December 16, 2009 / 8:40 AM / in 8 years

Sharing class won't affect twins' school success: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Twins who share a classroom will do just as well academically as twins placed in separate classes, new research shows, helping resolve a dilemma many parents of multiple children face.

<p>A pair of twins sit in a classroom on the first day of classes in an elementary school in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo</p>

Parents of twins, triplets and other multiples often wonder whether it would be better for their children to attend the same class or if they would benefit more from being separated.

The study, by VU University of Amsterdam biological psychologist Tinca Polderman and her colleagues, concluded there should be no blanket recommendation.

“Classroom placement of twins should be based on each family’s needs individually, in consultation with teachers, parents, and the children themselves,” Polderman said.

So far, three studies have looked at effects among twins of separation in primary school, the researchers said in the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Two studies found separated twins were at greater risk of depression and anxiety, although the effects were small.

For the Dutch study, researchers tracked 839 identical and 1,164 fraternal twin pairs from the age of 3 to the age of 12.

Seventy-two percent had shared a classroom all of the time, 19 percent attended the same school but were in different classes and 9 percent had shared a classroom some of the time.

Initial results showed twins who were in the same school but in different classes scored slightly higher on a standard test typically given to Dutch children in the eighth grade than those in the same class.

But when the researchers controlled for socioeconomic status and behavioral issues, there was no significant difference.

“There is no difference in educational achievement between twins who share a classroom and twins who do not share a classroom during their primary school time,” Polderman said.

“The choice of separation should be made by teachers, parents and their twin children, based on individual characteristics of a twin pair.”

Reporting by Reuters Health team; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Jerry Norton

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