Asians academic performance goes up with best friends of different race

April 6th, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by admin  

Washington , Apr 6 (ANI): For Asians, having a best friend of a different race increase their chances of being academically successful, according to a new study.

Researchers led by education professor Rebecca A. Newgent used the Educational Longitudinal Study from 2002, a nationally representative database of 13,134 high school students, to examine the effects of best friends on academic achievement of minority students.

The researchers suggested that school counsellors could create opportunities for students to interact with other students from different racial backgrounds in the hopes that they might develop friendships over time.

Peer mentoring programs could be one way to introduce struggling students from various racial groups to academically successful students of other racial groups.

In the study, Newgent and colleagues Sang Min Lee and Ashley F. Daniel focused on interracial friendships and academic achievement, something few studies have addressed.

Sometimes researchers have been reluctant to ask sensitive questions. We asked the hard questions because we thought it was important to know what the data says to know what to do about it, Newgent said.

In the study, the researchers divided student data into two groups between those whose best friends were of the same race and those of a different race.

They then used scores in standardized tests of math and reading to determine academic achievement. Overall, test scores improved when minority students had a best friend of another race.

Black and Hispanic students with best friends from other races had significantly higher math and reading test scores than did those with best friends of the same race. For Asians, having a best friend of a different race was associated with higher reading scores. Native Americans with a best friend of a different race had higher math test scores.

Our research confirms the understanding that every culture has something to offer. You learn more from people who are different than from people who are the same as you and echo your ideas, Newgent said.

The study is published in the journal of Professional School Counsellor. (ANI)

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