GPA may be contagious in high-school social networks

February 13, 2013

High school students whose friends' average grade point average (GPA) is greater than their own have a tendency to increase their own GPA over the course of a year, according to research published February 13 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Hiroki Sayama from Binghamton University and his collaborators from Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, New York, including four high school student researchers.

Previous studies have shown that a student's social network can influence obesity, emotional state and other cognitive traits and behavior. However, this is the first to examine how peer groups can influence academic progress over time. To assess this effect, the researchers first asked eleventh grade students to categorize their peers as best friends, friends, acquaintances, strangers or relatives. The researchers then mapped how students performed in school relative to their peer group, and correlated their social network with the change of their over time.

They found that students' whose friends were performing better academically were more likely to improve their own scores over time. The opposite effect was also seen: When their friends' GPA were lower, a given student's GPA was more likely to decrease as well.

The authors also found that the strongest link between a student's GPA change and that of their peers was likely to be with those they had ranked as friends, rather than best friends or acquaintances. They state, "While most educators already know the importance of for a student's academic success, our study presents the first quantitative supporting evidence for such empirical knowledge."

Explore further: It takes a village to keep teens substance free

More information: PLoS ONE 8(2): e55944. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055944

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Babies need free tongue movement to decipher speech sounds

October 12, 2015

Inhibiting infants' tongue movements impedes their ability to distinguish between speech sounds, researchers with the University of British Columbia have found. The study is the first to discover a direct link between infants' ...

Women and men react differently to infidelity

October 8, 2015

If your partner has sex with someone else, it is considered infidelity - even if no emotions are involved. But it is also considered infidelity when your significant other develops a close personal relationship with someone ...

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.