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A twin study into the genetic and environmental influences on academic performance in science in 9-year-old boys and girls


Haworth, Claire Margaret Alison; Dale, Philip S.; Plomin, Robert


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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 2602 twin pairs assessed at 9 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.
Freie Schlagwörter science education; primary school; gender-related; twin study
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2008
Seitenangabe S. 1003-1025
Zeitschriftentitel International Journal of Science Education, 30 (2008) 8
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690701324190
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)