Research published in the Feb. 13, 2013, issue of the open access journal PLOS ONE found that high school social networks have a beneficial role in increasing students grade point average (GPA) that is independent of teachers, administrators, or spending.
The research conducted by Hiroki Sayama from Binghamton University and his collaborators from Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, New York, including four high school student researchers 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: A given student's GPA was more likely to decrease as well when their friends' GPA were lower.
The effect has been seen previously in social networks in the reduction of obesity, change in behavior, and cognition in high-school, students.
The researchers have developed a simple formula that can estimate an individual’s academic position based on their peer relationships. This information will give educators a tool to identify and possibly redirect poor performing students by pairing them with higher performing students. The costs would be minimal compared to plans presented in President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
The research diametrically contradicts President Obama’s plans for increased spending for programs that are intended to improve educational opportunity expressed in his State of the Union Address on Feb. 12, 2013. The costs of implementing the scientist's results would be minimal compared to the plans presented in President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
“Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”
“Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.”
Like many older people Obama may be out of touch with the power that social networks have on young people’s behavior.
Deanna Blansky 1, Christina Kavanaugh 1, Cara Boothroyd 1, Brianna Benson 1, Julie Gallagher 1, John Endress 1, Hiroki Sayama 2 *
1 Maine-Endwell High School, Endwell, New York, United States of America, 2 Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, United States of America