Children’s genes uncover potential school league table bias

A team led by University of Bristol researchers used data from 6,518 participants of the Children of the 90s longitudinal study alongside the UK National Pupil Database of exam results. As people’s genes do not change over time, they wanted to know if value added progress measures only reflect school and teacher performance or also genetic differences between students.

Researchers found that some value-added measures of progress during secondary school which account for factors such as a student’s gender, age and ethnicity were affected by differences in students’ genetics. There was also evidence that differences in genetics could explain more of value-added measures built from teacher assessments of their students’ ability.

This means that these measures partly reflect the students that schools and teacher’s intake rather than only the schools and teachers’ contribution to their students’ education.

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