Thursday, July 7, 2011

Smart, Studious, Involved

The above title is how an economist describes gay male students as his data suggests that gay men do incrementally better at college than straight men, while lesbian and bisexual women do worse than their straight female peers.  “The thing that really comes out (in the data) is that gay men see academic work as more important than heterosexual men,” said study author Christopher Carpenter, an assistant professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine. “They were 1.41 times more likely to say their academic work was important. Gay male college students are more motivated to learn and more likely to be mentored than their straight counterparts, and their above-average grades suggest this kind of engagement makes a real difference."


Those are some of the findings of an intriguing new look at sexual minorities on American college campuses, which has just been published in the journal Economics of Education Review. According to the research, which is apparently the first of its kind, gay male undergraduates appear to be doing quite well: Their grade point average is about 2 percent higher than that of straight males at the same institution.


Gay men also spend 40 to 50 percent more time doing volunteer work or participating in student organizations, according to Carpenter’s findings. “It’s possible that these organizations they belong to could include fraternities,” he said. “But I doubt that, because gay men were less likely to say participating in parties was important to them.” 


Another possible factor in their success rate: Gay male students were about 13 percent more likely than straight male students to report they had a faculty member or administrator they could talk to about a problem.


Most of my students, who I have known were gay, did much better in my classes.  The two types of students who I find to be the most driven to succeed are gay male students and non-traditional older students who are returning to school or attending for the first time later in life.  Both groups tend to be more outgoing in the classroom environment and are usually wonderful to have when a teacher is trying to lead a discussion.

So how to explain why gay guys are doing better in school?
• The attitude factor. “The thing that really comes out (in the data) is that gay men see academic work as more important than heterosexual men,” says study author Christopher Carpenter, noting gays “were 1.41 times more likely to say their academic work was important.”
• The extracurricular factor. “Gay men also spend 40 to 50 percent more time doing volunteer work or participating in student organizations,” notes Miller-McCune.com. A belief in social responsibility likely coincides with a belief in personal responsibility.
And, of course:
• The sex factor. On campuses with more male professors, there are more opportunities for gay students to engage in Grade-A-for-a-BJ!
As for why bisexual girls are doing the worst of any sexual orientation? We’re going to rely on anecdotal, and not scientific data, and conclude it’s because they’re having twice as much sex. Lucky lasses.




My main source of information for this post is from the online magazine Miller-McCune.com harnesses current academic research with real-time reporting to address pressing social concerns. Every day our contributors — researchers, policymakers and journalists — suggest solutions for today’s pressing issues in areas such as education, politics, the environment, economics, urban affairs and health.


6 comments:

the island guy said...

Grade-A-for-a-BJ! LOL
I've never met someone in real life who's done that but who knows what goes on out there haha

Jay M. said...

Well that explains my 3.86/4, 21st of 396 in the class finish in high school. Too bad college didn't match.

Peace <3
Jay

becca said...

see that explains how one of my classmates got an A i knew they hadn't studied that hard. interesting facts though

Everyday Life

JoeBlow said...

Island Guy, I have never known of a gay student to use "Grade-A-for-a-BJ" but I have known of one straight football player who tried flirting with me to get out of a test, and I've known several straight girls who have used "Grade-A-for-a-BJ/sex/nudity/etc" to get an A from a horny old professor.

LOL, Jay and becca.

fan of casey said...

Joe: Seems to me some of the non-academic measures may be more convincing because a 2% higher GPA for gay guys is pretty minor, that's like a rounding error.

I did better in college than i did in high school, mainly because I had more leeway in choosing classes that interested me than requirements.

JoeBlow said...

FOC: You are right, that a 2% difference is not much of a difference, but the 0.08 in GPA based on a 4.00 scale can make quite a difference, at least in my opinion. And yes, students who are more dedicated and interested do tend to do better in college because they are taking courses in what they are most interested in. I did much better in my history classes (for the most part) than I did in other disciplines.