Educational attainment could not be predicted by students’ genetic data, research finds

A new study out by the University of Bristol suggests that students’ genetic data cannot predict educational attainment with certainty. As a result, the findings caution the use of genetically personalized curriculum or teachings. The findings appeared in the peer-reviewed journal eLife.

“The increasing predictive power of polygenic scores for education has led to their promotion by some as a potential tool for genetically informed policy,” the study highlights. “How accurately polygenic scores predict an individual pupil’s educational performance conditional on other phenotypic data is however not well understood.”

For the study, the research group probed if predictability of educational attainment was possible through the examination of a student’s DNA. The genetic data and academic test results of 3,500 children born in the United Kingdom were analyzed by researchers.

“This revealed that the genetic data did not predict how the children would perform throughout their time at school as accurately as more general information about their family background and other socioeconomic factors,” the findings state.

Based on their assessment of available genetic scores, researchers concluded with no accurate way of predicting how well a student would do on academic tests.

“More research is needed on larger groups of children from a broader range of backgrounds, but it is unclear whether a student’s DNA will ever be useful for tailoring their education,” the research group concluded.

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