Twin studies have shown that individual differences in school achievement are to a large extent (around 60%) explained by genetic differences. However, little is known about age-to-age stability and change in school achievement. A team led by Kaili Rimfeld used school achievement data from primary school to the end of compulsory education for 6000 twin pairs in the UK-representative Twins Early Development Study sample. Results showed that school achievement is highly heritable across the school years and across subjects studied at school, that school achievement is highly stable, and that this stability is largely explained by genetic factors. The finding of genetically driven stability of school achievement should provide additional motivation to identify children in need of interventions as early as possible, as the problems are likely to remain throughout the school years.
This original research article is freely available in our companion journal npj Science of Learning here.