The Determinants of Undergraduate Grade Point Average: The Relative Importance of Family Background, High School Resources, and Peer Group Effects
The paper analyzes the Grade Point Average (GPA) of more than 5,000 undergraduates at the University of California, San Diego. Personal background strongly affects GPA. Graduates of different high schools obtain significantly different GPAs, even after controlling for personal background. These school effects in part reflect the incidence of poverty and the level of education among adults in the school neighborhood. Teachers' experience in the student's high school bears a positive and significant link to the student's university GPA, but the effect is small. No such positive link with GPA emerged for the teacher-pupil ratio or teachers' level of education.
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