Peer advisers improve their own grades

Students are typically assigned peer advisers or mentors to help them improve their academic performance or build social-emotional skills, but a recent study suggests that those giving advice also benefit academically from the relationship, even if it is brief.

The high school students in the study participated in an online program that asked them to give advice to younger students on study habits and strategies and then write a motivational letter to a student who wanted to do better in school. The activity took an average of eight minutes. At the end of the quarter, students who gave advice earned higher grades than control students in the two subjects researchers analyzed: mathematics and a subject students identified as one where they wanted to improve. The magnitude of the effect was in the 50th-70th percentile, while ranking low in per-pupil cost. The effect appeared across demographic groups, grade levels, and achievement levels. The effect diminished after another academic quarter, but it remained marginally significant in math.

Source: Eskreis-Winkler, L., Milkman, K.L., Gromet, D.M., & Duckworth, A.L. (2019). A large-scale field experiment shows giving advice improves academic outcomes for the advisor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116 (30), 14808-14810.

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