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Shridhar Jayanthi

The IQ trap: how the study of genetics could transform education

"That helps presumably to explain why those with left-leaning inclinations, such as Plomin and Asbury, want to see our understanding of genes and intelligence used to level the playing field by applying a knowledge of children’s genetic potential to tailor their educational regimes, rather than persisting with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Toby Young, on the other hand, rejects such notions and favours a sink-or-swim approach that will (he believes) let the most able rise to the top: a philosophy far more suited to the instincts of the right. The correct approach, he argues, is simply to introduce “all children to the best that has been thought and said” and teach them “to value logic and reason”. And, one supposes, to pull their socks up."


"Plomin, Asbury, Smith-Woolley and their co-workers – Toby Young is a co-author on the paper too – have recently caused a stir with another demonstration of how genetic analysis may inform educational practice. Using GPSs from nearly 5,000 pupils, the report assesses how exam results from different types of school – non-selective state, selective state grammar, and private – are correlated with gene-based estimates of ability for the different pupil sets. The results might offer pause for thought among parents stumping up eyewatering school fees: the distribution of exam results at age 16 could be almost wholly explained by heritable differences, with less than 1 per cent being due to the type of schooling received. In other words, as far as academic achievement is concerned, selective schools seem to add next to nothing to the inherent abilities of their pupils."

This is not what that paper says. That paper controls for everything INCLUDING SOCIAL ECONOMIC STATUS to get to less than 1%. The biggest factor is not genetics, but "prior achievement." So, while it does say the education system isn't that significant in teaching kids, it DOES NOT SAY that genetics is the limiting factor.