Disturbing findings for a central tenet of the prevailing left wing educational ideology:
Teenagers facing the ire of parents over their exam results may have found the perfect excuse after a new study concluded that exam success is largely inherited. Scientists at King’s College London discovered that up to 65 per cent of the difference in pupil’s GCSEs grades was down to genetics. Previous research found that genetics could influence core subjects like English, mathematics and science but it now appears that they also play the same role in humanities, languages and art. It suggests that if parents have struggled to draw, learn a second language or understand algebra, their children are also likely to find those subjects difficult.
For that prevailing ideology is that it is entirely the environment and education itself which determine such things. Danny Dorling once put it as anyone could grow up to be professor of social geography at Sheffield University: something which prompted us to comment that obviously anyone had. The implications of this blank slate idea being that differences in outcome must be due to differences in access to resources. Thus poor people do badly because they are poor, deprived even simply be inequality.
That 65% of academic success (to the point that passing exams is that success) blows rather a hole in this idea.
We should not, of course, immediately lurch over into the errors of social darwinism though. For this is just a restatement of what should be blindingly obvious about a mammalian species. There are indeed mutations, there's a shuffling of the genes in every generation. We should therefore be assuming that there will be variance other than simple and direct inheritance of intelligence, just as with any other genetically determined characteristic. Thus all should have access to the same opportunities but we just shouldn't be surprised when outcomes are not equal.