Increased environmental sensitivity in high mathematics performance

I. Schwabe, Dorret I. Boomsma, Stéphanie M. Van Den Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Results of international comparisons of students in studies such as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) are often taken to indicate that mathematical education in Dutch schools is not appropriate for mathematically talented students. However, there has been no empirical study yet that investigated this hypothesis. If indeed, Dutch students with a genetic predisposition for high mathematical ability are not nurtured to their full potential, their mathematics performance should be more affected by environmental factors than that of children with a genetic predisposition for low mathematical ability. In behaviour genetics such a situation is termed genotype-environment interaction: the relative importance of environmental influences differs depending on students' genotypic values. To investigate genotype-environment interaction, we analyzed mathematics performance of 2110 Dutch twin pairs on a national achievement test. In the analysis we corrected for error variance heterogeneity in the measurement of mathematics performance through the application of an item response theory (IRT) measurement model. As hypothesized, results indicated that environmental influences are relatively more important in explaining individual differences in students with a genetic predisposition for high mathematical ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-201
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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Mathematics
mathematics
performance
student
ability
measurement theory
mathematics studies
PISA study
international comparison
achievement test
science studies
interaction
environmental factors
Individuality
Education
trend
school
Values
education

Cite this

Schwabe, I. ; Boomsma, Dorret I. ; Berg, Stéphanie M. Van Den. / Increased environmental sensitivity in high mathematics performance. In: Learning and Individual Differences. 2017 ; Vol. 54. pp. 196-201.
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Increased environmental sensitivity in high mathematics performance. / Schwabe, I.; Boomsma, Dorret I.; Berg, Stéphanie M. Van Den.

In: Learning and Individual Differences, Vol. 54, 02.2017, p. 196-201.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Results of international comparisons of students in studies such as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) are often taken to indicate that mathematical education in Dutch schools is not appropriate for mathematically talented students. However, there has been no empirical study yet that investigated this hypothesis. If indeed, Dutch students with a genetic predisposition for high mathematical ability are not nurtured to their full potential, their mathematics performance should be more affected by environmental factors than that of children with a genetic predisposition for low mathematical ability. In behaviour genetics such a situation is termed genotype-environment interaction: the relative importance of environmental influences differs depending on students' genotypic values. To investigate genotype-environment interaction, we analyzed mathematics performance of 2110 Dutch twin pairs on a national achievement test. In the analysis we corrected for error variance heterogeneity in the measurement of mathematics performance through the application of an item response theory (IRT) measurement model. As hypothesized, results indicated that environmental influences are relatively more important in explaining individual differences in students with a genetic predisposition for high mathematical ability.

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