Study: Good grades are catching

If all your friends were walking off a cliff — or doing homework — would you do it too? Over the course of a school year, high school students’ grades rise when their friends have higher grades and fall when their friends have lower grades, concludes a new study, Spread of Academic Success in a High School Social Network.

Researchers theorize that academic habits are “socially contagious,”  though they concede it’s possible that students “on the way up” seek out higher-performing friends, while students beginning to slide seek out low performers. Gadfly asks: “While lower-performing students may benefit from the company of stronger performers (at least if they become friends), could such mixing wind up harming high performers?”