Is success in school infectious?

A new article has revealed the “social contagion” of academic success within children’s friendship networks. The authors, from a school and university in New York, analysed the correlation between high school pupils’ academic progress over one year and the social environment that surrounds them in their friendship network. Information about the pupils’ social network came from the results of an electronic survey asking them about their friendships, while data on their academic progress came from their school, using a Grade Point Average (GPA) – the average of a student’s grades. Pupils whose friends’ average GPA was greater than their own had a higher tendency toward increasing their academic ranking over time. Conversely, the ranking decreased for those whose friends’ average GPA was less than their own.

Source: Spread of Academic Success in a High School Social Network (2013), PLoS ONE.