Twin study featured on Catalyst

Published 31 October 2017

ABC’s Catalyst program will tonight feature the work of a UNE team led by Dr Will Coventry, pictured, that is exploring how twins can provide insight into the interplay of genes and the environment in education.  

Using insights from the “natural experiment” afforded by identical and fraternal twins, the team has documented a substantial role for genetic endowment in NAPLAN scores, but has clear evidence of non-genetic influences as well. The Twin Study of the NAPLAN is the only longitudinal twin study of school achievement in Australia. It has the potential to make a key contribution to the ongoing discussions about how to ensure the best outcomes are a possibility for all Australian school students.

The work has been published in several major journals (and in more popular formats like The Conversation), and is funded by the Australian Research Council.

After five years, the study has accumulated some impressive statistics:

6220 Questionnaires received
2773 participating families
2733 twin pairs
1475 siblings
40 triplet sets
10 years of NAPLAN results: 2008 to 2017
7 journal articles
5 honours students
4 babies born to project staff
3 PhD projects
2 Television appearances
2 ARC Discovery Grants
1 UNE Seed Grant