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G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement

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Abstract

G is for Genes shows how a dialogue between geneticists and educationalists can have beneficial results for the education of all children-and can also benefit schools, teachers, and society at large. Draws on behavioral genetic research from around the world, including the UK-based Twins' Early Development Study (TEDS), one of the largest twin studies in the world. Offers a unique viewpoint by bringing together genetics and education, disciplines with a historically difficult relationship. Shows that genetic influence is not the same as genetic determinism and that the environment matters at least as much as genes. Designed to spark a public debate about what naturally-occurring individual differences mean for education and equality.
... Despite consistent results from behavior genetic research (Plomin et al., 2016), and the pace of educational genomic research over the past five years, a gap remains between the findings of genetic research and educational practice and policy (Asbury & Wai, 2020;. A growing body of work argues that increasing knowledge about the findings of genetics research amongst teachers and educational policymakers will have largely beneficial effects (Asbury, 2015;Asbury & Plomin, 2014;Erbeli, 2019;Grigorenko, 2007;Kovas et al., 2016;Thomas et al., 2015). Proposed benefits include the potential for more precise evaluations of educational interventions depending on genetic risk (Harden & Koellinger, 2020), the possibility of personalized education (Grigorenko, 2007), and the potential to identify risk of learning disabilities much earlier in childhood development than is currently possible (Latham, 2017). ...
... The lack of research into the perceptions of teachers when learning (dis)abilities or behaviors are said to be genetic in origin is thus a considerable gap when making recommendations to increase knowledge of genetics among the teaching workforce (e.g. Asbury & Plomin, 2014;Crosswaite & Asbury, 2018;van Dijk et al., 2021). ...
... Careful and ongoing translational work aimed at the teaching workforce (e.g. Asbury & Plomin, 2014;Byrne et al., 2020;van Dijk et al., 2021) can then be leveraged to mitigate against the possible negative misinterpretations and reinforce the positive consequences of genetic explanations for student ability, ideally resulting in improved teacher practices and schooling systems that support children across the spectrum of ability and behavior. ...
Preprint
Decades of educational genetics research has highlighted that differences in academic achievement are partly explained by genetic variation between individuals. Consequently, there is ongoing discussion about whether genetic influences on educationally-related traits should be more widely acknowledged in schools and communicated specifically to teachers. Nonetheless, there is little research on how teachers might interpret such information, and how it might alter their perceptions of the students they teach, or their teaching practice. In this review we draw on the mixed blessings model proposed by Haslam and Kvaale (2015) as a framework for defining both positive and negative repercussions of disseminating the findings of educational genetic research to teachers. We discuss research examining teacher perceptions of student ability and behavior, and findings outlining perceptions of psychological disorders when genetic explanations are invoked. We conclude by proposing new directions for research designed to better understand interpretations of genetic information in school contexts.
... Still others promote a far broader approach to precision education. They envision it as an opportunity to (some day) offer a genomically-informed, individually-tailored educational plan for all children (Rothstein 2007;Asbury and Plomin 2013). These scholars hope that PRS will be more informative than monogenic testing for identification and response to behavioral traits that are associated with educational outcomes (Belsky et al. 2016;Plomin and von Stumm 2018), allowing for a remodeling of the current education system into one in which children with a range of behavioral and learning abilities would benefit from genomically tailored interventions (Asbury and Plomin 2013;Asbury 2015). ...
... They envision it as an opportunity to (some day) offer a genomically-informed, individually-tailored educational plan for all children (Rothstein 2007;Asbury and Plomin 2013). These scholars hope that PRS will be more informative than monogenic testing for identification and response to behavioral traits that are associated with educational outcomes (Belsky et al. 2016;Plomin and von Stumm 2018), allowing for a remodeling of the current education system into one in which children with a range of behavioral and learning abilities would benefit from genomically tailored interventions (Asbury and Plomin 2013;Asbury 2015). ...
Article
Background: The philosophical debate about the roles of nature versus nurture in human flourishing is not new. But the rise of precision education-a growing field of research that encourages the use of genetic data to inform educational trajectory and interventions to better meet student needs-has renewed historical and ethical concerns. A major worry is that "genetic hype" may skew public perceptions toward a deterministic perception of the child's educational trajectory, regardless of the child's capacities, and underestimation of environmental factors affecting educational outcomes. We tested this hypothesis with parents and adults from the general public in the US. Methods: A newly developed computerized implicit association test (IAT) to assess automatic associations between genetics or environments and student behaviors that are associated with educational achievement was administered to samples of parents of children below 21 years old (n = 450) and adults from the general public (n = 419). The samples were representative of the adult US population and adjusted to oversample Black/African American participants. An overall D score for participants' IATs (range: [-2, 2]) was calculated on the basis of the speed of participants' responses. Results: The mean IAT score for both samples indicated stronger association between the quality of being a good student and environment rather than genetics (parents: mean=-0.146, t = -6.56, p < 0.001; general public: mean = -0.249, t = -9.45, p < 0.0001). Younger participants from the general public showed a stronger association between genetics and educational success than middle-aged participants (β = -0.301, p = 0.006). Conclusion: The views of parents and the general public on behavioral genetics and education are complex but call for investment in creating educational environments that are supportive of student success. Future research is needed to understand differences across age groups and to explore views of other stakeholders involved in determining children's educational trajectories about the roles of nature versus nurture in precision education.
... This and similar theories (e.g., investment theory; Cattell, 1987) help to explain the fact that genes are multiplied by the environment (Ford, Mauss, Troy, Smolen, & Hankin, 2014). Based on evidence revealing links among anxiety, foreign language learning, and mindsets (e.g., Boudreau, MacIntyre, & Dewaele, 2018) and showing the effect of interaction between genes and environment on individuals' behaviors (e.g., Asbury & Plomin, 2014), it seems reasonable to argue that the effects of foreign language anxiety on EFL PTs' task performance could be deeper than expected, via changes in epigenetic activity, and that this could on the degree of difficulty and hence stress the teacher experiences. ...
... Practically, the current results clearly suggest that EFL teacher educators and policymakers should be aware that the potential effects of the EFL learning environment to boost PTs' state-anxiety may have significant consequences for the activation of epigenetic activity that will considerably affect task performance. Recent arguments on the personalization of teaching and learning (see Asbury & Plomin, 2014) suggest that "genetic influence on exposure to particular environments and experiences and on the links between a child's environment and their behavior-supports a push for genuine and widespread personalization of teaching and learning" (Asbury, Rimfeld, & Krapohl, 2017, p. 76). The present results clearly support these arguments by suggesting that the personalization of teaching and learning requires teachers and teacher educators to recognize the fact that learning more or less requires them to consider the reciprocal relationships between characteristics of learning environments that are likely to arouse particular emotions and cognitions (e.g., PTs'/students' mindsets) as they potentially affect epigenetic activity along with task performance. ...
Chapter
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This experimental study examined whether the language mindset of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) pre-service teachers significantly relates to their task-oriented state-anxiety, changes in epigenetic activity, and task performance on a translation task. A total of 52 EFL pre-service teachers were randomly assigned to either experimental groups (i.e., high incremental mindset-experimental group/low incremental mindset-experimental group) or control groups (i.e., high incremental mindset-control group/low incremental mindset-control group). The results revealed that pre-service teachers’ state-anxiety, microRNA activity (i.e., miR-34c, miR-22, and miR-204), and task performance were significantly, selectively related to each other in terms of language mindset, regardless of the effects of the demographic variables (e.g., gender). The results also showed that the interactions between state-anxiety, miR-22 activity, and task performance were only considerable for the pre-service teachers in the low incremental mindset-experimental group. The results suggest that teacher educators and policymakers should be aware of the fact that the English as a foreign language learning environment, which boosts pre-service teachers’ task-oriented state-anxiety, may have significant consequences in terms of stimulating changes in epigenetic activity, which, in turn, may significantly affect their task performance.
... Polygenic scores that account for a proportion (~10%; ( Lee et al., 2018 ) of heritability allow the identifi cation of individuals with extreme (very high or very low) scores, which may in turn be of practical use in an educational setting. For example-as has been suggested elsewhere-polygenic scores for educational attainment could be used to identify children who might be prone to learning or behavioral diffi culties long before the emergence of overt cognitive or behavioral symptoms (see Asbury & Plomin, 2014). This would provide parents and teachers with the opportunity to allocate additional support and resources, put early interventions in place, or simply monitor the child more closely before diffi culties arise. ...
... Examples of human 'behaviours' are such things as personality, intelligence, artistic interests and the chances of developing a psychiatric illness. With regard to school performance, a thorough summary of the argument that human genetics plays an important role is provided by Asbury and Plomin's (2014) G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement and Plomin's (2018) Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are. Robert Plomin is one of the long-running advocates of the view that genetics plays a central role in our characteristics. ...
Article
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This article examines the impact that an 'epistemically insightful' approach to informal science learning can have on students' attitudes, aspirations and perceptions of STEM subjects. It uses interim findings from a research and outreach project, including sustained Saturday activity programmes for ages 14-16 and residential summer schools for ages 15-19, designed to create confident scholars who can engage with difficult philosophical questions raised by current technological advances. The Inspiring Minds project at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK, delivers informal science learning in schools and informal settings based on an epistemic insight-led approach to STEM outreach and education. This is available Open Access through the Journal https://www.ase.org.uk/resources/school-science-review/issue-378
... The OECD's PISA study is essentially a blank slate approach. The OECD and its numerous experts appear unaware of, or decided to ignore, Rowe's (1994) The Limits of Family Influence, Harris's (2009) The Nurture Assumption, Pinker's (2011) The Blank Slate and Asbury and Plomin's (2014) G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement and the associated large academic literatures. An exception from the OECD (2018, p. 156) is a text box of less than a page entitled 'Can genes predict educational attainment?', which after citing several dated studies leaves the question open (OECD, 2018, p. 156). ...
Article
Students’ socioeconomic status (SES) is central to much research and policy deliberation on educational inequalities. However, the SES model is under severe stress for several reasons. SES is an ill‐defined concept, unlike parental education or family income. SES measures are frequently based on proxy reports from students; these are generally unreliable, sometimes endogenous to student achievement, only low to moderately intercorrelated, and exhibit low comparability across countries and over time. There are many explanations for SES inequalities in education, none of which achieves consensus among research and policy communities. SES has only moderate effects on student achievement, and its effects are especially weak when considering prior achievement, an important and relevant predictor. SES effects are substantially reduced when considering parent ability, which is causally prior to family SES. The alternative cognitive ability/genetic transmission model has far greater explanatory power; it provides logical and compelling explanations for a wide range of empirical findings from student achievement studies. The inadequacies of the SES model are hindering knowledge accumulation about student performance and the development of successful policies. Context and implications Rationale for this study This review was written in response to the disconnect between the literature surrounding student achievement studies, and the cognitive psychology and behavioural genetic academic literatures. It is well‐established that student achievement is closely related to cognitive ability and both have sizable genetic components, findings largely ignored in achievement studies. This review’s aim is for more considered responses to socioeconomic inequalities in student achievement by both researchers and policymakers. Why the new findings matter The review provides overwhelming evidence that much of the current thinking about SES and student achievement is mistaken. Implications for researchers and policymakers The current emphasis on SES is misleading and wastes considerable human and financial resources that could much better be utilized. The focus should be on student performance ensuring that low achievers have rewarding educational and occupational careers, and raising the overall skill levels of students, not on the nebulous, difficult to measure, concept of SES, which is only moderately associated with achievement. This review was written in response to the disconnect between the literature surrounding student achievement studies, and the cognitive psychology and behavioural genetic academic literatures. It is well‐established that student achievement is closely related to cognitive ability and both have sizable genetic components, findings largely ignored in achievement studies. This review’s aim is for more considered responses to socioeconomic inequalities in student achievement by both researchers and policymakers. The review provides overwhelming evidence that much of the current thinking about SES and student achievement is mistaken. The current emphasis on SES is misleading and wastes considerable human and financial resources that could much better be utilized. The focus should be on student performance ensuring that low achievers have rewarding educational and occupational careers, and raising the overall skill levels of students, not on the nebulous, difficult to measure, concept of SES, which is only moderately associated with achievement.
... Nonetheless such recommendations are made. One of the recurrent themes of educational behavior genetics is the idea that understanding the genetic etiology of traits will lead to improved interventions (Shero et al., 2021), re-design of school systems (Asbury & Plomin, 2014), and personalized education (Kovas et al., 2016). Such claims, however, elide the fuzziness of interpretation inherent in behavior genetics. ...
Article
Uchiyama et al. rightly consider how cultural variation may influence estimates of heritability by contributing to environmental sources of variation. We disagree, however, with the idea that generalisable estimates of heritability are ever a plausible aim. Heritability estimates are always context-specific, and to suggest otherwise is to misunderstand what heritability can and cannot tell us.
... Les différentes théories d'apprentissage ont des racines profondes dans le passé. Les théoriciens essayent, durant des siècles et des siècles, de répondre à cette fameuse question « how we know what we know ?» (Asbury & Plomin, 2014). Si nous ouvrons les archives de l'histoire, nous constatons qu'il y a deux paradigmes opposés sur les origines de la connaissance : l'empirisme et le rationalisme (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). ...
Thesis
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La présente recherche vise à identifier les facteurs qui influencent l’acquisition des concepts de l’électricité chez les lycéens du Tronc Commun Sciences dans le contexte du système éducatif marocain. En se basant sur ces facteurs et afin de contribuer à l’amélioration de l’acquisition de ces concepts, nous proposons quelques solutions opérationnelles. Pour atteindre cet objectif, nous adoptons une méthodologie mixte qui combine le quantitatif et le qualitatif. Les principaux résultats sont présentés sous formes d’articles. Chaque article vise un objectif spécifique de recherche. Dans le premier article, nous avons étudié sur le terrain les facteurs qui entravent l’acquisition des concepts de l’électricité chez les lycéens marocains. Le deuxième article montre les conséquences du manque des activités expérimentales sur l’apprentissage des concepts électriques. Les résultats du troisième article ont montré que les enseignants des sciences physiques du secondaire ont besoins d’une formation continue à distance axée sur l’intégration des TIC. Pour ce faire, nous avons proposé dans le quatrième article la structure et le scénario général de cette formation continue. Le cinquième article propose une solution pour remédier au problème du manque des activités expérimentales dans les laboratoires marocains. Pour opérationnaliser cette solution, nous avons élaboré, dans le sixième article, un scénario d’intégration du simulateur PSPICE en présence de la démarche d’investigation. Le septième article questionne les prés requis « informatique » nécessaires des lycéens marocains pour utiliser le simulateur PSPICE dans leurs processus d’apprentissage. Les résultats du huitième article montrent une perception générale positive de l’effet de la simulation sur la motivation des apprenants. Cette recherche, première en son genre au Maroc, apporte de nouvelles données sur l’enseignement de l’électricité dans le cycle secondaire qualifiant. Sa contribution originale est de mieux comprendre les obstacles qui gênent l’enseignement de l’électricité. Elle offre également des solutions opérationnelles à ces obstacles.
... The SSGAC has positioned itself as a leading consortium for genomic education science. Another key figure is behavioural geneticist Robert Plomin, co-author of G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement (Plomin & Asbury, 2013). Like the SSGAC, Plomin has extensively studied the links between genes and attainment using 'genome-wide association studies' (GWAS) and 'polygenic scoring' (GPS). ...
... Par ailleurs, l'omniprésence de facteurs génétiques en éducation accentue l'idée d'un modèle d'apprentissage actif à l'école (Asbury & Plomin, 2013). En fait, l'éducation va bien au-delà de ce que les enfants apprennent passivement en classe; les enfants participent activement à la sélection, la ...
Thesis
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Number knowledge and skills (NKS), the conceptual and procedural understanding of whole numbers, predicts later scholastic achievement. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the NKS, its antecedents in early childhood, and its predictive validity to later math achievement. Children’s NKS was assessed four times at regular intervals between the ages 4 and 7 years in a large, representative population-based sample. Developmental trajectories of NKS were established for 1597 children. Four different groups of preschoolers were identified. About 10% of the children belonged to a trajectory of constantly and significantly lower performance compared with the other trajectories. These children were compared with others on their mathematics achievement at ages 8 and 10, and were also evaluated with respect to several features of their family environment at 5, 18 and 30 months, as well as their cognitive skills at age 41 months. The results showed significant differences between the trajectories of NKS with respect to later math achievement in elementary school, with the low trajectory-group remaining low throughout these years. The onset and developmental course of low NKS were associated with low household income and father educational background, low children’s early cognitive development, and more specifically, weak visual-spatial skills and memory span. Children with low cognitive abilities and poor living condition are at risk of low NKS profile from late preschool to school entry, and therefore, deserve special attention to alleviate later mathematic difficulties. Moreover, genetic multivariate analysis at ages 5, 7, and 10-12 years showed that shared environmental factors between twins of the same family (e.g. sharing the same home environment) mainly explained individual variations in preschool NKS, with increased heritability with time – genetic factors play the dominant role in later math achievement, suggesting different mechanisms in math-related tasks over the years. However, these mechanisms were similar for boys and girls. Genetic factors accounted for continuity from preschool NKS to late primary math achievement, but also explained specific variations in mathematics achievement, which suggest activation of new genes relevant to mathematics in late primary school years. The shared and non-shared environmental factors involved in preschool NKS were carried over to mathematics achievement, with no additional age-specific effect after the preschool period. Altogether, the results of this thesis highlight the preschool age as an optimum window for prevention and intervention of math difficulties. Given this, screening for early NKS and math difficulties should be afforded before school entry in order to provide additional support as soon as difficulties emerge in this area.
... It is also being suggested that DNA changes may be observed in response to the childhood environment (McDade et al., 2017). In any case, the current scholarly wisdom holds that the "gene-environment interaction" influences the development of a child (Heckman, 2013;Rutter, 2006;Asbury & Plomin, 2014;Spector, 2012). ...
Article
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Piaget's conservation concept still influences many disciplines such as pedagogy and psychology. It is said that this idea is difficult for children to acquire before they are 6 years old if Piaget’s task methods are adhered to. This study aims to verify whether the acquisition of the conservation concept (substance, weight, and volume) can be accelerated through an intentional environmental change (the setting of play related to conservation accompanied by the development of affection with parent). To this end, a single case study was conducted on a 3-year-old child. Specifically, monthly retention tasks (and related content) were executed in the form of a quiz game. The results of the experiment suggested that the conservation concept may be obtained by 3-year-old children. Hence, it may be asserted that play related to conservation accompanied by the formation of attachment with a parent influences the early acquisition of the conservation concepts of substance, weight, and volume.
... Analogous to "precision medicine"-which involves tailoring patients' medical care to their genetic profiles-"precision education" would involve tailoring students' educational curricula to their polygenic scores for traits and outcomes relevant to schooling, such as EA, IQ, or mathematical ability. Asbury and Plomin (2014) suggest that human behavior genetics demonstrates that not all students are equal in genetic potential, and that genetic tests could be used to identify students at risk to struggle in school: ...
Article
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Polygenic scores for educational attainment and related variables, such as IQ and “mathematical ability” are now readily available via direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies. Some researchers are even proposing the use of genetic tests in educational settings via “precision education,” in which individualized student education plans would be tailored to polygenic scores. The potential psychosocial impacts of polygenic scores for traits and outcomes relevant to education, however, have not been assessed. In online experiments, we asked participants to imagine hypothetical situations in which they or their classmates had recently received polygenic scores for educational attainment. Participants prompted to answer multi-choice questions as though they had received their own low-percentile score, compared to a control condition, scored significantly lower on measures of self-esteem and of self-perceived competence, academic efficacy, and educational potential. Similarly, those asked to evaluate a hypothetical classmate as though the classmate had received a low-percentile score attributed significantly lower academic efficacy and educational potential, compared to a control condition. Through possible mechanisms of stigma and self-fulfilling prophecies, our results highlight the potential psychosocial harms of exposure to low-percentile polygenic scores for educational attainment.
... Examples of human 'behaviours' are such things as personality, intelligence, artistic interests and the chances of developing a psychiatric illness. With regard to school performance, a thorough summary of the argument that human genetics plays an important role is provided by Asbury and Plomin's (2014) G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement and Plomin's (2018) Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are. Robert Plomin is one of the long-running advocates of the view that genetics plays a central role in our characteristics. ...
Article
Full-text available
School genetics is changing. Nowadays, students are more likely to be introduced to the idea that many characteristics of organisms, including those of humans, are not determined by the actions of just one or two genes but result from interactions between the products of many genes and the environments of each organism. This article asks whether there is a place in school science for teaching about the genetics of inheritance. There are arguments in favour of such teaching but also risks. This article asks whether there is a place in school science for teaching about the genetics of inheritance. Biologists have known since the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection that inherited variation plays an important role in the various characteristics exhibited by living organisms. Darwin argued that this applies to behaviours as well as to structures and he reasoned that features such as intelligence had also evolved over time as a result of the benefits they had for individuals. The question then arises whether we should teach about the inheritance of intelligence in schools.
... The four developmental profiles represented in the classes identified are all characterized by interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Plomin (80) suggests that "genes are the major systematic force in children's development, " going on to discuss how environmental factors influence development in ways that are not systematic but individual and contextualized; in this view the continuity of development is genetic and change is environmental (81). Consequently, intervention strategies focused on shifting developmental trajectories should first and foremost consider the environmental factors most likely to change and impact language abilities. ...
Article
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Background: Screening and surveillance of development are integral to ensuring effective early identification and intervention strategies for children with vulnerabilities. However, not all developmental skills have reliable screening processes, such as early language ability. Method: We describe how a set of early life factors used in a large, prospective community cohort from Australia are associated with language abilities across the preschool years, and determine if either an accumulation of risk factors or a clustering of risk factors provide a feasible approach to surveillance of language development in preschool children. Results: There were 1,208 children with a 7-year language outcome. The accumulation of early life factors increased the likelihood of children having low language skills at 7-years. Over a third of children with typical language skills (36.6%) had ≤ two risks and half of the children with low language (50%) had six or more risks. As the number of factors increases the risk of having low language at 7-years increases, for example, children with six or more risks had 17 times greater risk, compared to those with ≤ two risks. Data collected from 1,910 children at 8- to 12-months were used in the latent class modeling. Four profile classes (or groups) were identified. The largest group was developmentally enabled with a supportive home learning environment (56.2%, n = 1,073). The second group was vulnerable, both developmentally and in their home learning environment (31.2%, n = 596); the third group was socially disadvantaged with a vulnerable home learning environment (7.4%, n = 142); the final group featured maternal mental health problems and vulnerable child socio-emotional adjustment (5.2%, n = 99). Compared to developmentally enabled children, the risk of low language at 7-years was greater for children in the three other groups. Conclusion: The cumulative and cluster risk analyses demonstrate the potential to use developmental surveillance to identify children within the first years of life who are at risk of language difficulties. Importantly, parent-child interaction and the home learning environment emerged as a consistent cluster. We recommend they be adopted as the common focus for early intervention and universal language promotion programs.
... As the origin of learners' learning style is investigated, Asbury et al., (2014) and Dunn & Griggs (1998, cited in Coffield at al. 2004 indicate that learning style concerns students that have basically the same potential, biological and developmental set of characteristics in terms of education, and yet certain teaching methods may be excellent for some learners but unsatisfactory for others. Thus, any kind of learning style may be effected by learners' genes and their genetic make up, their learning practices, cultural background and the community they live in it. ...
... Therefore, six neuromyths presented in either the introduction or method sections of Dekker et al. (2012) were selected. These neuromyths were as follows: individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (Learning_Style), people use just 10% of their brains (use 10%), environments rich in stimuli improve the brains of preschool children (Rich_Environment), people are divided into left-and right-brained thinkers (Hemi-spheric_difference), there are multiple intelligences (MI), and specific genes influence the learning process for specific topics and behaviors (Genes, see Asbury & Plomin, 2014). ...
Article
Teachers often face situations that require them to apply knowledge about the mind and brain to education. Past studies have indicated that even if teachers show interest in cognitive neuroscience, they show high rates of adhesion to neuromyths. In the most commonly used questionnaire, however, respondents do not compare neuromyths and correct information based on neuroscience. The present study proposes a multiple‐choice questionnaire that presents scenarios occurring in school. The most commonly used and the new questionnaire were administered to 174 Italian teachers. In the most commonly used questionnaire, teachers generally had the same likelihood of accepting neuromyths as the literature reports. In the new questionnaire, the levels of both general knowledge and beliefs about neuromyths were significantly lower. Moreover, it suggests that teachers' adhesion to neuromyths in realistic situations does not match their explicit beliefs. Thus, the present research proposes that the use of questions based on feasible scenarios is a useful method to assess neuromyths.
... Their goal was to bring this body of findings to the attention of educational professionals and to explore its implications for policy. Theirs is one of several recent publications with broadly similar goals (e.g., Asbury & Plomin, 2014;. ...
Article
Asbury and Wai (Journal of School Choice, 2019) perform a valuable service by summarizing much available behavior–genetic research on academic achievement. However they consider that no specific policies stem from the research body at this time. Here we do propose a policy based on some of our research using twins, namely that available funding for students struggling with learning to read be targeted to them individually rather than allocated to schools per se. We briefly canvass some practical issues, such as the variety of funding mechanisms, best-practice intervention techniques, and identification of struggling readers. We also outline a general research strategy for uncovering factors contributing to educational attainment that takes behavior-genetic research as its starting point and drills down from there, and advocate including genetically-sensitive methods in a growing list of quantitative research techniques in education.
... Children's earliest experiences provide the momentum for substantial development and growth and lay a foundation for life-long learning (Phillips & Shonkoff, 2000). These early experiences are vastly different depending on the environments in which children live, grow, and learn, and can be influenced by relatively small shifts in the actions and interactions of parents, carers and educators (Asbury & Plomin, 2013). ...
Article
Early childhood education and care programmes provide opportunities to enhance children’s learning and development, especially when high-quality learning experiences and educator-child interactions are embedded within them. However, the quality of early childhood education programmes varies greatly. Quality in early childhood education and care is conceptualised in three domains: structural, process and system. Understanding how to drive quality improvements in early childhood education and care relies on clear, consistent evidence concerning each of these domains, however, the current literature is not comprehensive. This scoping review maps the extent and consistency of the research literature in each domain of quality to identify knowledge gaps and inform future research. Through a search of the peer-reviewed literature, 85 meta-analyses and systematic reviews meeting our inclusion criteria were identified. We found a wide variation in the number of included studies in each domain and sub-domain of quality. We found the greatest number of meta-analyses and systematic reviews related to programmes, interventions, and curricula (process quality) and professional development and support (structural quality). The literature included in this scoping review is heterogeneous and of varying methodological quality, with inconsistent or contradictory findings. The research is most consistent in relation to pedagogy, professional development and support, and programmes, interventions, and curricula (process quality) and learning environments (structural quality). Interactions between the different domains of quality are complex and future research should focus on the associations between different features of quality in early childhood education programmes and practices that are critical to implementing successful continuous improvement initiatives. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
... 111 One part of this is acknowledging that CA, as well as educational attainment, is to a substantial extent inherited and has a polygenetic basis, and at the same time understanding that behaviour can be modified to a substantial extent by the environment. 52,55,199 Seeing that there is support for both of the nature and the nurture positions with respect to CR -and that they can co-exist and cross-pollinate. Post MI healthcare would likely be helped by such research, which could inform how to most effectively conduct, say, patient education post MI, because it will likely need to be different across individuals due to both modifiable and fixed factors. ...
Thesis
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This thesis is compiled from four studies dealing with the prediction of myocardial infarction (MI) and some associated risk behaviours post MI. Study 1 extends the field of possible psychosocial stress-triggering of MI to Sweden, and to the phenomenon of temporal crests and troughs in national MI rates. These findings are in the present thesis integrated into a more comprehensive theoretical framework than provided by previous studies. By controlling for different confounders, analysis in subgroups, and more, the probable effect of psychosocial stress on the triggering of MI producing slight oscillations in daily MI rates at different temporal cycles was supported. Study 2 extends the existing literature of cognitive epidemiology to secondary preventive cardiology. Males with higher cognitive ability (CA), as assessed at mandatory military conscription in young adulthood, were found to be more adherent to their statin medication post MI, approximately 30 years later. The association is likely causal, given the fundamental importance of CA as a predictor for our individual ability to understand, plan, and execute everyday behaviour, including such health promoting behaviour as adhering to statin medication after MI. Study 3 continues the thesis thread of predicting clinically relevant health-promoting behaviour. It generated important hypotheses of what predicts adherence to internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) for symptoms of anxiety and/or depression after MI. In particular, the linguistic variables which were derived from what the patients actually wrote online to their ICBT therapist, predicted adherence. Using a flexible random forest model with a moderately sized sample, the aim was to handle a range of predictors and possible higher order effects in the relative strength estimation of these predictors. Study 4 presents the derivation and external validation of a new risk model, STOPSMOKE. Developed as a linear support vector machine with robust resampling, STOPSMOKE proved accurate in the unseen validation cohort for predicting one-year smoking abstinence at the start of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) post MI. STOPSMOKE predictions may inform the targeting of more elaborate interventions to high risk patients. Today, such intervention is not systematic as standard counselling does not account for the individual probability of future smoking abstinence failure. STOPSMOKE thus provides a novel real-world probabilistic basis for the risk of future smoking abstinence failure after MI. This basis may then be used by clinicians, patients, and organisations to tailor smoking intervention as best suited the particular individual or high-risk group. Implemented as part of a spectrum of models in a semi-automatic system, cost-effective tailored risk assessment could allow for augmented CR for future patients.
... Nonetheless such recommendations are made. One of the recurrent themes of educational behavior genetics is the idea that understanding the genetic etiology of traits will lead to improved interventions (Shero et al., 2021), redesign of school systems (Asbury & Plomin, 2014), and personalized education (Kovas et al., 2016). Such claims, however, elide the fuzziness of interpretation inherent in behavior genetics. ...
Article
We need better understanding of functional differences of behavioral phenotypes across cultures because cultural evolution (e.g., temporal changes in innovation within populations) is less important than culturally molded phenotypes (e.g., differences across populations) for understanding gene effects. Furthermore, changes in one behavioral domain likely have complex downstream effects in other domains, requiring careful parsing of phenotypic variability and functions.
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In this paper we begin to explore how knowledges being generated in bioscience might be brought into productive articulation with the Sociology of Education, considering the potential for emerging transdisciplinary, ‘biosocial’ approaches to enable new ways of researching and understanding pressing educational issues. In this paper, as in our current research, we take learning as our focus. Our work brings together collaborators from across fields: sociology of education; molecular biology and biochemistry; cognitive neuroscience; fMRI imaging; and EEG. Through the paper we explore the generative potential of an encounter between life sciences and sociology of education. Through consideration of the conceptual and methodological elements of our ‘Synchrony in Learning’ research and engagement with our pilot experimental approach, our research is suggesting that our central concept, learning, is undergoing metamorphosis, challenging us to understand learning as a phenomenon produced through the intra-action of a multiplicity of forces and processes.
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Personalized teaching practices can improve students' school performance. However, specific instruments to evaluate these practices in the Brazilian context couldn't be found. The main goal of this study was to construct and present validity evidence for the Teaching Practice Perception Scale (TPPS). Twenty-five items were crated and evaluated by 11 judges. The resulting 17-item scale was applied to 477 teachers via online form. Factorial analyzes identified two dimensions: 'Group' (α = .0,79) reflects group-oriented teaching practices; 'Personalization' (α = 0,88) refers to individual-oriented teaching practices, which explained 48,6% of the total variance. Teachers presented more group than individual-oriented practices. The TPPS presented evidences of content, face and construct validity and reliability, and is a potentially useful tool for assessing group and individual-oriented teaching practices.
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In this chapter, Witkowski speaks with Robert Plomin, who responds to the criticism of his book, Blueprint. Plomin, best known for his work in twin studies and behavior genetics, presents the attitude of environmentalist researchers to behavioral genetics and analyzes the myth of early childhood determinism. The interlocutors discuss clinical psychology, psychotherapy and the legitimacy of DSM diagnostic categories in the light of genetic research results. They discuss the persistent resistance of psychologists to these discoveries in the terms of Thomas Kuhn’s paradigmatic wars. Plomin also presents his view on the causes of and the ways of overcoming the crisis in psychology, mentioning specifically the case of Cyril Burt, the misuse of epigenetics and the validity of gender studies’ claims. The analysis of the achievements of psychology, the questions it faces and an overview of Plomin’s current research conclude this chapter.
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Despite intelligence research being among the most replicable bodies of empirical findings—a Rosetta stone across the social sciences—the communication of intelligence research with non-intelligence researchers and the public remains a challenge, especially given ongoing public controversies throughout the history of the field. Hunt argued that “we have a communication problem.” This article is a call for intelligence researchers to consider communication at multiple levels—communication with other intelligence researchers, communication with non-intelligence researchers, and communication with the public, defined here as policymakers, practitioners, students, and general readers. It discusses ongoing tensions between academic freedom and social responsibility and provides suggestions for thinking about communication and effective research translation and implementation of intelligence research from the frameworks of science and policy research communication. It concludes with some recommendations for effective communication and stresses the importance of incentivizing more scholars to responsibly seek to educate and engage with multiple publics about the science of intelligence.
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The relationship between PISA 2012 maths test scores and relative poverty was tested in a sample of 35 Italian and Spanish regions, together with a larger sample that included Australian, Belgian, and Canadian regions. The correlation between mean scores in mathematics, adjusted for students' socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and poverty rates is ‐−0.84 for the Italian and Spanish sample, and −0.68 for the complete sample. In the regressions, the effect of relative poverty on mean scores in mathematics is highly significant (p < 0.01), robust to different specifications, and independent from students' backgrounds and regional development levels. It is proposed that disparities in average scores in mathematics across regions depend on the shares of low-performing students which, in turn, depend on the degree of relative poverty within regions. The implications for the thesis according to which, in Italy and Spain, regional disparities in educational achievements reflect genetic differences in the IQ of populations are discussed.
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Polygenic scores are increasingly powerful predictors of educational achievement. It is unclear, however, how sets of polygenic scores, which partly capture environmental effects, perform jointly with sets of environmental measures, which are themselves heritable, in prediction models of educational achievement. Here, for the first time, we systematically investigate gene-environment correlation (rGE) and interaction (GxE) in the joint analysis of multiple genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS) and multiple environmental measures as they predict tested educational achievement (EA). We predict EA in a representative sample of 7,026 16-year-olds, with 20 GPS for psychiatric, cognitive and anthropometric traits, and 13 environments (including life events, home environment, and SES) measured earlier in life. Environmental and GPS predictors were modelled, separately and jointly, in penalized regression models with out-of-sample comparisons of prediction accuracy, considering the implications that their interplay had on model performance. Jointly modelling multiple GPS and environmental factors significantly improved prediction of EA, with cognitive-related GPS adding unique independent information beyond SES, home environment and life events. We found evidence for rGE underlying variation in EA (rGE = .38; 95% CIs = .30, .45). We estimated that 40% (95% CIs = 31%, 50%) of the polygenic scores effects on EA were mediated by environmental effects, and in turn that 18% (95% CIs = 12%, 25%) of environmental effects were accounted for by the polygenic model, indicating genetic confounding. Lastly, we did not find evidence that GxE effects significantly contributed to multivariable prediction. Our multivariable polygenic and environmental prediction model suggests widespread rGE and unsystematic GxE contributions to EA in adolescence.
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Práticas docentes personalizadas podem melhorar o desempenho escolar de estudantes. No entanto, não encontramos instrumentos específicos para avaliar estas práticas no contexto brasileiro. O objetivo deste estudo foi construir e apresentar evidências de validade da Escala de Percepção das Práticas Docentes (EPPD). Foram elaborados 25 itens avaliados por 11 juízes. A escala resultante com 17 itens foi aplicada a 477 professores, via formulário online. As análises fatoriais identificaram duas dimensões: Grupo (α = 0,79) reflete as práticas docentes dirigidas à turma; Personalização (α = 0,88) refere-se as práticas docentes dirigidas ao estudante individualmente, que explicaram 48,6% da variância. Os docentes apresentaram mais práticas para o grupo do que personalizadas. A EPPD apresentou evidências de validade e confiabilidade de conteúdo, face e construto e é uma ferramenta potencialmente útil para avaliar as práticas docentes voltadas para o grupo e para estudantes individualmente.
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Recent developments in genetics and neuroscience have led to increasing interest in biosocial approaches to social life. While today's biosocial paradigms seek to examine more fully the inextricable relationships between the biological and the social, they have also renewed concerns about the scientific study of race. Our review describes the innovative ways sociologists have designed biosocial models to capture embodied impacts of racism, but also analyzes the potential for these models normatively to reinforce existing racial inequities. First, we examine how concepts and measurements of difference in the postgenomic era have affected scientific knowledges and social practices of racial identity. Next, we assess sociological investigations of racial inequality in the biosocial era, including the implications of the biological disciplines’ move to embrace the social. We conclude with a discussion of the growing interest in social algorithms and their potential to embed past racial injustices in their predictions of the future.
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School structures, systems and processes, including assessment, are subjected to scrutiny. Their role as “host institutions” for the incorporation of the self and as sites for the production of individualising evidence is analysed. The effects of school practices (both pedagogic and social) on the child’s self and their families are also considered. We examine the impact of the incursion of the self into education on the schools and their personnel and the overall consequences of the intensification of the self. This includes a discussion of the different ways in which students and teachers have come to be known to themselves and to one another.
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Can genetic screening be used to personalize education for students? Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) screen an individual’s DNA for specific variations in their genome, and how said variations relate to specific traits. The variations can then be assigned a corresponding weight and summed to produce polygenic scores (PGS) for given traits. Though first developed for disease risk, PGS is now used to predict educational achievement. Using a novel simulation method, this paper examines if PGS could advance screening in schools, a goal of personalized education. Results show limited potential benefits for using PGS to personalize education for individual students. However, further analysis shows PGS can be effectively used alongside progress monitoring measures to screen for learning disability risk. Altogether, PGS is not useful in personalizing education for every child but has potential utility when used simultaneously with additional screening tools to help determine which children may struggle academically.
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Decades of educational genetics research have highlighted that differences in academic achievement are partly explained by genetic variation between individuals. Consequently, there is ongoing discussion about whether genetic influences on educationally related traits should be more widely acknowledged in schools and communicated specifically to teachers. Nonetheless, there is little research on how teachers might interpret such information, and how it might alter their perceptions of the students they teach or their teaching practice. In this review, we draw on the mixed blessings model proposed by Haslam and Kvaale, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2015, 24, 399–404, as a framework for defining both positive and negative repercussions of disseminating the findings of educational genetic research to teachers. We discuss research examining teacher perceptions of student ability and behavior and findings outlining perceptions of psychological disorders when genetic explanations are invoked. We conclude by proposing new directions for research designed to better understand interpretations of genetic information in school contexts. This review examines the range of possible interpretations that teachers might make when presented with information about the genetic basis of learning abilities. We propose an application of the mixed blessings model to inform expectations about both positive and negative consequences of disseminating genetic information in educational contexts. We argue that communication of genetic research findings should proceed cautiously, acknowledging both the potential benefits and difficulties of interpreting genetic research in education.
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Interpreting heritability estimates through the lens of cultural evolution presents two broad and interlinking problems for educational behavior genetics. First, the problem of interpreting high heritability of educational phenotypes as indicators of the genetic basis of traits, when these findings also reflect cultural homogeneity. Second, the problem of extrapolating from genetic research findings in education to policy and practice recommendations.
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While the predictive power of genetic information is not yet strong enough to apply to individuals in the classroom, this study aimed to explore how genetic information may be received in educational settings as a potentially important source of individual differences in academic achievement and learning difficulties. Focus group discussions with teachers and parents were analyzed using qualitative and linguistic methods. Results showed that teachers and parents had similar knowledge of and questions about genetic information and how it could be used in education; both expressed concerns regarding the ethics of its use and suggested other professionals that should be involved in decisions regarding genetic input in education. Parents' personal struggles to obtain appropriate diagnoses and support for their children with learning difficulties, however, added an emotional edge to their views. Families' direct experiences with educational systems, often adversarial, afford them an authority that should be acknowledged by policymakers. Although practical applications of genetic data to inform school classroom decision‐making are not yet possible because of lack of predictive power at the individual level, their eventual advent seems likely. Therefore, we conducted three focus groups with teachers and parents to gather their perspectives on the use of genetic information in educational systems. The data were analyzed using qualitative and linguistic approaches. Direct experience with children with learning disabilities impacts what teachers and parents need to know about genetics, influences the emotions they bring to the issue, and inform their understanding of what professionals are required for the proper utilization of genetic information in educational settings.
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The task of English language and literacy education to define citizenship, and shape citizens, has rarely been more compelling or more challenging than it is today. Globally and nationally, our civic response to COVID-19 has catapulted us into a world where our rights as and responsibilities as citizens are being fundamentally re-negotiated at the same time as we come to rely on technologically mediated literate practice to connect a world that is more spatially and temporally separated than many of us have ever known it to be. We are challenged to remake our identities and commit to new kinds of personal and civic relationships—nationally and globally—as we try to navigate uncharted waters. Our focus here is on the role that literacy education plays in understanding and defining active citizenship in a turbulent context in which foundational literacy practices are transforming just as accepted understandings of active citizenship are under challenge. We direct our attention specifically to the distinctive role that literacy practice plays in the production of identities and relationships and consider new ways for literacy education to build active citizenship across the lifespan from early education through primary and secondary education through to workforce education.
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It is estimated that up to 70% of the risk of developing dyslexia and of the variability in reading abilities has a genetic origin. This chapter provides an overview of the different methods that have been used to pinpoint the specific genetic factors underlying such risk. Through a chronological perspective, it starts by describing the characterization of a few candidate genes which, for a long time, dominated the field and shaped theories around neuronal migration and cilia biology aimed at explaining dyslexia. The strong heritability for dyslexia provided the basis for molecular genetics studies aimed at pinpointing specific genes. In the last 15 years, genome wide‐association studies have become the gold standard method for identifying the genetic factors underlying common multifactorial conditions like dyslexia. The focus of statistical modeling of molecular genetic data has shifted from the analysis of individual markers to the aggregation of multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms using polygenic risk score analysis.
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Psychometricians working on International Large Scale Assessments (ILSAs) typically specify latent ability factors with distinct and correlated constructs for test domains, such as reading, mathematics and science. A construct for general ability is not specified. However, several country-specific studies conclude that ILSAs largely reflect general ability. We extend such studies and examine the dimensionality of the 2018 PISA assessment in 33 OECD countries examining three models: three-dimensional IRT model, the bifactor IRT model and the bifactor (S-1) IRT model. A four-tiered approach was adopted. First, models were compared using an information criterion (AIC). Second, the correlations from the multidimensional model were estimated to assess in which countries the three dimensions are sufficient discriminant validity. Third, a variety of bifactor indices were utilized to establish the explanatory power and reliabilities of the latent dimensions generated by the three models. Finally, the statistical relationships between the latent factors derived from the three models and educationally relevant covariates were estimated. The bifactor model fits the data better than standard multidimensional model or S-1 model in every country investigated. The correlations in the correlated factor model are above 0.8 in all 33 countries. The symmetrical bifactor general ability model shows that 80%, or more, of the common variance in student responses to the PISA instruments is accounted for by a general ability factor. On average, 27% of variance in the mathematics items is independent of the general factor and can be attributed to a specific mathematics ability factor. The respective estimates for reading are 12% and science is 17%. Relationships for selected covariates with the PISA domains follow the same pattern as general ability in the bifactor model.
Article
Research at the intersection of social science and genomics, ‘sociogenomics’, is transforming our understanding of the interplay between genomics, individual outcomes and society. It has interesting and maybe unexpected implications for education research and policy. Here we review the growing sociogenomics literature and discuss its implications for educational researchers and policymakers. We cover key concepts and methods in genomic research into educational outcomes, how genomic data can be used to investigate social or environmental effects, the methodological strengths and limitations of genomic data relative to other observational social data, the role of intergenerational transmission and potential policy implications. The increasing availability of genomic data in studies can produce a wealth of new evidence for education research. This may provide opportunities for disentangling the environmental and genomic factors that influence educational outcomes and identifying potential mechanisms for intervention.
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EN Recent years have seen a major growth of global interest in the biological basis of cognitive processes. Leading psychologists and neuroscientists have begun to come together to unlock the mystery of human cognition via widespread and coordinated efforts. The field educational neuroscience reflected this global trend as a highly regarded discussion platform, driven by the fact that neuroscience knowledge can be translated into education via multiple routes. However, an evidence-based discussion platform does not currently exist in Turkey, neither a field of practice. The present study aims to provide a glimpse about the extent of this gap. Consisting of two main subsections, the present study first reviews the current projects aiming to translate neuroscience knowledge into education. Then, the second section outlines the future prospects and renders the ways in which current neuroscience knowledge is pertinent to education in the context of neuromodulation. TR Bilişsel süreçlerin biyolojik temellerini ele alan çalışmalara olan ilgide küresel bir artış görülmektedir. Disiplinler arası platformlarda eğitimci, psikolog ve nörologlar yaygın ve koordineli çabalarla insan bilişinin gizemini çözmek için bir araya gelmektedir. Bu küresel ilginin bir yansıması olarak eğitim nörobilimi uygulama alanı ortaya çıkmış ve nörobilim alanında gelişen bilgi birikiminin eğitime nasıl transfer edilebileceğine ilişkin bir tartışma platformuna öncülük etme misyonunu yüklenmiştir. Ülkemizde henüz beyin araştırmaları ile eğitimsel çabaları sistematik biçimde birleştiren bir alan uygulaması mevcut değildir. Bu çalışma, bu açığın boyutları hakkında fikir vermeyi hedeflemektedir. İki bölümden oluşan makale ilk etapta güncel eğitim nörobilimi araştırmalarını ve alandaki gelişmeleri okuyuculara aktarmayı hedeflemektedir. İkinci bölüm, geleceğe odaklanmış öncül nörobilim araştırmalarını analiz etmekte ve bunların eğitime olan potansiyel etkilerini nöromodülasyon teknolojileri bağlamında tartışmaktadır.
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This chapter details how the brain develops as a constant interplay between biology and environment, reflecting one of this book’s main themes: the meaninglessness of the traditional nature-nurture binary. Research on the impact of electronic media on brain development and function is also discussed in this chapter. After consideration of the brain in older adults, this chapter ends with a brief summary of some recent advances in neurolinguistics.
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Ever since the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, biologists have accepted that inherited variation plays a central role in the evolution of characteristics exhibited by organisms. This means that just about everything of interest about humans has an inherited component. This is true of such educationally significant factors as general intelligence, reading ability and examination success, just as it is of such standard school science topics as eye colour, single-locus medical variants (sickle-cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, etc.) and height. However, the importance of genetics for educationally significant factors is easy to both misunderstand and overstate, and there is a risk that teaching about genetics in this area might have the opposite effect from what is intended, reinforcing misconceptions about genetic determinism and so retarding, rather than advancing social justice. I argue that the general public has not been well-served by much of the genetics they were taught while in school. Done well, school genetics teaching can not only provide students with a good understanding of inheritance, it has the potential to advance social justice. Such education can help students better understand issues to do with heritability, the historical misuses of genetics and the limitations of genetic determinism.
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This chapter presents a narrative inquiry on the life experiences of three Filipino families who belong to each representation of socioeconomic status. Furthermore, it unpacks the temporal, social, and geophysical or spatial elements of their narratives in relation to the disruptive effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their resources, access, and literacy practices. Subsequent to securing their consent, each family was subjected to an online recorded semi-structured interview where they shared their life experiences. The recorded responses were later transcribed and analyzed using Montero and Washington's lens in exploring narratives. The researchers ultimately provide collaborative narratives of the three families' experiences and theorize on the specific experiences of poor or low-income families against the experiences of the middle class and the rich or high-income families. The researchers end the chapter by offering a working definition of their concept called the double-dearth effect.
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“Situated in the era of the Anthropocene, this book volume recognizes the political urgency of re-envisioning science education with and for the community while dismantling the taken-for-granted deficit narratives of what science [education] is. Transcending disciplinary and geographical boundaries, the book calls us to reimagine science education in a more-than-human world, which places ecojustice, critical pedagogies, solidarity, and collectivity at the forefront.” —Lucy Avraamidou, Associate Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow, University of Groningen, The Netherlands “This inspiring collection showcases the kind of creative thinking-without-borders we would need to prepare our students to meet the challenges of the Anthropocene. It makes me wish I were back in grad school to begin my research career afresh with the help of the wonderful assortment of ideas, insights, and perspectives that this book so generously offers.” —Ajay Sharma, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, USA This open access edited volume invites transdisciplinary scholars to re-vision science education in the era of the Anthropocene. The collection assembles the works of educators from many walks of life and areas of practice together to help reorient science education toward the problems and peculiarities associated with the geologic times many call the Anthropocene. It has become evident that science education—the way it is currently institutionalized in various forms of school science, government policy, classroom practice, educational research, and public/private research laboratories—is ill-equipped and ill-conceived to deal with the expansive and urgent contexts of the Anthropocene. Paying homage to myopic knowledge systems, rigid state education directives, and academic-professional communities intent on reproducing the same practices, knowledges, and relationships that have endangered our shared world and shared presents/presence is misdirected. This volume brings together diverse scholars to reimagine the field in times of precarity. Maria F. G. Wallace is Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA. Jesse Bazzul is Associate Professor of Science and Environmental Education at the University of Regina, Canada. Marc Higgins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he is affiliated with the Faculty of Education’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). Sara Tolbert is Associate Professor of Science and Environmental Education at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand.
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Drawing on H. G. Wells’ visionary texts, social critique, and revolutionary insights, this chapter revisits and recontextualizes questions raised by Wells almost a century ago around the adequacy of science education curricula to grapple with the still unfolding Anthropocene. Exploring the technological advances in molecular biology that have occurred over the last twenty years, which have instigated an epistemological turn toward what many science studies scholars are calling the post-genomic era, this chapter situates current education research and policy debates within the post-genomic era through new research in the field of sociobiology. Conversely, drawing on the fundamental reconceptualization of inheritance that underlies genomic research in the post-genomic era, this chapter argues for a similar reconceptualization of intelligence, educational attainment, cognition, and learning. The chapter concludes by exploring the potential of a transnational and transknowledge extended synthesis within education, one that encourages critical examination of the impact of globalization, nationalism, and capitalism on science education and works to imagine how science education can be reformed, reimagined, and reconfigured to contribute to the radical actualization of a just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Article
Our argument in this brief contribution is that COVID-19 has brought the experience of education to a crisis with respect to its practices and the theories that inform it. The practice crisis is about the glaring inequalities in peoples' access to education. The theory crisis is about how we learn. Our contention is that our dominant cohort learning approaches fail to address the many differences children bring to the learning task. In response we make two key moves: the first is to restore the centrality of cognition in all processes of teaching and learning, and the second is to situate cognition in its full biopsychosocial complexity. With respect to the first move we begin our discussion of teaching and learning with a focus on cognition and particularly on its executive function component. We provide the explanation of what it is, and with that, we move to our second to show the importance of new learnings about epigenetics that explain the significance of the relationship between the biological and the social to the cognitive process.
Article
This paper utilizes the concept of ‘discriminate biopower’ to explore how advancements in social and behavioral genomics might inform the racially exclusionary nature of one of the most inequitable and academically coveted environments in American public education: gifted education. In its birth, gifted education became a mechanism for regulating the politics of race and equity in the American education system. Underpinning gifted education’s contested history is the conflation of Whiteness with exceptionalism and the proliferation of false genetic ideologies about biological differences between races. Genetics and education are re-intersecting today as social and behavioral genomics examine whether, how, and why genetic differences between individuals relate to differences in characteristics such as educational attainment or intelligence. This paper identifies three mechanisms through which social and behavioral genomics might be recruited for biopolitical governance strategies that maintain or exacerbate the racially exclusionary nature of gifted education: distractionism, determinism, and sociopolitical invisibility. Although these mechanisms are not predestined, researchers will need to employ proactive and socially responsible collaboration and communication to prevent genomics from normalizing racial exclusion in education.
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Abstract: The measurement of psychological constructs has changed significantly since the 1800s. On the one hand, psychological constructs such as intelligence, attitude, perception, personality, ability and success have been measured, and on the other hand, there have been important developments in measurement theories. These advances in psychometrics have contributed to the assessment of school learning, but have not been directly related to school learning itself. Since 1900, studies of reliability and validity have also been effectively used to determining classroom success. In order for teacher-made tests to achieve desirable reliability and validity values, the use of tests consisting of many items has become widespread. This has led teachers to turn towards mostly content-based learning that indicates learning levels by the content dimension of tests. It also oriented them towards cognitive processes at the remember, understand, and apply levels. Even if these changes were positive, they hindered the development of the use of learning in real-life situations, which should be a skill that schools teach their students. Graduates of schools learned basic information from them, but could not use their knowledge at the desired level in real-life situations. The desire to improve education inevitably requires it to be updated. In this regard, it is important that cognitive, intrapersonel, and interpersonal competencies that affect students’ achievement and called as 21st century skills are also included in measurement and assessment processes. This study examines the past, present and future of classroom assessments, and its claims are supported by an explanatory example of measurement and assessment.
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Using the large datasets available with new gene sequencing and biobank projects, behavioral geneticists are developing tools that attempt to predict individual intelligence based on genetics. These predictive tools are meant to enable a ‘precision education’ that will transform society. These technological developments have not changed the fundamental aims of a program with a long history. Behavioral genetics is continuous with previous attempts to match personal characteristics to heredity, such as sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, and threatens racial and other forms of bias. From these older paradigms, it inherits an understanding of intelligence as informational processing shaped by mechanistic and computational metaphors as well as a view of society and education organized around competition. Because of these influences, these models misdescribe fundamental aspects of human engagement with the world and disregard other concepts of intelligence, which creates problems for the precision education that researchers hope to construct using genetic knowledge.
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