Friendships, Rejection, and Standardized Test Scores Over Time

Erin Rotheram-Fuller, Jill Locke, Hyejin Park, Daniel D. Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peer acceptance has been consistently linked with academic performance. Acceptance, however, is often a measure of overall peers’ impressions of a child, and not their own interest in being friends. Friendship nominations reflect a stronger, more persistent, peer endorsement than acceptance, and rejection nominations, similarly, reflect more direct negative feelings. In addition, most data on these relationships are from schools with children from middle class backgrounds who are predominantly White. This study focuses on friendship and rejection nominations among a sample of predominantly African American children (N = 221) from low socioeconomic backgrounds in a large city in the Northeastern United States. All students in 10 classrooms from Grades 3 to 5 (n = 123) and 6–8 (n = 98), completed friendship and rejection measures, as well as standardized academic achievement tests, each Spring for 2 years. Reading and math scores increased for both groups over time. Friend and rejection nominations increased over time for younger students but decreased in the older group. Among younger students, friend nominations in the first year were related to reading performance in the second year. However, there were no relations between social variables in Year 1 and standardized test scores in Year 2 within the older grade group. Thus, focusing on both social and academic involvement in the elementary years may help improve student performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • academic achievement
  • children’s social relationships
  • friendships
  • peer rejections
  • standardized test scores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Friendships, Rejection, and Standardized Test Scores Over Time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this