Roger Clegg of the Center For Equal Opportunity has written eloquently (such as here) about the weakness of the “role model” justification for racial preferences. He does so again today, here, pointing to an interesting new study that found no correlation between the gender of professors and the performance of students.
A study at the University of Toronto finds that a student’s performance and interest in a given subject are not affected much by the professor’s gender….
The data revealed that students taught by instructors of their same sex were overall about one percentage point less likely to drop a course than their counterparts who took courses with professors of the opposite sex. For females, though, the authors estimate no significant difference in the likelihood of dropping a class based on whether the instructor was male or female.
Male students performed slightly better, on average, with a male instructor (in what translates to a 0.6 percentage point increase in expected grade out of 100 percent) than they did with a female instructor. With women, on the other hand, gender of the professor appeared not to matter.
The research also found no important influence from the so-called “role model effect,” which measures whether a same-sex instructor would motivate a student to take a subsequent course in his or her field.
If this sort of research continues, next thing you know social scientists will be telling us that the actual quality of teaching is more important than the skin color of the teacher.