The 1946 Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun, with its famous lyrics “anything you can do I can do better,” comes to mind when you look at the GPAs of University of Memphis men and women. Female students tend to have a higher grade point average than male ones, according to data collected by the U of M’s Office of Institutional Research.
In fall 2015, female students averaged a cumulative GPA of 2.75, while men earned a 2.70. In 2012, women surpassed men with a 2.97 GPA, and they continued in the fall of 2013 and 2014.
Mark C. Long, a professor of public policy and governance at the University of Washington, has extensively researched the GPA gender gap, which is not only a local, but national occurrence. Long, who has spent years studying educational policies, said the difference might not be intelligence but dependability in completing class assignments.
“The growing female advantage in tertiary education may be partially linked to differences between males and females in their non-cognitive abilities,” Long said in an article co-wrote in University World News. “Studies have shown that girls are also advantaged in nonacademic areas such as parental and peer expectations and non-cognitive skills such as organization, self-discipline attentiveness and dependability.”
Enrollment numbers are not responsible for the men’s lower average, since women have consistently had higher enrollment rates than their male counterparts.
In fall 2015, 12,173 women attended the U of M, compared to 8,412 men. This followed a consistent pattern of higher female attendance in 2012, 2013 and 2014.