Family and school help get you to university, but then it’s up to you

时间:2018-11-01 单词数:4920

双语 中文 英文




Families and schools have a substantial influence on whether young people go to university but no effect on how well students perform once they get there, according to the first study of genetic and environmental influences on higher education.


Researchers at King’s College London studied 3,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins and 3,000 other people in the UK, in an effort to disentangle the factors that determine university enrolment and performance. Results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

伦敦国王学院(King’s College London)的研究人员对英国3000对同卵和异卵双胞胎、以及另外3000人进行了研究,试图找到是哪些因素决定一个人是否进入大学和入学后的学业表现。该研究结果发表在《科学报告》(Scientific Reports)杂志上。

Genetic factors account for 51 per cent of differences between school leavers in whether or not they go on to university. What the researchers call “shared environment” — mainly school and family background — accounts for 36 per cent, while “non-shared environment”, reflecting individual circumstances, contributes the remaining 13 per cent.


Although the King’s study did not look specifically at students’ socio-economic background, the findings support the view that teenagers from poor and disadvantaged families are less likely than their more privileged counterparts to proceed to a university education for which their genes are well suited. Researchers suggested that admissions policies should take more account of these social factors into account.


“You would expect heritability — the genetic influence — to increase in a fairer and more equitable society,” said Emily Smith-Woolley, one member of the research team at King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

伦敦国王学院精神病学、心理学和神经学研究所(IoPPN)这个研究小组的成员之一埃米莉?史密斯-伍利(Emily Smith-Woolley)表示,“你会发现,在较为公平和平等的社会里,遗传力——即基因影响——的作用更大。”

An earlier study by King’s researchers showed that shared environment played a big role in secondary education, accounting for 40 per cent of differences in whether students choose to take A-levels.


Once someone gets to university, the contribution of “shared environment” declines to less than 1 per cent. Achievement, measured by the student’s final degree class, is determined 46 per cent by genetics and 53 per cent by non-shared or individual environment.


“Unlike secondary school, where students tend to share educational experiences, university provides young people with greater opportunity to be independent and to carve out their interests based on their natural abilities and aptitudes,” said Ziada Ayorech, another King’s researcher.

国王学院另一位研究人员齐亚达·阿约雷希(Ziada Ayorech)表示:“在中学阶段,学生们的教育经历往往相同,大学则为年轻人提供了更多机会,让他们能够独立,能够根据自己的天赋天资打造自己的兴趣。

“Students’ unique environments — such as new friends and new experiences — appear to be explaining differences in university achievement and the role of shared environment becomes less significant.”


Apart from studying the overall contribution of genes to educational achievement, scientists are beginning to identify some of the thousands of specific DNA variations responsible. The latest — and still unpublished — research suggests that up to 15 per cent of variance in achievement may be predictable through a “polygenic score” based on detailed DNA analysis, said Dr Smith-Woolley. But science is still a long way from producing a useful genetic test for guiding young people to the best educational options.

有成千上万的特定DNA变异在影响一个人的学业表现,除了研究基因对学业表现的整体贡献外,科学家还开始识别其中一些起作用的DNA变异。史密斯-伍利博士表示,最新(且尚未发表)的研究表明,高达15%的学业表现差异或许都可以通过基于详细DNA分析的“多基因分数”(polygenic score)进行预测。但要达到能够生成有用的基因测试、引导年轻人在教育方面找到最佳选择的水平,科学还有很长的路要走。