High School Students in Part-Time Employment: What Effects on Scholastic Performance?

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High school students in part-time employment:

What effects on scholastic performance?

Educators in the United States have long argued about the effects of part-time work on the academic performance of high school students. Though many studies claim that there is a relationship between a student’s grade point average (GPA) – the standard measure academic performance in high schools and universities in the US – and the number of hours the students is employed, there seems little agreement on what that relationship is.

Several studies (Sneider, 1982; Wallace, 1988; Johnson and Payne, 1989) suggest that students who work after school do better in their school work than students who do not have a job. Peel and Maas (1990), meanwhile, suggest that students with part-time job generally do worse than their classmates who do not work at all. Still other research claims the amount of hours worked outside school hours is of very minor importance; much more important in influencing a student’s performance in school are the student’s habits and home life (Alvares, 1987).

Of seven major studies on high school students in employment received by Bjarnes and Doi (1990), four studies specifically investigated the relationship between scholastic achievement and part-time work. Of these, two concluded that students who work beyond a certain amount of hours per week tent to have generally lower GPAs (Walson and Yin, 1990; Corbelli, 1989). These two studies noted the positive correlation between the number of the hours worked and improved academic achievement when work hours are no more than about 12 per week. However, when employment took up 20 hours or more of a student’s week, a negative correlation became evident: GPAs decreased as job hours grew.

In a more recent investigation, Krunjic (1995) surveyed some 1000 students each in grade 10,…...

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