January 06, 2015

How Clever Elder Children Spur On Siblings To Perform Even Better


There are several examples of this among my friends, and of course there are exceptions.

The author cites Andy Murray, and also in the world of tennis the Williams sisters are a good example.

In the world of politics, sport and entertainment there are even more examples. 

The You Tube clip above highlights quite a lot of them.

This photo essay from Time magazine covers many others, and it is also the source of the pictures I have used.

I think genetics and environment have also played a considerable role not only with regard to fame but also with regard to academic achievement.



HAVING an older brother or sister who does well at school has a knock-on effect that means their siblings perform even better, a study has found. 
Academics tracking the progress of 220,000 children over four years concluded that for each extra grade achieved by an eldest child, the results of their younger brothers or sisters nudge higher by a small but discernible margin.

The “sibling spill-over effect” suggests that families such as the Dimbleby dynasty, in which the BBC broadcaster, David Dimbleby is better known than his younger brother and fellow journalist Jonathan, may be atypical. Instead, the Miliband family, in which Ed eclipsed his elder brother David to seize the leadership of the Labour party almost five years ago, may better illustrate the phenomenon in which younger siblings gain from watching and learning from the eldest child.

In the sporting world the same may apply to the Murrays, of whom, under the unstinting encouragement of their mother Judy, the former Wimbledon champion Andy has been more successful than his older brother Jamie, who specialises in doubles tennis.

The study, by Cheti Nicoletti and Birgitta Rabe of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, is the first to investigate the “multiplier effect” on younger siblings of the academic prowess of the eldest child.

The findings have significant implications for school policy, particularly for the coalition’s pupil premium, under which schools are allocated an extra £1,300 for each poor child in primary school and £935 in secondary school. This was because the effect was especially marked in poorer families.

Researchers found that the knock-on effect was most likely when the eldest child helped a younger sibling with homework, when younger brothers or sisters sought to copy their older sibling, when the eldest child shared information about school within the family or even when a younger brother or sister tried to rebel and consciously to follow a different path.

For every extra exam grade achieved by the elder sibling, such as moving from a B to an A grade, the younger brother or sister’s marks increased on average by 4 per cent. This is equivalent to spending an additional £670 per children in school, the study concluded.

There was no corresponding or reverse spill-over in which high achievement by younger siblings had a beneficial impact on the school results of the eldest child, which the academics said was to be expected.

“An increase in the test scores of an older sibling of one standard deviation leads to an increase in the corresponding test score of the younger sibling of 2.4 per cent of a standard deviation,” the authors of the study said.

“The spill-over effect is two to four times larger in families where we assume that knowledge on education and school-specific factors is low and hence the value of information-sharing between siblings higher.”

The authors added that the findings indicated that spending extra money on supporting children from families with low earnings, living in poor neighbourhoods or who spoke English as a second language could have double the benefit because of the multiplier effect.

By  Greg Hurst

With thanks to The Australian


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