However, when tagged with grooming and personality, its effect on high school GPA turned negative for both genders. For male students, grooming delivers the biggest overall effect on GPA. For female students, personality is positively related to GPA. Physical appearance can be a way for adolescents to either rebel or accept adult's standards. However, whether the student is a “rebel” or a “conformist” does not have a bearing on GPA. The findings suggest that some degree of teacher bias is present in favour of, or against certain types of students. These findings are slated for publication in the next issue of Labour Economics.
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