Research Insights: Can Good Peers Hurt?: The Effect of Top Students on Girls' Educational Outcomes

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Jul 2021
Exposure to good peers of either sex during middle school reduces the probability that top-performing girls are placed in one of their preferred high schools. High-achieving boys have a detrimental effect on the selectiveness of the schools in which top female students are placed. These placement effects are driven by both lower admission scores and weakened preferences for selective and academic schools. Exposure to high-achieving girls improves the admission exam scores of poor-performing girls. This protective effect on scores translates into an average increase in the selectivity of the high schools in which low-performing girls are placed.