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Multiples: Should you Separate Them in School?

If you have multiple birth children (i.e., twins), you will likely have to decide whether you want your multiples to be in the same classroom in school or whether you prefer to have your multiples separated.  Below are some of the factors that you will want to consider as you form your preference on this highly controversial topic.

While few scientific studies have been done on the advantages and disadvantages of separating multiples in school, a 1966 study suggested that there were benefits to separating twins in school as the separation tended to increase the twins’ academic performance.   As a result of that study, many schools, administrators, and teachers have expressed a preference for (if not an actual policy requiring) twin separation in school.  However, based on surveys of parents of multiples, most such parents prefer to keep twins together in school.

According to a 2003 study entitled, “What Effect Does Classroom Separation Have on Twins’ Behavior, Progress at School, and Reading Abilities?”, separated twins  “had more teacher-rated internalizing problems” than twins not separated and twins separated later in their school years additionally had lower reading scores.  Identical twins experienced more problems resulting from separation than did fraternal twins. 

Because each set of twins, and each twin individually, has his/her/their own unique needs and perspectives, this author’s opinion is that the decision to separate (or not to separate) twins in school should be made on a case-by-case basis based on an individualized assessment of the twins and the affects that the separation may have on them.  Parents and schools should respect the twin bond while still indentifying and encouraging the development of each twin’s unique personality, skills, and talents.

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