Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Standard

Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them. / Smith Woolley, Emily; Pingault, Jean-Baptiste; Selzam, Saskia; Rimfeld, Kaili; Krapohl, Eva; von Stumm, Sophie; Asbury, Kathryn; Dale, Philip S.; Young, Toby; Allen, Rebecca; Kovas, Yulia; Plomin, Robert.

In: npj Science of Learning, Vol. 3, 3, 23.03.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Smith Woolley, E, Pingault, J-B, Selzam, S, Rimfeld, K, Krapohl, E, von Stumm, S, Asbury, K, Dale, PS, Young, T, Allen, R, Kovas, Y & Plomin, R 2018, 'Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them', npj Science of Learning, vol. 3, 3. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8

APA

Smith Woolley, E., Pingault, J-B., Selzam, S., Rimfeld, K., Krapohl, E., von Stumm, S., Asbury, K., Dale, P. S., Young, T., Allen, R., Kovas, Y., & Plomin, R. (2018). Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them. npj Science of Learning, 3, [3]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8

Vancouver

Smith Woolley E, Pingault J-B, Selzam S, Rimfeld K, Krapohl E, von Stumm S et al. Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them. npj Science of Learning. 2018 Mar 23;3. 3. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8

Author

Smith Woolley, Emily ; Pingault, Jean-Baptiste ; Selzam, Saskia ; Rimfeld, Kaili ; Krapohl, Eva ; von Stumm, Sophie ; Asbury, Kathryn ; Dale, Philip S. ; Young, Toby ; Allen, Rebecca ; Kovas, Yulia ; Plomin, Robert. / Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them. In: npj Science of Learning. 2018 ; Vol. 3.

Bibtex - Download

@article{8fa9515dcf984e9886c4cfa0d0a23844,
title = "Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them",
abstract = "On average, students attending selective schools outperform their non-selective counterparts in national exams. These differences are often attributed to value added by the school, as well as factors schools use to select pupils, including ability, achievement and, in cases where schools charge tuition fees or are located in affluent areas, socioeconomic status. However, the possible role of DNA differences between students of different schools types has not yet been considered. We used a UK-representative sample of 4814 genotyped students to investigate exam performance at age 16 and genetic differences between students in three school types: state-funded, non-selective schools ('non-selective'), state-funded, selective schools ('grammar') and private schools, which are selective ('private'). We created a genome-wide polygenic score (GPS) derived from a genome-wide association study of years of education ( EduYears). We found substantial mean genetic differences between students of different school types: students in non-selective schools had lower EduYears GPS compared to those in grammar ( d  = 0.41) and private schools ( d  = 0.37). Three times as many students in the top EduYears GPS decile went to a selective school compared to the bottom decile. These results were mirrored in the exam differences between school types. However, once we controlled for factors involved in pupil selection, there were no significant genetic differences between school types, and the variance in exam scores at age 16 explained by school type dropped from 7% to <1%. These results show that genetic and exam differences between school types are primarily due to the heritable characteristics involved in pupil admission. ",
keywords = "educational achievement, genetics, polygenic score, selection, intelligence",
author = "{Smith Woolley}, Emily and Jean-Baptiste Pingault and Saskia Selzam and Kaili Rimfeld and Eva Krapohl and {von Stumm}, Sophie and Kathryn Asbury and Dale, {Philip S.} and Toby Young and Rebecca Allen and Yulia Kovas and Robert Plomin",
note = "{\textcopyright} The Author(s) 2018.",
year = "2018",
month = mar,
day = "23",
doi = "10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
journal = "npj Science of Learning",
issn = "2056-7936",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them

AU - Smith Woolley, Emily

AU - Pingault, Jean-Baptiste

AU - Selzam, Saskia

AU - Rimfeld, Kaili

AU - Krapohl, Eva

AU - von Stumm, Sophie

AU - Asbury, Kathryn

AU - Dale, Philip S.

AU - Young, Toby

AU - Allen, Rebecca

AU - Kovas, Yulia

AU - Plomin, Robert

N1 - © The Author(s) 2018.

PY - 2018/3/23

Y1 - 2018/3/23

N2 - On average, students attending selective schools outperform their non-selective counterparts in national exams. These differences are often attributed to value added by the school, as well as factors schools use to select pupils, including ability, achievement and, in cases where schools charge tuition fees or are located in affluent areas, socioeconomic status. However, the possible role of DNA differences between students of different schools types has not yet been considered. We used a UK-representative sample of 4814 genotyped students to investigate exam performance at age 16 and genetic differences between students in three school types: state-funded, non-selective schools ('non-selective'), state-funded, selective schools ('grammar') and private schools, which are selective ('private'). We created a genome-wide polygenic score (GPS) derived from a genome-wide association study of years of education ( EduYears). We found substantial mean genetic differences between students of different school types: students in non-selective schools had lower EduYears GPS compared to those in grammar ( d  = 0.41) and private schools ( d  = 0.37). Three times as many students in the top EduYears GPS decile went to a selective school compared to the bottom decile. These results were mirrored in the exam differences between school types. However, once we controlled for factors involved in pupil selection, there were no significant genetic differences between school types, and the variance in exam scores at age 16 explained by school type dropped from 7% to <1%. These results show that genetic and exam differences between school types are primarily due to the heritable characteristics involved in pupil admission.

AB - On average, students attending selective schools outperform their non-selective counterparts in national exams. These differences are often attributed to value added by the school, as well as factors schools use to select pupils, including ability, achievement and, in cases where schools charge tuition fees or are located in affluent areas, socioeconomic status. However, the possible role of DNA differences between students of different schools types has not yet been considered. We used a UK-representative sample of 4814 genotyped students to investigate exam performance at age 16 and genetic differences between students in three school types: state-funded, non-selective schools ('non-selective'), state-funded, selective schools ('grammar') and private schools, which are selective ('private'). We created a genome-wide polygenic score (GPS) derived from a genome-wide association study of years of education ( EduYears). We found substantial mean genetic differences between students of different school types: students in non-selective schools had lower EduYears GPS compared to those in grammar ( d  = 0.41) and private schools ( d  = 0.37). Three times as many students in the top EduYears GPS decile went to a selective school compared to the bottom decile. These results were mirrored in the exam differences between school types. However, once we controlled for factors involved in pupil selection, there were no significant genetic differences between school types, and the variance in exam scores at age 16 explained by school type dropped from 7% to <1%. These results show that genetic and exam differences between school types are primarily due to the heritable characteristics involved in pupil admission.

KW - educational achievement

KW - genetics

KW - polygenic score

KW - selection

KW - intelligence

U2 - 10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8

DO - 10.1038/s41539-018-0019-8

M3 - Article

VL - 3

JO - npj Science of Learning

JF - npj Science of Learning

SN - 2056-7936

M1 - 3

ER -