Twin classroom dilemma : to study together or separately?
Garon-Carrier G, White EK, Tosto MG, Malykh SB, Li X, Kiddle B, Riglin L, Byrne B, Dionne G, Brendgen M, Vitaro F, Tremblay RE, Boivin M, Kovas Y. (2018). Twin classroom dilemma:to study together or separately?. Developmental Psychology. 54: 1244-1254.
There is little research to date on the academic implications of teaching twins in the same or
different classroom. Consequently, it is not clear whether twin classroom separation is
associated with positive or negative educational outcomes. As a result, parents and teachers
have insufficient evidence to make a well-informed decision when twins start school. This
study addresses two research questions: Are there average positive or negative effects of
classroom separation? Are twins taught in different classes more different from each other
than twins taught in the same class? Twin pairs from two large representative samples from
Quebec (Canada) and the UK were evaluated across a large age range (7 to 16 years) on
academic achievement, several cognitive abilities and motivational measures. Our results
show almost no sizeable positive or negative average effect of classroom separation on twins’
achievement, cognitive ability and motivation. Twin pairs at age 12 (Quebec, Canada) and at
age 16 (UK) were slightly more similar on achievement if placed in the same classroom, with
slightly greater similarity among MZ twins than DZ twins. However, the few effects found
were weak, and it remains unclear whether they result from classroom separation or other
factors. These results suggest that in terms of educational outcomes, policymakers should not
impose rigid guidelines to separate twin pairs during their education. The choice of whether
to educate twin pairs together or separately should be up to parents, twins and teachers, in
response to twins’ individual needs.