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Clones in the Classroom: A Daily Diary Study of the Nonshared Environmental Relationship Between Monozygotic Twin Differences in School Experience and Achievement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Kathryn Asbury*
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, United Kingdom. k.asbury@iop.kcl.ac.uk
David Almeida
Affiliation:
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, United States of America.
Jacob Hibel
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, United States of America.
Nicole Harlaar
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, United Kingdom.
Robert Plomin
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, United Kingdom.
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr Kathryn Asbury, PO Box 83, SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.

Abstract

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Do genetically identical children experience the same classroom differently? Are nonshared classroom experiences associated with differences in achievement? We designed a telephone diary measure which we administered every school day for 2 weeks to 122 10-year-olds in 61 monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs. Each pair shared genes, a classroom, peers and a teacher. We found that MZ twins did experience their classrooms differently (rMZ < 0.65 for all measures of classroom experience). Furthermore, MZ differences in peer problems were significantly associated with MZ differences in Mathematics achievement (ES = 8%); differences in positivity about school were significantly associated with differences in Mathematics (ES = 15%) and Science (ES = 8%) achievement; and differences in ‘flow’ in Science lessons were associated with differences in Science achievement (ES = 12%). In a multiple regression analysis, MZ differences in positivity about school significantly predicted MZ differences in Mathematics achievement (R2 = 0.16, p < .01) and MZ differences in ‘flow’ in Science significantly predicted MZ differences in Science achievement (R2 = 0.10, p < .05). These results indicate that MZ twins experience the classroom differently and that differences in their experience are associated with differences in their achievement.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008
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Clones in the Classroom: A Daily Diary Study of the Nonshared Environmental Relationship Between Monozygotic Twin Differences in School Experience and Achievement
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