President's Report Masthead
March 31, 2013

Study: School success may be contagious

Good grades might be just as infectious as that dreaded case of strep throat making the rounds at your child’s school.

That’s according to a Binghamton University study published in February in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Binghamton researcher Hiroki Sayama and four students at nearby Maine-Endwell High School in upstate New York, conducted a survey of the school’s junior class. The students were asked about their friendships, and the researchers constructed a series of social networks focusing on acquaintances, friends and best friends.

The student researchers obtained the GPAs of every student in the 160-member class and developed a hypothesis: Students whose friends had better grades than they did had a better chance of improving their academic performance than students whose friends weren’t doing as well in school.

In the second year of the study, the students ― then seniors — demonstrated that this was indeed the case. “If your friends had a higher GPA than yours,” Sayama said, “you have a better chance of improving your GPA — and vice versa.”

This research has been covered widely by media around the world.

Read more about the study in Discover-e