A Twin Study into the Genetic and Environmental Influences on Academic Performance in Science in nine-year-old Boys and Girls

Claire M A Haworth, Philip Dale, Robert Plomin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated for the first time the genetic and environmental aetiology behind scientific achievement in primary school children, with a special focus on possible aetiological differences for boys and girls. For a representative community sample of 2,602 twin pairs assessed at age nine years, scientific achievement in school was rated by teachers based on National Curriculum criteria in three domains: Scientific Enquiry, Life Processes, and Physical Processes. Results indicate that genetic influences account for over 60% of the variance in scientific achievement, with environmental influences accounting for the remaining variance. Environmental influences were mainly of the non-shared variety, suggesting that children from the same family experience school environments differently. An analysis of sex differences considering differences in means, variances, and aetiology of individual differences found only differences in variance between the sexes, with boys showing greater variance in performance than girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

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