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Buying Bad Grades: The More Your Parents Pay, the Lower Your GPA

The less money parents pony up for a student's college education, the better students do in school.


American college students get plenty of flack for being a pretty lazy lot. Research shows that many don't study as much as they should, they complain about professors asking them to actually think and participate, and they refuse to stop checking Facebook in class. Well, the latest research from University of California at Merced sociology professor Laura Hamilton, reveals that the less money parents pony up for a student's college education, the better students do in school.

Hamilton's paper, which appears in the latest issue of the American Sociological Review, tapped longitudinal data from three federal databases and analyzed the amount of money parents contributed to their child's education and the resulting grades. She found that students who had more financial support from their parents had lower GPAs than those with less support. Money coming in from other sources—like work-study jobs and financial aid—didn't have a negative impact.

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"Will This Be on the Test?" An Overemphasis on Grades Might Be Killing the Desire to Learn

Time and again, I've seen the fixation on grades get in the way just when my students are learning how to use their minds.

As a high school science teacher, I enjoy spending my time designing instruction. It’s professionally engaging to come up with something worthy of a bit of brow furrowing. Presenting my lesson to the class gives me butterflies daily. What will they ask? What will they want to do? What knowledge can be culled from their natural curiosity?

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Are High School Valedictorians Becoming Passé?

Citing an overly competitive school environment, some Kentucky districts are scrapping the time honored tradition.

Naming a high school valedictorian used to be simple: The school looked at student grades and chose the senior with the highest GPA in the graduating class. But nowadays, picking a valedictorian has become a whole lot more complicated, and, critics say, overly competitive. To address the problem, some school districts in Kentucky are even going so far as to completely scrap naming valedictorians.

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Meet the Facebook App That Predicts College Admissions

Want someone to tell you if you have a shot at getting into your dream school? Now there's an app for that.


Could a new Facebook application replace the high school guidance counselor when it comes to giving seniors advice on where to apply to college? AdmissionSplash claims to be able to predict what college will accept a student. Instead of spending the time and money applying to a bunch of schools they have no chance of getting into, seniors can focus on the schools most likely to send them that much-coveted acceptance letter.

A student first inputs a list of all the schools—dream schools to safety schools—that she wants to attend. Then she plugs in all the pertinent information about herself—grades, test scores, extra-curricular activities. The app uses algorithms—right now they're customized for about 1,500 schools—to generate the likelihood of acceptance, and ranks a student's chances from "very poor" to "very good."

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