Those schoolyard bullies did more than kill your self esteem.
Schoolyard bullies may be the reason you’re not a millionaire today.
One in four children say they were bullied often at school all the way from kindergarten through high school — and this chronic bullying sometimes meant the difference between passing and failing their tests. Chronically bullied students score about 8 to 10 points lower on math tests than students who aren’t bullied, according to a 17-year-long study of roughly 400 students, beginning when they were in kindergarten, published Monday in the Journal of Educational Psychology. (Reading test scores were only lower for the chronically bullied in elementary school.)
This is the first long-term study of its kind, says lead researcher Gary Ladd, a psychology professor at Arizona State University. The study asked children once a year in every grade to rank how often they were bullied on a scale of 1 (almost never) to 5 (almost always).
Ladd says bullied students’ poorer achievement in school is likely due to the fact that bullied kids are absent more (they may avoid school when they can to avoid the bullying) and enjoy school less than kids who aren’t bullied. “When they are in school, they are uncomfortable and unhappy,” he explains — which may translate into lower grades. (Other studies show that bullying can lower self-esteem, which can also impact academic performance.)
Whatever the reasons for their lower grades, one thing is clear: High school grades have much to do with success later in life. For one, high school GPA predicts whether or not you’ll finish college, says Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher and vice president of strategy for college and scholarship resource site Cappex.com. More than two-thirds (68.7%) of students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher get a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrollment; meanwhile, just 36.8% of those with a 2.0 – 2.9 do, and just 13.7% of those with lower than a 2.0 do, Kantrowitz says.
Your GPA predicts how likely it is you’ll graduate from college
|High school GPA||Percentage who got a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of initial enrollment|
|Source: GPAcalculator.tools; data derived from 2009 follow-up to the 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study|
And whether or not you hold a bachelor’s degree has an impact on how much you earn down the road. Lifetime earnings for a person with a bachelor’s degree over a 40-year career average $2.268 million, while earnings for someone with just a high school diploma total just $1.301 million, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce — a difference of nearly $964,000. Even if you got in some college, but never finished, you’ll face a similarly bleak discrepancy in income: $721,000.
Of course, plenty of bullied kids make stellar grades, finish college and make bank; and bullying does tend to lessen as children get older, in part because there are more sanctions against it for older kids, Ladd speculates. Still, he points out that this study should serve as a warning to both parents and schools that it’s important to combat bullying.
“There has been a lot of consciousness raising and stories of children being bullied and committing suicide, and that has raised public concern,” he said. “But more needs to be done to ensure that children aren’t bullied, especially for kids who suffer in silence from chronic bullying throughout their school years.”
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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