Friends play an important role in academic performance as they encourage and discourage academic performance. The purpose of this study aims to seek a relationship between friends and academic performance. Two research questions are raised: 1) Does relationship with friends affect academic performance, and; 2) How does it affect academic performance, why? The data from a questionnaire with 35 Sunway College respondents has been analysed and interpreted. The results show that students spend more time with friends increasing their CGPA as friends help one another in academic difficulties and always encourage and motivate one another. The study also found that the relationship between friends has a positive effect on academic performance.
Background of study
Academic performance in young people is a key affirmation of future education and career performance. Friends play an important role in academic achievement because they support academic performance, which can be encouraged and discouraged. For some reasons, performance in academic can be an important trial mechanism for friendships. There are friendships between people with similar values, who are in close contact and who understand each other’s choices and decisions. Highly successful students are more likely to be associated with other highly successful students and vice versa.
Various studies carried out in this area have shown how friends influence academic performance. Most studies show that children tend to have better attitudes to learn when they have friends in school. A study by Jacobson (2012) found that adolescent friendships with peers are linked to academic performance. In addition, the study shows that social support has a positive relationship with academic performance.
However, there is a lack of empirical evidence for college students in this area. More in-depth studies are required to explore as the use of college students as subjects.
Statement of problem
According to Coleman (1988), access is a key determinant of educational success for friends who support academic performance. In addition, Frank et al. (2008) argue that friends are the main academic stratification characteristic of school students. More studies need to be carried out in order to understand the relationship between friends at college.
Purpose of study
This research aims to seek a relationship between friends and academic performance.
- Does the relationship with friends affect academic performance?
- How does it affect academic performance, why?
Relationship with friends
According to the Oxford dictionary, friend is one’s companion that we have an affectionate bond with, whom we can comfortably share our stories and issues too. The meaning of friendship is the emotions and the behaviour of friends. Friendship is also an interpersonal relationship stronger than an association. Furthermore, different academic theories of friendship have been proposed, and yet there are excessive forms of friendship, several of which may vary from place to place or certain characteristics exist in different types of relationships. For instance, such features include kindness, virtue, sympathy, honesty, understanding and enjoyment of one another’s company, trust and the ability to be an express one’s feelings to others without fear of a friend’s judgment.
Friendship is a very common relationship among students in adolescence. Friendships are more willing to share in adolescence, giving support and spontaneity. Everyone tends to look for colleagues who can provide these qualities in a simultaneous relationship. The friendship of adolescence begins to maintain a theme of shared values, loyalty and common interests rather than physical concerns and to visit things that better evaluate childhood.
More than 9,000 American teenagers were investigated in a study to determine how they engage in problematic behaviour in relation to their relationship with friends. Finding shows that teenagers were less likely to deal with problematic behaviour when their friends did well in school, participated in school activities, avoided drinking and had good mental health. The opposite was found about adolescents who had problematic behaviour depending on how much they were exposed to these friends. (Crosnoe & Needham, 2004)
According to Oxford Dictionary, the academic’s meaning relates to an educational or academic institution or environment, whereas achievement refers to something done successfully with effort, skill or encouragement. Academic performance is the level at which a student, teacher or institution has achieved its short-term educational objectives. Academic achievement is usually measured by exams or continuous evaluations, but there is no general agreement on how best to assess it.
Factors influencing academic achievement
Individual academic performance differences have been linked to intellectual and personality differences. Students with higher mental skills, as demonstrated in IQ tests, tend to achieve high levels in academia. In addition, students with higher awareness, who linked to effort and motivation for achievement, also tend to achieve academic results.
Parents influence the academic achievement of students through the environment and shape the skills, behaviours and attitudes of students towards school. Magnuson, K. (2007) revealed that academic socialization can be influenced by the social and economic status of parents. Parents with a high level of education tend to have higher expectations and pay more attention towards their child learning environments. Moreover, recent research shows that the quality of relationships with parents will influence the development of academic self-efficiency in adolescents, which will affect their academic performance.
Motivation is the reasoning behind the actions of an individual. According to the research done by Gutman, L. M. and Schoon, I. (2013), it is found that students who are motivated to improve their previous or upcoming performance tend to perform better academically than less motivated students. Bad dietary habits, on the other hand, can also lead to a lack of motivation (Downes, 2015).
In addition, organized extracurricular activities have a positive relationship with high academic performance, including higher attendance rates, school participation, higher CGPA and low drop-out rates. (Darling, 2005). Moreover, positive development results in young people engaged in organized extracurricular activities have been established. Learning at secondary schools has been linked to strong academic performance, especially among urban youth.
Friendship affect academic achievement
Academic achievement in adolescence is a key to determining future success in education and work. Friends play an important role in the education process because they provide support and resources to promote and encourage academic achievement. As a result, adolescents’ preferences for friends are important. These preferences determine the group of friends because the advantages of academic students are compounded, and the concentration of academic advantages is achieved.
Friendship forms between people with similar values who spend time in similar ways and who understand the choices and decisions of each other (Newcomb, 1956). One result of these preferences is that people with similar academic achievements are more likely to become friends.
Study data is collected by a total of 35 participants. Participants are all from the Sunway College Pre-U Program student. No stress was placed on them before they filled out the survey form.
Materials / Instrument
A quantitative survey method is used to investigate the effects of friendship on academic performance. The survey will be conducted via Google Forms. The answer to the questions in the Likert scale method from 1 to 5 was designed. The number 1 is ‘ Strongly Disagree ‘ and the number 5 is ‘ Strongly Agree. ‘ These questionnaires were posted in the social media publicly.
A survey form is provided for each participant to test their relationship with friends and academic performance. A total of 14 questions were asked for their academic performance during the survey. The survey question was intended to determine the friendship and the behaviour of the participants ‘ friendship. Moreover, a question based on achievement has been added to investigate the academic performance of the participant.
All results were analysed by means of statistics and numbers. Since the data for answers using the Likert scale is categorical, only the data model and frequency are analysed. The correlation coefficient of Pearson has been used to determine the linear correlation between two data variables.
Finding and Discussion
The main purpose of the research of the study was to investigate the relationship with friend effects academic performance. A total of 35 responses were collected and analysed for the purpose to answer the research questions, which are:
- Does relationship with friends affect academic performance?
- How does it affect academic performance, why?
Before and after meeting their friends, the respondent was asked to compare their academic achievements. The respondent was given a Likert scale to measure how much they agreed that their academic achievement was better than before they met their friend, with 1 strongly disagreeing and 5 strongly agreeing. Based on diagram I, it was found that nearly all respondents have better academic performance than they did before meeting their friends. This is because 28.57% of the respondents agree strongly (5) that their current academic achievement is better. While 7 or 20 percent of the respondents agreed (4).
However, two respondents disagree strongly with this. All two of these respondents stated earlier that they would like to talk to their classmates while the lesson is taking place. Moreover, 14 or 40% of the respondents rated 3 as neutral. This shows that respondents are not very sure of their academic achievements before and after their friends have met them.
The respondents were also asked to rate a Likert scale based on how often they spend time with friends in classes. As shown in diagram II above, the statement received the greatest disagreement between all ratings. The statement was strongly opposed by a total of 26 respondents, the highest of all ratings. Most students therefore don’t skip classes to spend time with friends.
In past literature, friends spend time in similar ways and understand the choices and decisions of each other (Newcomb, 1956). People prefer to spend time studying and less likely to skip classes to spend time with friends.
A large number of respondents agreed that they are helping their academic friends. Twelve respondents agreed strongly with this statement, while six respondents were neutral.
There are unexpected problems and difficulties, which can lead to academic failures (Trimmer, 1992). As previously mentioned, friends play an important role in the education process because they provide support and resources to promote and prevent academic achievement. For example, group studies give students the opportunity to ask questions about a certain segment of the textbook when they are confused. Students can also learn some of their study techniques from others. Group students can develop their problem-solving skills and understand the study material better (Cooper & Mueck, 1990).
In contrast, self-studies are more productive than group studies and students learn more while studying alone, they can give their studies the right time and concentration. This is because some students may find themselves easily distracted by their friends when studying in group. Studying alone in this case enables us to minimize distractions around us. Students can concentrate on information on which more practice is needed.
Most respondents agreed that friends have assisted them to improve their grades. A total of 8 respondents rated “5” which represent strongly agree, while 17 respondents rated “4” which represent agree. 8 respondents have rated for neutral which is “3” and only two respondents are disagree. No respondents strongly disagreed on this statement.
Based on previous literature, researchers have found that students motivated by friends tend to improve their previous or future performance more academically than students with less motivation (Gutman & Schoon, 2013). Motivation is the reasoning behind the actions of an individual. This shows that students help each other improve their academic performance and encourage each other.
It has been found that a students’ frequency of spending time with friends is positively related to their CGPA (r = 0.54). This means that the longer the students spend time with friends, the higher the CGPA.
In previous studies, adolescent friendship is linked to changes in academic achievement (Flashman, 2011). CGPA is an important determinant of adolescent friends and helps to explain the influence of friendship on academic achievement. High successful students are more likely to connect with other highly successful students and vice versa. This shows that students spend more time with friends and study together. When students study in groups, they can motivate and encourage each other. In addition, students are able to learn some studying skills and habits by observing others’ study skills and they can incorporate it in their studying routine. Furthermore, some students might feel uncomfortable asking a question in class and they might feel more comfortable asking someone in a small group. Meanwhile, some of the students who study alone feel more focus than studying in group. This means that they do not rely on their friends and studying alone allows student to concentrate and minimize the disruptions that can keep them from retaining the material.
These findings demonstrate the importance of adolescent’s friendships with their peers and their academic achievement. To answer the research question, ‘ How does it affect academic performance, why?,’ we found that relationships with friends have a valuable impact on the CGPA. We conclude, that students who always spend time studying with friends receive a higher CGPA. We also found that friends help each other in academic difficulties and help each other to improve their qualifications. It can therefore be concluded that relationship between friends affect academic performance.
This study has a few limitations. In the first place, the survey study uses the Likert scale for most questions. Likert scale data may be distorted because of the central tendency bias (Douven, 2017). This prevents respondents from responding to extreme ratings such as ‘ 1, ‘ which are strongly disagreeable, and ‘ 5, ‘ which are strongly agreed. Secondly, the data was collected via an online survey. This can cause several problems because respondents can sometimes give dishonest or inconspicuous answers. The respondents were also given predominantly close-ended questions and were not given the opportunity to answer them. The researcher therefore mainly reasoned the results of the answer on the basis of assumptions and previous literature.
We hope that future studies will consider and overcome the limitations of this study. Future studies should include interviews to assess the reasons given to justify and further understanding by the respondents. Future studies should also conduct experiments to clearly determine the relationship between friends and its impact on academia.
The research benefits are that people are aware of the relationship between friends and their impact on academic performance. In addition, this research will enable the public to know how friends influence the academic performance of an individual. In order to improve their academic performance, they can choose friends carefully.
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