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Kevin Rarely Gets “Très Bien”

- July 10, 2013


The graph is from French sociologist Baptiste Coulmont. It shows the proportion of students with a given name who received a “très bien” (meaning “very good”) on their baccalaureat, which is an exam French students take at the end of high school to qualify for university studies. The vertical axis plots the frequency of the name in the data (click on graph to enlarge).

What jumps out is the high frequency of English language names on the left hand side of the picture. People named Kevin, Anthony, Jordan, Cindy, or Dylan were much less likely to receive high scores. Although there is some evidence that names can affect how children perform in school, this more likely reflects naming preferences: parents in lower social classes are more likely to name their kids after characters from American tv shows or music groups than parents from higher social classes. Here is a response from one Kevin (in French) who is just fine.


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