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

Genetic differences between selective and non-selective schools

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Students attending selective schools have, on average, more genetic variants associated with educational attainment compared to students attending non-selective schools. A team led by Professor Robert Plomin at King’s College London found that these genetic differences between school types were also mirrored in examination differences. Students attending selective schools were performing a grade higher than their non-selective schooled peers. However, once the researchers statistically accounted for student-level factors, including family socioeconomic status, prior ability and prior achievement, there were no significant genetic differences between students in selective and non-selective schools, and only small examination score differences. This research shows that genetic and exam score differences between selective and non-selective schools are primarily due to the genetically influenced characteristics involved in student admission.

The original research article is freely available in our companion journal npj Science of Learning here.

Warren Raye

Head of Outreach & Partnerships, EMEA & Australasia, Open Research Group, Springer Nature

Based in our London office, I am the Head of Outreach & Partnerships for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australasia.