NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teen Work and Test Scores

November 1, 2001

From the available evidence, it appears that when teens take after-school jobs their academic performance falls -- particularly if they work more than 15 hours a week.

  • The Third International Mathematics and Science Survey found that 55 percent of American 12th graders work three hours or more on a normal school day.
  • The proportion in other developed nations is 18 percent, on average.
  • One study has found that when students work after school to earn money for college -- rather than for consumer items -- achievement improves.
  • And another study found that employed teen-agers take time from watching television, not homework -- which would argue in favor of jobs.

So would the consideration that working teaches responsibility, punctuality, independence and self-confidence.

Source: Richard Rothstein, "When After-School Jobs Lead to Poor Performance in School," New York Times, October 31, 2001.  


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