Spread of Academic Success in a High School Social Network

Deanna Blansky
Christina Kavanaugh
Cara Boothroyd
Brianna Benson
Julie Gallagher
John Endress
Hiroki Sayama, Binghamton University--SUNY


Application of social network analysis to education has revealed how social network positions of K-12 students correlate with their behavior and academic achievements. However, no study has been conducted on how their social network influences their academic progress over time. Here we investigated correlations between high school students' academic progress over one year and the social environment that surrounds them in their friendship network. We found that students whose friends' average GPA (Grade Point Average) was greater (or less) than their own had a higher tendency toward increasing (or decreasing) their academic ranking over time, indicating social contagion of academic success taking place in their social network.