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High School GPA Predicts Future Earnings

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Replies to: High School GPA Predicts Future Earnings

  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    @lookingforward - I don't feel like we are arguing, we are discussing. I am only trying to point out that it is an old debate tactic to bring up a false argument and then shoot it down. In this case you made a false argument that the researchers were either studying GPA vs. success in life, or that they were equating earnings with success in life. The fact is they did neither and I think it is unfair to either state or insinuate that they did.

    So yes, it would have been fairer to just say "so what". It is certainly fair to have an opinion that the study was trivial, and I am not sure I disagree. Although even obvious correlations can benefit from being quantified. In fact, I did find it rather surprising that the earnings differences weren't larger, although a 12-14% difference early does get magnified over time when you consider what that means in actual $$ in your bank account.

    Of course you are right that earnings don't equal satisfaction, happiness, or impact on the world. But those are impossible things to quantify, although people try. Earnings are easy to quantify, and it is an important factor to the significant majority of people. There is no more meaning than that, but there doesn't have to be. Earnings are important enough to people to make the study relevant, even if it isn't very surprising. Of course, they also studied college completion rates relative to GPA, so the study had more to it than just earnings.
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  • NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom 1971 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Could earnings be the difference in having a comfortable life and living paycheck to paycheck? I don't think they mean holy cow high income earnings, just earnings where one can survive, pay the mortgage, save $$ for retirement/college, raise a family without struggling. Possibly go on a yearly family vacation...etc.
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    Sure, that is one potential aspect. And while this study didn't go past the age of 34, it is certainly likely that the person with the better record, let alone finishing college, will advance more and thus create a wider disparity in income. But let's stay with the 12% difference. So if, for example, Person A starts at $50,000 per year, then Person B is starting at $56,000 per year. Let's also assume the most conservative scenario, which is that Person B doesn't get advanced more quickly than Person A, but instead they get the same 4% raise every year for 10 years, which is the time frame of the study. Let's also assume person B puts the extra money into an investment account, rather than spending it. At the end of 10 years the difference is $72,340 before accounting for whatever they earned from the investments they made with the money. With decent results in could be as much as $100,000.

    So either saving the money to use for children and that future or using the extra for personal enjoyment and comfort, most people would, I think, rather have it than not (small amount of sarcasm at the end). Again, it just is what it is. It doesn't speak to them having a happy and satisfying life overall, just that they have more income to use in various ways. Going back to the study, if one believes it is even somewhat causal, getting a higher GPA will, on average, lead to this result. Of course it is far more complicated than this, and talking about an average when the individual results will vary so widely is of limited value. But to the extent one can take this data, it does show the potential power of starting out in a better earning position.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11022 replies24 threads Senior Member
    I feel 100% better already. :D
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  • snarlatronsnarlatron 1595 replies45 threads Senior Member
    SAT scores are highly correlated to family wealth, and GPAs are probably too. That could explain a lot.
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  • wannabefeynmanwannabefeynman 571 replies15 threads Member
    It is obvious that the correlation is caused by:
    The obvious relationship between high grades and hard-working habits/intelligence. Hard-working habits/intelligence tend to remain in university which leads to higher paying jobs.

    So, there is no direct relationship between high school GPA and income, but there is one between the things I said before.
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    @wannabefeynman - How can you say there is no correlation between high school GPA and income? Where is your study that proves this? Just because you presume, as I did, that high grades are correlated to good work habits, that doesn't rule out a correlation with income as well. There can be various correlations to an outcome, of differing weights. It is quite easy to postulate that higher income families are better at teaching good work habits, which in turn lead to better grades. You need to support your statements, because on its face I find what you are saying implausible, since it is well documented that GPA's are significantly higher in higher income school districts.
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  • RedEyeJediRedEyeJedi 382 replies64 threads Member
    So does the color of your skin, gender, social class, your college major, and even your height. Correlation does not mean causation. I know book worms in highschool who did all the AP /Honors etc and are now majoring in anthropology. They would be lucky to get a job in their field after college and even make more than an entry level earner.
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    Yes, of course, for something like earnings there are lots of correlative and causal factors. A very difficult thing to study. In fact, while as I showed a 12% difference is nothing to sneeze at, I remain surprised the difference isn't even bigger, perhaps indicating it is a weak causal factor at best. Hard to really draw conclusions, the data just is what it is.
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  • CanuckguyCanuckguy 1208 replies0 threads Senior Member
    When one of my kids was a junior, we were invited to an evening with the school officials to discuss post secondary school options. The guest speaker was a university professor who told the audience that research is clear on this: How well a student performs in high school is a function of intelligence; how well a student performs in college is a function of conscientiousness and organizational ability; and how well the student do in life is a function of social skills.

    Here is a more recent paper on this topic:

    http://www.iza.org/conference_files/CoNoCoSk2011/gensowski_m6556.pdf

    Interesting stuff.
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  • RedEyeJediRedEyeJedi 382 replies64 threads Member
    @Canuckguy You can type in anything in on Google and find research to back up your view. I am very skeptical that performing well throughout highschool is a precurser to a successful life. I personally got a low 2.- in highschool. Now I am currently maintaining a 4.0 with 21 units math/physics/chemistry while working. I go against everything this "research" you cited should predict.

    How well a student performs in high school is a function of intelligence? Sure we can both agree there is a correlation but that totally dismisses your income bracket and environment in which you work and go to school in. Black people overwhelmingly under-perform in high school but to say that it is a function of their intelligence is of course ridiculous. My point.. correlation does not prove causation. Your study is woo woo.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83474 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Re: http://www.iza.org/conference_files/CoNoCoSk2011/gensowski_m6556.pdf

    Of course, one must use the caution in that educational decisions by the people in question were made decades (or even a century) ago, so financial "return on investment" of additional education may differ now compared to when the people in that study made their educational decisions. Over the past century, the educational landscape in the US has changed considerably.
    edited May 2014
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    edited May 2014
    @RedEyeJedi‌ - You overstate the case considerably. No one said performing well in high school is a precursor to a successful life. The original study simply said that performing well in high school, on average, led to somewhat higher earnings in the next decade or so afterwards. Your anecdotal example means nothing, because no one claimed it was a 100% correlation or anything close to that. If you know statistics, you are probably familiar with a normal curve. For anything, even the most scientific (as opposed to sociological) circumstance, that means that even inputs at the low probability end of the curve have "successful" outcomes a certain percentage of the time. So it doesn't go against what the research predicts, you just beat the odds.

    I am also not sure who said intelligence was the only factor involved. In fact, I know I said, and I think others said or implied the same, that there are many factors, but intelligence certainly is an important one. The person said it was a function of intelligence, which doesn't rule out other factors in the functional equation. It is obviously a multivariate equation, with the weighting on certain variables changing with the stage of life, if you buy the research.
    edited May 2014
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  • CanuckguyCanuckguy 1208 replies0 threads Senior Member
    I guess we see what we want to see. We live modestly in a high income area of Canada and the good professor was speaking to a predominantly white audience. I doubt very much he was thinking of minority students one way or another when that comment was made.

    What I got from the study is that future income is most highly correlated with extroversion, conscientiousness, and intelligence, AND in that order. In other words, intelligence is important, but extroversion is even more so.

    It also seems to suggest that being mean helps... Nice guys finish last?
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  • TojoMojoWWIITojoMojoWWII 33 replies19 threads Junior Member
    This is ridiculous. First of all, that's just obvious.
    Secondly, this is meaningless. This is sort of like saying "If you grow up in a poor neighborhood you're likely to be poor"
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    @TojoMojoWWII‌ - I think that while the correlation is fairly obvious, the point is that this quantifies it somewhat. Would you really have guessed that with that big a difference in GPA there would "only" be a 12% difference in earnings 10 years down the road? I would have thought it would have been larger. That is what academics do, they study details in many cases.
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  • ccco2018ccco2018 624 replies12 threads Member
    edited May 2014
    High school GPA predicts or says nothing more that what it is. HIGH SCHOOL GPA.
    People get bought into all these causation, correlations issues that they will compare anything on the face of the earth.
    There many students that did not take high school seriously and thus ended up with low GPS, and then decided to wake up and end up with high GPA;s in college and v-versa. However, High school GPA is NOT the reason why they made so much money or are poor in life. That is solely a matter of personal choices.
    I mean, reports like this should be a given to just LOOK THE OTHER WAY. Look at the world around us, how many 4.0 GPA High school students are broke and living pay heck to paycheck, and how many 2.0 GPA High school students or dropouts are flying Private Jets and huge Savings?
    edited May 2014
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    ccco2018 wrote:
    I mean, reports like this should be a given to just LOOK THE OTHER WAY. Look at the world around us, how many 4.0 GPA High school students are broke and living pay heck to paycheck, and how many 2.0 GPA High school students or dropouts are flying Private Jets and huge Savings?
    Well, that is kind of the point. On average, apparently, the 4.0 high school students are making more, and I would be willing to predict that more 4.0 high school students have huge savings than 2.0 students. Statistics never talk about individual cases, they simply represent the big picture. If you think that makes the study useless, then fine. You are more interested in individual cases. Other people like to see, with quantitative back-up, how people fare overall. If the correlation is weak, the percentage of people trailing out in the tail end of the curve, so to speak, will be higher.

    Don't act like the study claimed more than it did. Of course a lot of people get more serious about doing well after high school. Many don't. All the study is saying is whether it is because of motivation, organizational habits, intelligence, or some combination of these and more, people that do well in high school on average do better later in life than those that don't. No more, no less.

    If you think that is a trivial result, then OK. To a large degree I do too, and all I get from the study (and perhaps all it intended to accomplish) was to verify that seemingly obvious result and to have the gap quantified to the 12-14% range it reported, which is less trivial. After all, if a person with a middling GPA is thinking about spending $250,000 on college, they might take this result as an indication that they will be better off skipping college and start earning money right away. Or that they should go to a much cheaper school. But at least it is information to be considered.
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  • ccco2018ccco2018 624 replies12 threads Member
    No.. I just think people are DESPERATE to find correlation for anything to feed their selfish goals or for publicity. Thus, some articles should not be written, let alone published and promoted.
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  • NamoragaNamoraga 1 replies1 threads New Member
    How does one calculate his or her GPA??
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