It seems LaShawn Barber is stirring things up a bit by mentioning intelligence and IQ tests. I don't know where to go with this one so, again, I'll just go with the flow of the firings of the electric paths of my brain.
I was IQ tested a few times while in elementary school. I don't know why I was tested, but so be it. I scored within a range that was "above average", but when I think about, I wonder how the scores would change if, as mentioned by some and by LaShawn in particular, intelligence can be tested and what is tested is q.
If intelligence is purely innate, then it seems to me, your innate ability, or maximum ability, is not subject to change. Anyway...
I remember a "program" I was in where myself and a few other "high intelligence" classmates were taken out of class, sent to a room with a monitor, and did "experiments" with the monitor. It was a big waste of time and other than it happening, all I recall about the "experiments" was that I thought the "monitor" was a hippie.
Years later, in high school, a classmate told myself and some others of a summer job opportunity working for pre-break up AT&T. We went to the employment office and spent most of the morning taking an aptitude test. The results of the test was interesting.
It turned out that I was judged to have an aptitude which showed I would be best as a "Dial 0" operator or a telephone repair technician. The latter covered the installers that installed lines in the home, worked the telephone polls, or worked in the banks of the central stations.
When I was told that the same range of scores in the same categories showed aptitude for either, I was shocked because I saw no similarity. I was told that both involve thinking on your feet and recognizing patterns.
When I compared scores with my classmates who also took the test, we all had similar results.
Some got summer jobs as installers while I got a job as a "Dial 0" operator. I was told I got that position because of affirmative action; they needed more male operators.
I worked that job for 2 summers. My classmates who worked as installers only one summer. I think the union got involved and had the positions closed down to summer hires. They were paid more than I was, in base pay. But I worked the night shift and came out just about the same because of the "night differential".
Again, years later, when I interviewed for a job with I.B.M., I had to take an aptitude test. The test showed the same thing the AT&T test showed: I had an aptitude for recognizing patterns.
Why do I mention this?
I do so because I don't think that there is a single intelligence, g, that accounts for intelligence. I am good at patterns and I'm good at numbers, but the combination in the form of electrical science boars me to tears. So, I wasn't good at it in college. In college, two applied math professors tried to get me to major in that field, but it bored me. I would not have been good in that area. But, I'm doing a good job at being a software engineer/architect/system engineer.
Additionally, while I can appreciate the geometry involved in creating a building, or painting a picture, or the rhythmic scales of involved in some classical musical works or Cameo's Candy, I will never be able to produce good works based on the math involved in what I mentioned.
Over time, I've come to realize there is more to intelligence than what comprises a single number.
I haven't taken time to specifically research the area of IQ. Over time, when the topic comes across my radar screen, I'll read articles about the discussion, make mental notes and then move on. Some time ago, I read or heard a discussion that stated the same thing that the article by Thomas Sowell points out:
In recent years, research by Professor James R. Flynn, an American expatriate living in New Zealand, has shaken up the whole IQ controversy by discovering what has been called "the Flynn effect." In various countries around the world, people have been answering significantly more IQ test questions correctly than in the past.
This important fact has been inadvertently concealed by the practice of changing the norms on IQ tests, so that the average number of correctly answered questions remains by definition an IQ of 100. Only by painstakingly going back and recalculating IQs, based on the initial norms, was Professor Flynn able to discover that whole nations had, in effect, had their IQs rising over the decades by about 20 points.
Since the black-white difference in IQ is 15 points, this means that an even larger IQ difference has existed between different generations of the same race, making it no longer necessary to attribute IQ differences of this magnitude to genetics. In the half century between 1945 and 1995, black Americans' raw test scores rose by the equivalent of 16 IQ points.
I do remember that at the time, I had noted to myself that the same thing "re-norming" has happened with the SAT score, only in the reverse direction. Today's normalized mean SAT score is lower than scores of years past.
Anyway, the research in the area is vast and more extensive than she lists. From what I've read over time, some of it I can grasp, some of it is beyond my ability to do the number crunching to determine if the analysis is accurate and if the method is valid.
I have my ideas based on what I do understand and I go from there. But there is something I do want to go into.
LaShawn has a post were she gives the "pros and cons" in the "discussion." I'm left underwhelmed by what's listed and it seems geared towards developing a reason to be anti-affirmative action, where affirmative action is mis-defined as racial preferences. The policy that she brings to the mix is the thing that gets me going.
LaShawn writes this:
Talking about this issue is also important because the inability to do well, or at least as well as whites, on standardized tests is the reason race preferences exist. It’s the reason gobs of money are spent on urban schools and others with a large black student body. No matter how much money taxpayers spend, student achievement test scores barely move and the black-white achievement gap never closes. It’s the reason a low-income white student outperforms a black student from an upper middle-class household.
So called "race preferences" exist, not because of testing ability, but on the history of exclusion in this country. In reading about affirmative action, I've never come across Arthur Fletcher saying that he pushed for affirmative action in the Nixon administration because Negroes did not score well on standardized tests. "Gobs" of money are spent on "urban schools", in part, because the funding isn't equal in the first place. When the amount of money spent by an urban system is compared to the amount of money spent by a suburban system in the same area, with factors such as cost of maintaining the schools and "special education" are accounted for, the urban system is generally spending less per pupil than the suburban school. But, on this point, I will say that many urban systems probably do a poor job in being wise managers of the money.
When she writes that the achievement gap never closes, she ignores the stories, most coming from the conservative side, that shows how Black kids are achieving and closing the gap when properly structured education is put into place.
I agree with the idea that a broad spectrum of courses, ranging from vocational to advanced college preparation, should be available to students and that some students should probably not be prevented from dropping out of school, but to base such educational options available to students on the "IQ norms of a group"?
It seems odd that the conservative is willing to ignore the individuals to judge based on the group.
Wait, isn't that her beef with affirmative action?
I don't want to seem like I'm kissing someone's butt, or using someone's similar comments to back up mine, but here are some good comments that come from Booker Rising