High school grades matter — not just for college success but also for adult earnings — concludes a University of Miami study published in the Eastern Economic Journal. A person’s grade-point average in high school predicts the odds of starting and finishing college and graduate school, the study found. It also predicts earnings 10 years after high school.
A one-point increase in GPA predicts a 12 percent jump in earnings for men, 14 percent for women, reports the Washington Post. It also doubles the likelihood of completing college, the study found.
African-Americans were more likely to go to college and graduate school than whites with similar GPAs and background characteristics, said Michael T. French, professor of health economics, who led the research team. It’s possible “African-Americans with relatively high GPAs are more motivated and determined,” he speculated.
However higher high school grades didn’t lead to higher earnings for black adults, the Post reported. Limited opportunities for minorities or a choice to go into lower-paying fields could explain that, French said.
Too few engineering majors?
A former colleague thinks the Washington Post‘s graph is too neat to be real. Here’s the University of Miami researchers’ graph, which seems to have the same data arranged horizontally.
Dhara Patel will graduate from a rural Florida high school with a 10.03 GPA, due to weighted grades for AP and community college courses. (I’ve never heard of a weighted “A” being worth more than 5 points.) She’s already earned an associate degree. Patel is active in student government and high school clubs and volunteers at a local hospital, reports TakePart. And, yes, she’s the valedictorian.