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Do Children's First Names
Affect the Grades Teachers Give Them?

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Herbert Harari, a psychologist at the University of California in San Diego, made a study in 1973 of whether children's first names affect the grades that teachers give.

Eight essays said to be of identical quality were duplicated and given to eighty fifth-grade and sixth-grade teachers to evaluate.  Four of the papers bore names considered to be ordinary:  Michael, David, Karen, and Lisa.  The other four had less common names:  Elmer, Hubert, Bertha, and Adelle.

Michael and David outscored Elmer and Hubert by a full letter grade.  Karen and Lisa outscored Bertha by a small margin - a point and a half.  Adelle's grades were reported as "not significantly lower."

Like other such research, this study should not be considered conclusive unless confirmed by further investigations.

Hook, J. N. The Book of Names, A Celebration of Mainly American Names: People, Places, and Things. Franklin Watts, 1983.



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