Introduction to Sociology - Essay Example

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Name: Title: Course: Tutor: Date: Effect of Peer Influence on Students’ Academic Performance Problem Statement Social scientists have generally postulated that social interactions do play a critical role in determining the course of human behavior. In the same regard, much research has been conducted to determine the role that peers have in relation to the body weight, substance abuse and – the focus of this paper – academic performance…
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Introduction to Sociology
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"Introduction to Sociology"

It is against this backdrop that this paper seeks to analyze various secondary sources to support the fact that peer influence determines students’ academic performance. Literature Review/Discussion Peer groups have been noted to play a vital role in determining the academic achievement of students. These peer groups would be noted to constitute a critical part of the students’ environment in schools as they create and maintain a separate culture from that experienced at home and community in which these students grow up. A majority of these students would spend a greater portion of their time with their peers as contrasted to the time spent with their families. Tischler (2010) supports this observation noting that the influence from peer groups would be much greater than any influence from other socialization sources. These peers have the potential of extraordinarily influencing one another in the formation and support of their academic aspirations and personal goals. The impact of peer groups on the academic performance of students plays a critical role in different debates on education policies. ...
Nonetheless, in spite of the critical role that peer influence has on educational policies, the current body of research is yet to reach a consensus on the nature of peer effects (Burke & Sass, 2008). While some would argue that positive academic achievement results from peer influence, others cite negative impact. Peer groupings could cause students to achieve better academic performance. It has been noted that intelligent students would assist their peers with low academic capabilities in attaining better academic scores (Burke & Sass, 2008). Positive character traits among one’s peers also enable members of such a peer group to attain high academic achievements. Even so, Contreras, Badua, and Adrian (2012) cite studies in South Korea that found out that sorting, where students possessing similar academic abilities get assigned to same schools or classes, improves on the average performance of the students as opposed to the schools without sorting. In particular, sorting has a significant peer effect among top students. Homophily, describing the inclination to association with similar people, well describes this observation. Despite this study giving insightful findings, the research appreciates the existence of identification issues arising when evaluating peer effects. On the other hand, some researchers found no effect of peer influence on students’ academic performance. In fact, there exists a body of knowledge that postulates that peer influence yields poor academic performance among students. This would particularly be the case with peer groups sharing low aspirations of working hard to excel academically and in other spheres of life. Tischler (2010) notes that urban high schools would particularly harbor a high number of peer groups promoting drug Read More
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