Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Names and Academics Revisited

Last year I tried to tackle a question with which I had no good answer: Why are students with a last names near the end of the alphabet on average worse. I've also since mentioned the possible political benefits. But here's a story I recently heard that may help explain. Historically, when immigration lines were long, families would change their last name to something near the front of the alphabet as a way to get in the front of the line. Families strategic enough to do that, would likely be strategic enough to become successful. Whether it was genetics or learned, it's possible this creativity was passed down through the generations. That said, I couldn't find any proof.


  1. Zach + Ward = Either way my teachers lined us up I was always at the end. So I started to volunteer to help other kids line up in order. Why? If I was helping I could be in front with the teacher. I plan to pass this on to my kids.

  2. A young Zach Ward, self-starter from the beginning. At least by first name, you were in front of the other Zack.


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