Thursday, January 18, 2007

Charles Murray # 3 on IQ and education-gifted

Today Charles "Bell Curve" Murray completed the third in his Wall Street Journal trilogy on the role of general intelligence (g) in educational policy. The final aritlce ("Aztecs vs Greeks") deals with the upper end of the intelligence distribution...the gifted/talented. Be does have an elitist tone.

Yesterday I posted comments re: his first article that staked out a strong nativist position on intelligence, and more importantly (and I think somewhat simplisticly), argued for significantly different educational expectations for children of different IQ scores (IQ = proxy for general intelligence...which is the fundamental intelligence construct upon which Murray basis his arguments.). I won't reiterate my comments again here today.

A major problem I have with all three of Dr. Murray's articles is his almost blind faith in the cut-point implications of specific IQ scores. Individuals with IQ's below X can only be expected to......; individuals with IQs above Y should be.......... etc. Yes....psychometrically sound IQ scores are the single best predictor we have of the probability of educational success. But, Murray places almost all his arguments on specific IQ scores, scores that account for 40% to 50% of school achievement. As I argued yesterday, what is really important for educational success, the development of educational policies regarding testing, expectation formation, meeting standards, etc., is not just single cut-point IQ scores, but a focus on "intelligent behavior and competence"....which includes non-cognitive/conative abilities. I feel Richard Snow's work on "aptitude" (broadly defined) is much more relevant to educational policy than simple IQ.

Enough said. I'm done with this thread.

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