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

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.