Magazine article Newsweek

Will Johnny Get a's? It May Depend on How Well His Friends Are Doing

Magazine article Newsweek

Will Johnny Get a's? It May Depend on How Well His Friends Are Doing

Article excerpt

The search for a magic-bullet explanation for academic success continues. Usually parents get the credit or the blame. Sometimes it's laid off on schools or bureaucrats or even genetics. Now there's another entrant in the sweepstakes: the peer group. A new study of 20,000 high-school teens has concluded that the kids that kids hang out with have the greatest influence on an adolescent's classroom performance. According to the study, this is not good news. The prevailing attitude among students is that getting by" is good enough. "There is," the study concludes, "substantial pressure on students to underachieve."

The study, published last month in a new book called "Beyond the Classroom," is the work of three academics, Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg, Stanford sociologist Stanford Dornbusch and Bradford Brown, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin. Together, they researched nine public high schools in California and Wisconsin. They polled students, interviewed families and observed classrooms. They compared the academic careers of students who began high school with equivalent grades but who had different sorts of friends in the years that followed. They found that the youngsters with "more academically oriented" friends did better over the course of school, and that kids who hung out with more delinquent types were more likely themselves to get into trouble. They weren't entirely sure which came first: do like-minded kid flock together, or does the flock make the kids like-minded? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.