Genetic tests claiming to predict people’s intellectual aptitudes or how much education they are likely to get are readily available via direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies. Some researchers are even proposing the use of such tests in educational settings for “precision education,” in which individualized student education plans would be tailored to scores generated from the genetic findings. But a new study – the first to look at the potential psychosocial impacts of these genetic scores for educational attainment – finds that they could have negative effects on students’ self-esteem and sense of their educational potential.
Lucas J. Matthews, a postdoctoral researcher at The Hastings Center and Columbia University’s Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics, is the lead author of the study, which was published in Social Psychology of Education. An abstract is available here.
Genetic tests for educational purposes are designed to detect hundreds of small genetic variants in a single sample of saliva. These tests produce “polygenic scores,” which permit modest genetic prediction of selected traits and... see more