High school juniors in non-honors classes are less likely to sign up for a free SAT prep class if their classmates will know about it than if their decision is private, concludes a working paper, How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments? Asked in an honors class, 11th graders are more likely to sign up for SAT prep if their decision was public.
The study was conducted at low-performing, low-income high schools in Los Angeles, notes Max Nisen in The Atlantic. “Visible effort” can lower a student’s popularity, say researchers.
Peer pressure was especially powerful for students taking two honors and two or more non-honors classes. “In that case, the students presented with the choice to sign up in the honors class were 25 percent more likely to do so if the decision was public,” writes Nisen. “Those who were in a non-honors class were 25 percent less likely to sign up.”