News flash: "Study finds that attractive female students earn higher grades than unattractive female students do."

Here's Inside Higher Education on the report:

Most faculty members would deny that physical appearance is a legitimate criterion in grading. But a study presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association finds that — among similarly qualified female students — those who are physically attractive earn better grades than others. For male students, there is no significant relationship between attractiveness and grades. And the results hold true whether the faculty member is a man or a woman.

The study was conducted at Metropolitan State University of Denver (an open-enrollment institution with many nontraditional-age students), by two economists there, Rey Herna´ndez-Julia´n and Christina Peters.

The two economists obtained student identification photographs and had the attractiveness rated, on a scale of 1-10, of all the students. (The researchers recruited people who were not students or faculty members to rate the students' attractiveness.) Then they examined 168,092 course grades awarded to the students, using factors such as ACT scores to control for student academic ability.

For female students, an increase of one standard deviation in attractiveness was associated with a 0.024 increase in grade (on a 4.0 scale).

The attractiveness gap in grades appears to result more from lower grades for less attractive women than from higher grades for the most attractive women. When the researchers divided the women into three groups — average, more attractive and less attractive — they found a very small (and not statistically significant) gain for the above average attractiveness women. But for the least attractive third of women, the average course grade was 0.067 grade points below those earned by others, a statistically significant gap.

It's great to be beautiful and sad to be ugly, isn't it? But didn't we all learn that the hard way in high school?

Naturally, study author Herna´ndez-Julia´n, being an academic, thinks there could be a problem: Maybe professors are engaging in "lookism"–bias against the ugly–which we all know is a form of discrimination.

He added that “tools to address the presence of implicit racial bias in policing are becoming increasingly prevalent. Similar tools might be useful in other environments where other implicit biases are prevalent, such as colleges and universities.”

In fact, though, the study merely confirms what researchers have known for years: that beautiful people, and especially beautiful women, get free passes that other people don't get. A 2013 study found that attractive high school students earn better grades than their less attractive peers. Attractive people also make more money than unattractive people. Let's face it: Human beings are drawn to the beautiful–and that goes for beautiful human beings.

And remember that super-smart people and people with super-talents as athletes and performing artists also make more money than people with ordinary brains and talents. Unfair? Life is unfair.