Magazine article The Spectator

GCSEs Are More Nature Than Nurture

Magazine article The Spectator

GCSEs Are More Nature Than Nurture

Article excerpt

An abstract of Plomin et al's forthcoming paper

We have previously shown that individual differences in educational achievement are highly heritable in the early and middle school years in the UK. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether similarly high heritability is found at the end of compulsory education (age 16) for the UK-wide examination, called the General Certificate of Secondary Education(GCSE). In a representative twin sample of 11,117 16-year-olds, heritability was substantial for GCSE performance for compulsory core subjects (58%) as well as for each of them individually: English (52%), Mathematics (55%) and Science (58%). In contrast, the overall effects of shared environment, which includes all family and school influences shared by members of twin pairs growing up in the same family and attending the same school, accounts for about 36% of the variance of mean GCSE scores. …

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