Get Smart

CAROL’S SUMMARY: Is IQ hereditary or environmental? Is there any correlation between intelligence and creativity or genius? As the article below suggests, if IQ differences are indeed largely environmental, what might eliminate group disparities? IQ tests which traditionally measure “fluid” intelligence(the ability to abstractly reason) and “crystallized” intelligence (knowledge) don’t always correlate to skills, abilities and outcomes. What role do habits of success like conscientiousness and perseverance play in raising intelligence and the ability to actually accomplish things—in the words of Howard Gardner, “ to make things happen”? What programs can schools put in place to level the playing field and help all kids learn more and do more, regardless of their economic background?

As Title 1 programs strive to be more effective at helping at-risk populations, these questions are crucial to figure out the best programs to propel kids forward with the global skills needed to be successful in our interdependent world. Measurements which can provide hard data will be essential in evaluating progress and determining next steps.


Published: March 27, 2009

Success in life depends on intelligence, which is measured by I.Q. tests. Intelligence is mostly a matter of heredity, as we know from studies of identical twins reared apart. Since I.Q. differences between individuals are mainly genetic, the same must be true for I.Q. differences between groups. So the I.Q. ranking of racial/ethnic groups — Ashkenazi Jews on top, followed by East Asians, whites in general, and then blacks — is fixed by nature, not culture. Social programs that seek to raise I.Q. are bound to be futile. Cognitive inequalities, being written in the genes, are here to stay, and so are the social inequalities that arise from them.

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