Nearly 8 million teenagers played for their high school teams during the 2017-18 academic year. For many of these kids, their coaches reached them in ways their teachers couldn’t. What they learned on the soccer field or basketball court has stuck in a way that a history lecture did not. Much of this disparity has to do with the adolescent brain.
The tension between demographics and academic excellence is prompting scholars to take a closer look at the data on scores and grades and how well entry exams, such as the one associated with New York City's elite public high schools, predict achievement. But one researcher thinks the most consistent bias might be against gender.