Girls outperform boys across all levels of education. This has been the case for several decades. More women enroll in academia and they are scoring higher grades than the men in their classes. It seems that some modesty would look good on the boys.
Several decades worth of personality studies show certain trends when it comes to sex differences. For example, on average women tend to score higher on traits like compassion and sensitivity, while men on average tend to score higher on characteristics like assertiveness and thrill seeking.
When it comes to personality and school performance, Conscientiousness has always been the big player. Which makes a lot of sense; a little discipline and hard work will get you a long way. Recently, a new kid named Honesty-Humility arrived at the party, showing great promise in predicting academic performance. Who would have thought being humble and honest would get you very far in life?
Now the interesting thing is that girls score significantly higher on this Honesty-Humility trait, especially regarding the aspect of Modesty. So it looks like being more modest could be one of the reasons girls are better students. Gaining a better understanding of the influence of this personality trait could improve education for all students, but it might be especially useful to understand how we can get boys to catch up.