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Cross-Class Friendship and Academic Achievement in Middle School

Authors
  • Lessard, Leah M.
  • Juvonen, Jaana
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental psychology
Publication Date
May 16, 2019
Volume
55
Issue
8
Pages
1666–1679
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/dev0000755
PMID: 31094557
PMCID: PMC6711167
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Academic achievement disparities based on parental education are robust during the middle school years. The current study examined whether cross-class friendship (i.e., reciprocal relationships between peers with different levels of parental education) decrease class-based achievement differences during a developmental phase when friends are particularly important. Relying on a sample of 4,288 sixth grade students ( M = 12.03 years) from 26 ethnically diverse middle schools, multilevel analyses were conducted predicting seventh grade grade-point-average, standardized achievement test scores, and teacher-rated academic engagement. The associations between parental education and academic achievement were reduced when students had at least one cross-class friendship at sixth grade. The findings are discussed in terms of how socioeconomic diversity of school-based friendships can level the academic playing field.

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