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Scientists can now predict at birth who will have academic success


The study identifies predictors of which students are likely to succeed in school.

  • Researchers examined data from 5,000 students and discovered two factors that were strongly associated with academic success.
  • Students with a genetic proclivity for academics were much more likely to attend university.
  • Having well-educated and wealthy parents was also important.

Is your child going to be a good student? According to a new study, it is possible to predict how successful children will be academically at the time of their birth.

An international research team discovered that genetic differences and parents’ socioeconomic status were important in determining future academic success. Surprisingly, having good genes alone is not the most important factor. Having parents with a high level of education and wealth has a greater influence.

The study, which looked at data from 5,000 children born in the UK between 1994 and 1996, discovered that 47 percent of those who went to university had a genetic predisposition for education but came from a poorer background. Compare that to 62 percent of the kids who went to university despite having a low genetic proclivity for academics but having wealthy parents.

The children who performed the best, with 77 percent attending university, had both wealthy, well-educated parents, as well as good academic genes.

On the other hand, only 21% of children with less genetic proclivity and from low-income families attended university.

The researchers examined test results at key stages of the children’s education, data on their parents’ work and education, and genome-wide polygenic scoring to examine the effects of inherited genetic differences.

The study’s lead author, Professor Sophie von Stumm of the University of York in the United Kingdom, stated that their research captured “the effects of both nature and nurture.”

Growing up with privilege can also have a negative “protective effect,” she said, adding, “Having a genetic makeup that makes you more inclined to education does make a child from a disadvantaged background more likely to go to university, but not as likely as a child with a lower genetic propensity from a more advantaged background.”

Scientists can now predict at birth who will have academic success|bigthink

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