right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

High School GPA Predicts Future Earnings

13»

Replies to: High School GPA Predicts Future Earnings

  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    @coco2018 - That's pretty strong language. Are you saying the data is falsified? The researchers assembled the data and reported their findings. Why shouldn't the public be able to draw their own conclusions as to what the data really represents in terms of public policy? Do you really want me to list the number of great discoveries that were considered trivial or flat out wrong at the time they were made and reported? I am certainly not saying this finding is likely to fall into that category, but it might be useful data for someone in the future that has something much more impactful to report. I am not sure why you are so emotional about this particular piece of research.
    · Reply · Share
  • ManFromUncleManFromUncle 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Don't believe everything you read.

    · Reply · Share
  • ManFromUncleManFromUncle 4 replies1 threads New Member
    I also find it amusing that people seem to argue about a study that they only read about in an article. Did they actually go through the details of the study ? Do they have the experience to evaluate such studies in terms of methodology, applications of statistical methods, etc. ?

    Given how most high schools are nothing more than babysitters for parents while they are at work, I highly doubt that there is much correlation of grades to earnings. (BTW, the article doesn't even deal with the period of highest earnings for adults.)
    · Reply · Share
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    @ManfromUncle - Exactly, the study is limited in scope, and I don't think the authors claim otherwise. I did look at the study in somewhat more detail, but certainly not a thorough or complete reading. And yes, I am quite capable and educated in research, statistics, methodology, etc. My own take is that people that get higher GPA's in high school are more likely to go to college (and my own take on that is that these people are more organized, more intelligent, and more motivated on average), complete college, and thus of course earn more money. As I have said several times, this is hardly breaking news. The only value I see here is that the study provides some quantitative data to the scale of that gap in earnings, and actually it is smaller than I would have thought. To that limited degree, the study, to me, has some value.

    People are getting far more exorcized about this than needs be. A simple study, mostly confirming what common sense and experience tells us, with a small twist of a slightly surprising (to me) smaller earnings gap than expected. And you are right, only for that rather narrow, yet very important, age slice.
    · Reply · Share
  • ccco2018ccco2018 624 replies12 threads Member
    ^ Are you having any stakes in this article? Why SMH about the feedback from others. You can't sit to re-bottle every feedback that does not meet your own opinion about the article.
    I stand by my opinion, that the article is just NOT worth publishing...due to its irrelevance in the subject matter of correlation that its trying to emphasize.
    · Reply · Share
  • CanuckguyCanuckguy 1208 replies0 threads Senior Member
    This is becoming a question for epistemology. What do we really know? How do we know we know? Etc.

    My personal feeling is that it is not possible to “prove” that something causes something. It is the responsibility of theories to name a “cause”, and if evidence does not support such a theory, then it has to be discarded and a new one is required to replace it.

    What science does is focus on the “result” of such causes. In other words, science does not answer the question “why” but “how”.

    Perhaps we should stay with religion instead? We don't need to worry about causation or even correlation; all we need is faith.
    · Reply · Share
  • ManFromUncleManFromUncle 4 replies1 threads New Member
    IMO there's little to say about this 'study' since we don't actually have it to evaluate. We have an article about a study.
    · Reply · Share
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    edited June 2014
    Having a discussion does not mean I am "sit(ting) to re-bottle every feedback that does not meet (my) own opinion about the article". Gee, I thought these forums were for discussion. I was simply noting your strong language about the article. Seems over the top to me. Of course you are welcome to voice it. As I am welcome to voice my opinion about the article and your reaction. Are you just entering college now? That is what I would infer from your screen name, but of course that could be quite wrong.
    edited June 2014
    Post edited by fallenchemist on
    · Reply · Share
  • wannabefeynmanwannabefeynman 571 replies15 threads Member
    @fallenchemist‌

    Please read my post more clearly.

    I said: "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."

    You said: "How can you say there is no correlation between high school GPA and income? "

    When I said "It is obvious that the correlation is caused by:" it means I know that there is a correlation, just not for certain reasons.
    · Reply · Share
  • GrantstudentGrantstudent 95 replies14 threads Junior Member
    there maybe a weak correlation. but the article, and the op assumptions are flawed. it depends if you are taking hard or easy casses. and depends if you go to college and choose a major, that requires alot of hard classes like sciences, as opposed to computer programming, it, which have a high income for a bs.
    · Reply · Share
  • comfortablycurtcomfortablycurt 2145 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    I don't think this is really a sensible claim to make. Obviously if they're comparing the 4.0 students to the 3.0 students...more of the 4.0 students are likely to go to college. Many of these 4.0 students continue to do well in college, and graduate from college. Some of them don't. The ones that graduate fall into the income bracket known as "college graduate" while the ones that didn't graduate end up falling into the bracket known as "high school graduate." Clearly, a college degree tends to increase lifetime earnings.

    Now if we're comparing students that graduated from high school, -but- never graduated from college, we'd have a more sensible comparison. I highly doubt that there would be any kind of significantly discernible distinction in the lifetime earnings of students that graduate from high school with a 4.0 versus the ones that graduated high school with a 3.0.

    What about the 4.0 students that DON'T go to college, and the many 2.0-3.0 students that DO go to college? Now we're saying that the 4.0 students are going to earn both less and more than the students with lower high school GPA. I think this is a prime example of defining the parameters in such a way that the findings fall in line with a desired conclusion. I really don't think that anything truly meaningful can be drawn from this.
    edited February 2015
    · Reply · Share
  • Alucard43Alucard43 132 replies29 threads Junior Member
    What about college GPAs?
    · Reply · Share
  • juilletjuillet 12812 replies164 threads Super Moderator
    Yes, correlation doesn't equal causation. But there's more nuance to relationships than that - we can look at whether or not something is a LIKELY cause of something else, or whether it's a factor along the causal pathway, or whether it's a third variable that is very strongly tied to the original cause. In this case, high school GPA is probably all of the above.

    There are a lot of causes of high high school GPAs - hard-working, organized, and intelligent students, of course, are more likely to get higher high school GPAs. They are also more likely to do well and be diligent in college and in their job searches and beyond, setting them up for higher pay down the road.

    But the researchers also controlled for "innate ability." While it's really difficult to fully adjust statistical models for something as nebulous as "innate ability," that does mean that on some level they found that high school GPA is still related to earnings regardless of how "smart" a given student is. That probably goes back to the diligence/organization part - even if a given student is less innately talented/smart than a similar student, if they work hard enough to get a good high school GPA they'll still probably do better later on - because their hard work more or less "makes up" for the lack of innate talent. That's not brand-new information, either; there's a lot of educational research that shows that hard work can be just as if not more important than any innate talent or intelligence someone has.

    They also controlled for a variety of economic and parental factors to try to look at the relationship regardless of parents' income, socioeconomic status, neighborhood, parental education, etc. So yes, if one's parents are more highly educated one probably will do better in high school, but they tried to select out for that. This relationship persists even when the contribution of those factors are deleted from the analysis.

    The researchers also found something else interesting out.

    The correlation between high school grades and overall educational attainment was strongest for minorities. African American and Hispanic men were actually more likely to go to college and graduate school than whites with similar GPAs, says French, a sign that minority students with good grades may be more motivated to finish school and advance their education. However, those higher grades in high school didn't translate into higher earnings for African Americans, which French says could be due to a gap in the opportunities made available to minorities.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.