- Professor Robert PlominKing's College London
- Dr Kathryn AsburyUniversity of York
This study aims to identify specific environmental factors that influence achievement, well-being and decision-making during the educational transition at age 16, when young people complete their final compulsory examinations and move on to further education, training, employment or unemployment.
Behavioural genetic research has taught us that the environments that make most difference to achievement and well-being are those not shared by children growing up in the same family. The sharpest tool for identifying these non-shared environments, and controlling for the effect of genes, involves looking at differences between identical twins.
In this study, the researchers will contact a large sample of adolescent identical twins (3,375 pairs) with a questionnaire regarding educationally relevant differences between them. The questionnaire answers will be used to identify 100 highly discordant pairs. The research team will then conduct in-depth telephone interviews with the twins and their parents about differences in experience that may have led to differences in outcome.
As a longer term goal, the project aims to use hypotheses generated from these interviews to design a measure of non-shared environmental influence on achievement and well-being. After feasibility and pilot testing, this measure will be administered to a sample of 1,000 non-identical twin pairs.
- Public report - Understanding and influencing pupils' choices as they prepare to leave school.NuffieldPublicReport.pdf1.13MB 01 February 17
- Executive summary - Understanding and influencing pupils' choices as they prepare to leave school.NuffieldExecutiveSummary.pdf358.52KB 01 February 17
- Nonshared environmental influences on academic achievement at age 16. A qualitative hypothesis-generating monozygotic-twin differences study.https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/233285841667359605 October 16
- Twins show success at school is not just down to genes - The Conversation website.https://theconversation.com/twins-show-success-at-school-is-not-just-down-to-genes-2237307 February 14