Students in schools that perform better than expected are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, a new study finds. The study looked at 61 inner-city middle schools in Chicago, and found students in these same schools were also less likely to steal or participate in fights compared with children in schools that did not perform as well.
The study, published in the March issue of the journal Prevention Science, found that higher performance in the classroom cut the rate of drug use in schools by as much as 25 percent. The schools included in the study had high populations of ethnic minorities and students from underprivileged homes, which the researchers note are factors that are often linked to lower achievement in schools.
The researchers followed students in their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade years from 2002 to 2005. The student academic achievement was judged based on their standardized test scores in reading and math. Of the 61 schools, seven performed better than expected on the tests.