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High-school social skills predict better earnings than test scores

Original post made by Sharon, Midtown, on Oct 19, 2008

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2008) — Web Link
"Ten years after graduation, high-school students who had been rated as conscientious and cooperative by their teachers were earning more than classmates who had similar test scores but fewer social skills, said a new University of Illinois study.

Participation in sports and school organizations also had strong effects on a student's future educational and occupational success.

"For African American and Hispanic students only, participation in fine arts led to significantly better earnings compared to whites. This suggests that different activities teach kids different kinds of skills and learned behaviors," she said."

Comments (10)

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Posted by Gene S
a resident of Ohlone School
on Oct 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm

It looks like the study refers to High Schools but it support the Onlone approach.

Interesting ethic analysis.

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:07 pm

It is hard to tell from the article, but it seems to say that, holding scores and other things equal, good work habits and cooperation improve income. I guess I do not find that surprising. It seems silent on whether better test scores in fact drive higher incomes; since that's expected, I assume the study verifies it.

I wouldn't sacrifice educational rigor for "learning to get along" as a result of this study. And frankly, I think the Ohlone Way (and the Hoover Way) have a lot more to do with satisfying parents' desires than creating a different or better educational outcome for children.

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Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I feel the Ohlone Way will have challenges with the Chinese Immersion Program, how are things going there,
my kids graduated from Ohlone some years ago but it was a great experience for them, they still have fond memories
Susan Charles was great

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Posted by Duh
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:59 pm

This is no revelation. It's obvious that people who are well-liked get the promotions, other things being equal. Oftentimes, the popular, who are less qualified, are promoted. Communication and interaction skills are so important in the workplace. The Asians don't understand this; they stress academics too much.

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Posted by Not that interesting
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:36 am

Another factor is the types of jobs that emphasize social skills (sales, management, for example), tend to pay better. The study would have been more useful if it controlled for type of job as well.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:10 am

One friend of my daughter tried hard to get a summer job. She is very high achieving and after many applications at various local retail and food outlets, found one job serving customers. Although she was happy with her work, she was constantly told to smile more to the customers as her staid facial expressions made her look bad tempered to both customers and fellow staff alike. She very much doubts whether she will be able to get her job back when she is next on break.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:44 am

Implicit in this article is that home schooling deprives the student of needed socialization skills.

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Posted by Hmm
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:58 am

That's bull. The article says "conscientiousness and cooperation" which gets more to work habits and good manners than "socialization."

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Posted by Agrees With Hmm
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:18 am

It is bull. The article also discusses "motivation", which home schoolers must exhibit to a greater extent than children who are legally required to attend school. Home schoolers typically go out of their way to participate in extracurricular activities where they can socialize in a mostly positive way. They can largely avoid negative social experiences - bullying, queen bees, cliques, peer pressures - that commonly occur in even the best of schools. Although learning how to survive such situations can strengthen character, those caustic environments are certainly not desirable or necessary for developing social skills such as conscientiousness, cooperation or motivation. The following description doesn't describe home schooling.
"Low-income and racial minority students continue to be concentrated in lower-quality schools with fewer opportunities for extracurricular participation, larger class sizes, and lower teacher quality, all factors that are correlated with poorer school-related attitudes and behavior."

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Posted by patty
a resident of Nixon School
on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Do not worry, The One will save us, Jim Jones Web Link was a false profit, no pun intended, Obama will save us, close your eyes and think of Obama oh someone else said that, never mind Web Link

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