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Could studies on gene differences lead teachers to unfairly favor ‘more educatable’ students?

| | August 14, 2018

Educational paths are extremely varied, almost as unique as people themselves. They’re influenced by a complex slew of factors, and a recent study has introduced one more variable into the mix: genetics.

[T]he Social Science Genetic Association Consortium published a study identifying tiny differences between people’s DNA that are related to educational attainment, or number of years of completed schooling. Now, education researchers have to reconcile these new genetic findings with an already-complicated equation of educational success.

One major worry is that studies like this will be used to justify treating students unfairly based on their genes. For example, people might want to design a test to separate students based on whether they have the genetic variants.

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[I]f certain genetic variants are associated with better educational outcomes, then there might be something about the structure of our educational system that’s favoring people with these variants.

For example, if the variants were involved in language comprehension, that could tell educators that current teaching methods aren’t working for students who process language differently. That means they should be designing new interventions to accommodate that variation.

“The responsibility of society is not to triage people based on genetics; it’s to provide the best possible quality of experience for everyone so they can show their true potential,” said [professor Mary Helen] Immordino-Yang.

Read full, original post: How Genetic Differences Could Make Schools Better

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