Benefits of being top of the class?

Is that arrogant, smiling guy or girl giving your graduation speech actually going to be more successful? An interesting study from the UK suggests that, maybe they will, but perhaps not for the reasons you think… or maybe we all just knew it all along.

Essentially, they found that being a big fish in a small pond is better than being a equally big fish in a pond full of huge fish. The study finds that (take a breath…) kids who were in the top of their class in primary school had better test scores in secondary school, than kids who had the same scores in primary school but were in better schools, putting them in the middle of their class.

The money quote: “Non-cognitive skills such as confidence, perseverance and resilience have big effects on achievement.”

But. I would also be very interested to see how they controlled for the “inherent motivation” factor – the question of whether that confidence is inherent and not a result of their environment, and those kids were more inclined to achieve better test scores in both primary and secondary school anyway. I guess I should read the whole paper…


About developingnathan
I am a reflective person. I am an introvert, a friend, a brother and a son. I appreciate a well-crafted glass of beer, piece of music and turn of phrase. I am a professional of international development, a good pianist and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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