GPA may be contagious in high-school social networks

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."

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Good grades? It's all in who you know

Jun 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Enrichment classes, after-school activities, tutoring, not to mention the gentle prodding of parents — all may count in giving a child that extra academic edge. But parents still puzzle over what the right ...

Recommended for you

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

12 hours ago

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

13 hours ago

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

Could there be a bright side to depression?

14 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers studying the roots of depression has developed a test that leads them closer to the idea that depression may actually be an adaptation meant to help people cope with ...

User comments

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.