IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Can the language of 11 year olds predict their future?

06 June 2018, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

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Nearly 50 years ago, in 1969, more than 10,000 11-year-olds across Great Britain wrote an essay imagining what their lives would be would like by the time they were 25.

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UCL Festival of Culture


Main Quad Pop Up 102
Gower Street
United Kingdom

These children were all participants in the National Child Development Study, which began when they were all born, in a single week in March 1958, and which has been tracking their lives ever since.

As the study turns 60 in 2018, a team of researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), Stonybrook University in New York, and University of Melbourne has been analysing the essays written by the 11-year-olds, alongside the data collected about each of them through the study over the past six decades.

This session will explore the extent to which the language the 11-year-olds used in their essays would foretell their future lives. We examine the power of the essays in predicting their cognitive function, physical activity and economic status throughout their adult lives.

About the speaker

Alissa Goodman is Professor of Economics at the IOE and Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS). Kath Butler is the CLS Communications Manager.

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