Pupils’ Popularity and an Educational Setting at School

  • Vera Titkova HSE University
  • Valeria Ivaniushina HSE University
  • Daniil Alexandrov HSE University; National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), Bld. 2, 55 Sedova Str., 192171 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Keywords: social network analysis, academic progress, school children, social status, sociometric popularity, school setting


Vera Titkova - Junior Research Fellow, Research Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg, National Research University Higher School of Economics. E-mail: tvera.v@gmail.com

Valeriya Ivaniushina - Leading Research Fellow, Research Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg, National Research University Higher School of Economics. E-mail: v.ivaniushina@gmail.com

Daniil Alexandrov - Professor, Laboratory Head, Research Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science; Deputy Director, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg, National Research University Higher School of Economics. E-mail: da1581@gmail.com

Address: 16 Soyuza pechatnikov str., St. Petersburg, 190121, Russian Federation.

The article explores how pupils’ academic progress and their sociometric popularity are connected depending on a school setting, and namely on an academic context of a class. The fundamental hypothesis was that the academic progress of a pupil contributes to his or her popularity in classes with high motivation, where most children are well disposed towards education, and results in waning popularity in classes with low motivation. The second hypothesis was that the connection between popularity and academic pro­gress was stronger for girls than for boys. The sociometric popularity is de­termined by a number of friendly nominations received by a pupil from his or her classmates. The academic context of a class is defined as an aggregated characteristic of all pupils’ individual academic motivation. To measure individual motivation, the Study involvement scale comprised of 10 questions was used. The academic progress was measured by means of an average score of final marks for a previous term in 5 subjects: Russian language, Algebra, A foreign language, Biology, Physics. In the study 5904 pupils (309 classes, 101 schools of Saint-Petersburg) of the 8–10th grades (14–16 years of age) took part. Data were analyzed by means of a multilevel regression analysis (HLM7). Reliability of the received results was confirmed by a spe­cial dyad analysis for network data (р2). The received results prove a gender specificity of popularity factors. Good progress is more important for girls’ popularity than for boys’ popularity. Girls’ popularity is positively associated with an average score, regardless of a class context. A connection between boys’ marks and their popularity depends on the context: in classes with high academic motivation this association is positive, in classes with low motiva­tion it is negative. The study revealed threshold effects: the context influence becomes apparent only if a class motivation level achieves extreme values. In classes with extremely low academic motivation boys who study well face danger of marginalization. The authors offer to use data concerning popularity of different categories of pupils when evaluating an educational setting quality, in particular to determine problem classes.


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How to Cite
Titkova, Vera, Valeria Ivaniushina, and Daniil Alexandrov. 2014. “Pupils’ Popularity and an Educational Setting at School”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (February), 145-67. https://doi.org/10.17323/1814-9545-2013-4-145-167.
Theoretical and Applied Research

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