Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Understanding Peer Pressure in Education

Concerns about social image may negatively affect schooling behavior. This study identifies two potentially important peer cultures: one that stigmatizes effort (thus, where it is “smart to be cool”) and one that rewards ability (where it is “cool to be smart”).

A field experiment tested whether students are influenced by these concerns at all, and then which they are more influenced by.  High schools in two settings were examined: a low-income, high minority share area and a higher-income, lower minority share area.

In both settings, peer pressure reduces takeup of an SAT prep package, consistent with a greater concern for hiding effort in the lower-income school, and a greater concern with hiding low ability in the higher-income schools.

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