Re: Early Childhood Interventions

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One wonders why IQ is thought to be the most relevant criterion with early childhood intervention. Because it looks like a pretty dumb one to me.

Grant even that IQ measures something innate about intelligence*; who cares? IQ isn't a good predictor for how someone's life will turn out, at least not compared to whether their parents were wealthy or educated. (I've given this anecdatum before, but there's a wide range in IQ among me and my sisters, and I'd be willing to bet that our expected life outcomes are a) going to be pretty similar and b) probably won't stack up as with 'best IQ-best paying job')

*I personally think the tests mostly measure test-taking ability, and thus favor minds that are good at games. Which is certainly one kind of intelligence, but correlates well with being spoiled by philosophy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:10 AM
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One wonders why IQ is thought to be the most relevant criterion

Off the top of my head, I'd guess that it is a compromise made by people who want to see these programs funded and are looking for an "objective" measure.

In fairness, it's a little harder to game than other so-called measures.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:15 AM
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One wonders why IQ is thought to be the most relevant criterion with early childhood intervention.

Probably because it was a much bigger deal back when programs like Head Start were founded and despite its decline in importance - IQ tests aren't routinely given to kids now - there's been no agreed upon measure of assessment to replace it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:16 AM
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Here's my guess: white guys do better on IQ tests than anyone else.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:18 AM
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Never mind my explanation, eb's is more plausible. Although I think an awful lot of poor kids still get IQ tests these days.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:20 AM
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2: Right. I thought of that, but upon reading Kathy G's post, there are apparently all of these other measures we can use that seem to have more to do with how someone's life turns out.

And I can't get past the so what factor. So you raise someone's IQ ten points by teaching them about how tests work*. Anyone seriously believe it's that fine-grained a measure that someone with 105 IQ will have a consistently better life than someone with a 95 IQ?

*Sorry to keep harping on this. But, thus I harp.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:23 AM
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Here's my guess: white guys do better on IQ tests than anyone else.

Nope, it's Asians.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:27 AM
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Actually, I just read the text to the chart linked in #7, and it says Ashkenazi Jews beat Asians on IQ tests; apparently, we're just too rare to merit our own category on the chart. But I guess we count as white, so there you go.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:31 AM
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I remember taking an IQ test in fourth grade and being able to read the test administrator perfectly: when she was happy with my performance, when the thought I could be doing better. The test taking turned into an entirely different kind of game when I got bored enough to start playing with her reactions.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:33 AM
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I would say you are right to harp, Cala. Anyway, I agree with your harping. As do I agree with Witt that much of the pro-testing impetus comes from wanting some objective measure (for various things) and not knowing how else to measure. Crime rates and income may be useful alternatives for long-term evaluation of programs like Head Start, but mostly people want a quicker read.

I like to imagine there are ways to craft tests differently so they play less directly to the strengths of the generally privileged folks, but getting that done, and then selling it to the people who use tests seems a fairly high hurdle.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:35 AM
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9: I figured out very, very young on standardized tests that one could figure out the answers by paying attention to social cues. The point of the passage is never going to be "Native Americans are inferior to white men and the settlers were right to take their land." It is never going to be "Those who are stronger should crush the weak." Every standardized test is like this. I'm sure I'm not the only one that didn't bother to read the passage before answering the questions.

10: What about likelihood to pass to the next grade? A fuzzier measure, certainly, but one that actually might correlate with the outcome of the program.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:40 AM
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IQ test can certainly be worked on, just through testing. When I was about 12 I did one, and scored OK but nothing absolutely stellar. So, frustrated, I did the other four tests in the book. By about test 4 I was testing way up there. I'd gained about 30 IQ points, just by learning what sorts of answers they were looking for [via marking my own tests].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:44 AM
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What about likelihood to pass to the next grade?

Eh, I generally support early childhood programs and even I wouldn't put a dime's worth of trust in that measure. Grade and social promotion policies vary so wildly from school to school in my area, not to mention from district to district, that I wouldn't feel confident judging anything based on whether the students were getting promoted or not.*


*All right, I wouldn't actually throw it out if it were one of 8 or 10 different measures. But I probably wouldn't cite it, even if it supported my point.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:45 AM
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Wow, I didn't even know they gave individual IQ tests. All the tests I took were the group "shut up and fill in the dots tick tick tick" tests.

I agree with LizardBreath's assertion that the environment one is in affects test scores. It may be as direct as "people under the influence perform less well" and may be as subtle as "TV rots your brain."


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:00 AM
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Wow, I didn't even know they gave individual IQ tests.

I think this is the norm for 'serious' IQ testing, no? Not a fill-in-the-bubbles multiple choice thing, but rather all kinds of interactive, line up the beads, arrange the pictures in a story, make groupings of the objects activities.

I took bunches of them, because people my mom always knew people studying for certification in IQ testing who had to practice.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:12 AM
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I was given an IQ text at age 7, but not since. It's a stupid thing to measure. IME, having a high IQ meant that my parents could really turn a blind eye to my health and interpersonal problems. "Oh, she's smart, so...," like nothing else about my quality of life mattered.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:13 AM
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get rid of that first 'people'


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:13 AM
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15: That was the sort I took to get into my middle school. Never saw it turned into an IQ score, though; they just had a raw score cutoff.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:16 AM
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Mine was at age seven, too. Kinda scary how a test I took on a day I had a cold and a really runny nose determined the trajectory of the next ten years of school.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:16 AM
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16: "Oh, she's smart, so let's not bother her about her anal sex problem." What's wrong with that?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:20 AM
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20 totally uncalled for.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:21 AM
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19: Heh, yeah, I think mine was at age 8, sometime in 3rd grade anyway. But it's ok! There was a second shot when I took the SAT in 8th grade to get into my high school! Standardized testing!

I mean, rising scores on these standardized tests probably correlates with something good on a population level, so long as the intervention wasn't specifically designed to improve results on said tests. So I can't really fault quantifying the impact in that form as well, though the other statistics suggested by Cala and Kathy should of course also be collected to provide a more robust picture.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:22 AM
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I took bunches of them

Some of them were pretty painful, because the testers just didn't get it, and the tests would go on for hours. I haven't been able to reproduce any of the last six fourteen-bead sequences, why do you think we should move on to the sixteen-bead sequences? And then at the end they'd be like, thanks so much, this has been so helpful, here take this pencil as thanks! A pencil?! Not even a cool one.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:25 AM
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My eldest daughter is going to a grammar school (selective state school - how selective varies around the country, this one is really bloody competitive) this year - the test to get in is 2 hours of verbal and non-verbal reasoning - i.e. lots of stuff similar to IQ tests. Someone recently congratulated her on being really clever for getting into her chosen school, and she replied that she wasn't clever, just very good at taking those kind of tests. Which I thought was very perceptive (not to mention modest) of her, and was quite pleased as she's not known for either quality.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:25 AM
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We had some sort of test in the last year of primary school. Not sure what it was for, though, since Scotland doesn't have selective entry for schools. The kids all referred to it as the IQ test, but it was (from recollection) more of a general assessment sort of thing. Bits of IQ related stuff, some general knowledge and maths. I presume it was to give the high school some sort of indication of our abilities, but since streaming didn't take place until two years later, I'm not sure what purposed it served.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:28 AM
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Our "achievement tests" were given every year for several days in the spring, right around the time the weather turned nice. I associate those tests with the smell of fresh-cut grass.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:33 AM
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We did as well, and I was at a private school, where most of us stayed there for secondary school.

One thing about home educating that I've been really happy about is avoiding SATS.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:35 AM
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I remember taking a lot of "this won't count towards your grade or for placement purposes, but please try to be serious anyway" tests. Most were entirely multiple choice.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:35 AM
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21: So true. Might have been excusable if funny, but that's pointless counterfactual speculation.

I took bunches of them

Same here. Apparently there was a running (though good-natured) debate between the teacher of the gifted program and the county school psychologist, in which my performance on various standardized tests was thought to be probative. I never learned the nature of the dispute, but every once in a while, when I responded to a question on one of the tests, whichever one of the two was administering the test would get a satisfied look on his/her face and say something like "Ha! That will show Mr./Ms. X that his/her theory is wrong."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:36 AM
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Blume, that's exactly the kind of thing that AWB's parents did not say. But if they had, it would have been nice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:36 AM
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Fuck off, Emerson.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:41 AM
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24: Oh wow, they've reinstated the grammar school system in the UK? Hurray!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:48 AM
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re: 32

They never completely got rid of it in England or in Northern Ireland. However, Scotland is fully comprehensive. No grammar schools.

Personally, I'd ban 'em. Grammar schools, I mean. But past discussions on educational selection has led me to believe that, within Unfogged, I'm very much an outlier on this one.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:50 AM
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I never learned the nature of the dispute

My best guess is that it had something to do with how the results of various IQ tests would differ based on how carefully they controlled for cultural isolation.

I remember that one of the questions that provoked a reaction from one or the other was in a test where you have to look at pictures of objects and identify what they are. They start out easy, and get progressively more obscure. One of the objects looked a little bit like a lightbulb, but even in elementary school I knew enough that it was not a lightbulb, but a gold leaf electroscope, an object I could identify by sight even though I had never seen one and had no idea what it was for (my hobby was reading encyclopedias, OK?)*


*more specifically, I read an old 1950's vintage set of Funk & Wagnalls that my parents had picked up from the rubbish somewhere. My knowledge of the world was therefore frozen in time in quite peculiar ways. For instance, I was surprised to learn (after Three Mile Island) that atomic power was considered in any way hazardous, or that South Vietnam was no longer an independent country.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 9:54 AM
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OK. Sorry. I had thought that your parents were always pestering you about things, rather than turning a blind eye.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:00 AM
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or that South Vietnam was no longer an independent country.

According to my freshman year high school history textbook, there was some doubt about its future. Students in other classes with newer textbooks - there weren't enough for the whole school - told us how that war came out.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:04 AM
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33: Weird, I thought they were all scrapped in 1997, or was that just the direct-grant schools?

I mean, I owe my existance to direct-grant schools, and pretty much the entire reason my high school years were awesome was due to magnet schools. I'm obliged to love them. But if I remember the last Unfogged discussion accurately, there were a fair number of detractors. You're far from alone in this.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:06 AM
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I must have missed that discussion. What does grammar school mean in the UK? I've always heard grammar school and elementary school used interchangeably in the US, but I was probably not paying attention.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:08 AM
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There are grammar schools scattered about the country - some local authorities kept them. I'm, at best, ambivalent towards them. Girls try from all over the place, up to 20 or 30 miles away, to get into this one, which can't help any community spirit. (Our town has a girls' grammar and a boys' grammar.) But it's our nearest school (about a mile away) and also the smallest school in the borough. And my daughter really REALLY wants to go there.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:12 AM
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A grammar school is just one that selects on academic ability. In our area we also have a school that selects some percentage of its intake on sports ability.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:14 AM
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"The non-persistence of the IQ effect makes perfect sense to me, and not as evidence that IQ is fundamentally immutable. If you assume that IQ scores derive from some function of 'innate' ability and environment, programs like Head Start raise IQs by putting low SES kids in an environment that favors the expression of higher IQ scores, bringing test scores closer to those of middle class kids that have such a favorable environment at home or through purchased enrichment services. When the lower SES kids are no longer in the enriched environment, but the middle class kids remain in it, the gap reopens over time."

This does not explain why lower SES kids not in the program catch up in IQ. An alternative explanation is that early childhood IQ tests (which are considered less reliable than adult tests) are measuring things besides IQ (such as comfort in a testing environment) and the program is temporarily increasing scores by improving these other things (relative to kids not in a program). But as time passes and kids not in a program also become familiar with taking tests the advantage goes away.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:15 AM
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40: Thanks.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:17 AM
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According to my freshman year high school history textbook, there was some doubt about [South Vietnam's] future

There were a lot of gaps in my textbooks as well, but my history teacher Miss R. worked valiantly to fill in the gaps, such as...

...the U.S. could have easily won the Vietnam conflict if the hippies and liberals hadn't force the army to soldiers and fight with one hand tied behind their back
...the Emancipation Proclamation was probably the right decision at the time, but subsequent history shows that the slaves were not really ready for freedom
...we could win the Cold War in a day if the Air Force would just fly over the Soviet Union and bombard it with Sears catalogs, so that the Russians could see what America was really like.
...Richard Nixon was right to say "I am not a crook", because a crook is a thief, and President Nixon never stole so much as the pencil off his desk.
...At least two thirds, if not more, of welfare recipients are layabouts who could find work if they really needed to
...Ronald Reagan bears no responsibility for the deficits incurred under his watch, because "the President cannot spend one thin dime without the consent of Congress."
...the hostages in Teheran were released on the day of Reagan's inauguration because "the towelheads knew what was coming if they didn't."
...many of the physical attributes of the earth that are commonly explained by glaciation are more likely remnants of the Great Flood. Also, the Genesis creation story is credible because "I have one less rib than you."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:29 AM
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1

"Grant even that IQ measures something innate about intelligence*; who cares? IQ isn't a good predictor for how someone's life will turn out, at least not compared to whether their parents were wealthy or educated. (I've given this anecdatum before, but there's a wide range in IQ among me and my sisters, and I'd be willing to bet that our expected life outcomes are a) going to be pretty similar and b) probably won't stack up as with 'best IQ-best paying job')"

Charles Murray would disagree .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:58 AM
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One of the oddest things about IQ is that its heritability increases with age:

The reason for this wide margin appears to be that the heritability of IQ rises through childhood and adolescence, peaking at 0.68 and 0.78 in adults, leaving the overwhelming majority of IQ differences between individuals to be explained genetically.[6]
The finding of rising heritability with age is counterintuitive; it is reasonable to expect that genetic influences on traits like IQ should become less important as one gains experiences with age. However, that the opposite occurs is well documented. According to work by Robert Plomin,[7] heritability estimates calculated on infant samples are as low as 20%, rising to around 40% in middle childhood, and ultimately as high as 80% in adult samples in the United States. This suggests that the underlying genes actually express themselves by affecting a person's predisposition to build, learn, and develop mental abilities throughout the lifespan.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 10:59 AM
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44: Charles Murray would disagree .

Shockingly!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:00 AM
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Hasn't most of his work been shown to be wrong?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:02 AM
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Please, no Charles Murray today. My heart can't take it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:09 AM
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Please, no Shearer today. Bob's trolling doesn't get this much traction.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:16 AM
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Here is some info on the Perry preschool project I looked up when yglesias linked to this issue:

http://jenni.uchicago.edu/human-inequality/papers/inv-young-rep_all_2007-01-31b_mms.pdf

http://www.peelearlyyears.com/pdf/Research/INTERNATIONAL%20Early%20Years/Perry%20Project.pdf

The perry preschool project apparently worked alot better than head start.

To be effective, the perry project people say you need teachers with BA degrees, a 8:1 student teacher ratio, instruction for two years when kids are 3 and 4 for at least 2.5 hours a day.

Benefits of the perry preschool project were not mainly academic skills. The reduction of criminality was the largest social benefit by far according to the perry people.

Some of the effects are odd. At age 27, 40% of the women from the study were married versus 8% of the control group.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:17 AM
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Some of the effects are odd. At age 27, 40% of the women from the study were married versus 8% of the control group.

8% married sounds low for a group of women age 27. That control group needs a control group.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:19 AM
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51: Age of marriage (or likelihood of marriage at all) depends heavily on socioeconomic factors, doesn't it?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:21 AM
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Yeah, I thought of that just after I hit post. It would still be interesting to find out if the control group was unusual in some way.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:22 AM
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47

"Hasn't most of his work been shown to be wrong?"

Not as far as I know (assuming wrong means pervasive serious errors, people have found errors of course). In any case the link references a specific study concerning sibling pairs with different IQs not his work in general.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:23 AM
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The Perry Preschool Project, carried out from 1962 to 1967, provided high-quality preschool education to three- and four-year-old African-American children living in poverty and assessed to be at high risk of school failure. ... Randomized controlled trial of 128 children -- 64 in the intervention group that received the preschool program, and 64 in the control group that did not.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:26 AM
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the hostages in Teheran were released on the day of Reagan's inauguration because "the towelheads knew what was coming if they didn't."

No illegal weapons deals???


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:27 AM
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54: I read what you linked, and even if he's right about the general trend (he seems to be ignoring a lot of the effects of education and marriage), the difference in outcomes based on achievement is over a fairly wide range of IQ, larger than the purported differences between, e.g. different races. So I'm a little skeptical.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:38 AM
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This looks like a good idea:


The central problem that the nonprofit Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy seeks to address is that U.S. social programs are often implemented with little regard to rigorous evidence, costing billions of dollars yet failing to address critical needs of our society -- in areas such as education, crime and substance abuse, and poverty reduction. A key piece of the solution, we believe, is to provide policymakers and practitioners with clear, actionable information on what works, as demonstrated in scientifically-valid studies, that they can use to improve the lives of the people they serve.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 11:46 AM
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45: I thought (from reading that Cosma Shalizi thing linked from Crooked Timber) that heritable did NOT particularly mean "genetically inherited" but rather "same as parents". So EmmaJacob gets the benefit of the environment created by the middle class highish IQ parents and grows up to have highish IQ.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:24 PM
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Hasn't most of his work been shown to be wrong outrageously motivated by a desire to prove that science validates racism?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:29 PM
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Off-topic, but really not so off-topic.

Just like how IQ tests measure your ability to take IQ tests, I was musing recently about how much better I've gotten at commenting on Unfogged. (Not the silly stuff, but where I'm genuinely trying to contribute.)

When I first got here, I was so OMG GENIUS JUNCTION. It was hard to follow people's comments, it took me forever to revise a comment until I was ready to post, etc. Now I'm just zip, zip, zip, and I think it's made me a better thinker and writer in other arenas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:32 PM
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15: Blume

I think this is the norm for 'serious' IQ testing, no? Not a fill-in-the-bubbles multiple choice thing, but rather all kinds of interactive, line up the beads, arrange the pictures in a story, make groupings of the objects activities.

Wow, is this something new? Maybe part of Bush's "No child left untested" program?

No, that wouldn't fit in with his "No child left a dime" program.

Was this one of those yuppie things where the parents projected their insecurities onto their children and pushed them academically?

I knew a father like that. His kid ended up retaining his poop and always smelled of excrement. On the other hand his 8-year old son got to spend his summers in astronomy classes taught by PhD's so maybe it was worth it?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:47 PM
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heebie-geebie,

When I first got here, I was so OMG GENIUS JUNCTION.

Shoot and I thought we were hiding it well. How about them Bears?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:49 PM
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His kid ended up retaining his poop and always smelled of excrement

Come the apocalypse, when that kid can lie down in a field and fertilize it by his very presence, who'll be laughing then, eh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:50 PM
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61: it's definitely made me a more careful writer in other venues.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:50 PM
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60 heebie-geebie,

Hasn't most of his work been shown to be wrong outrageously motivated by a desire to prove that science validates racism?

I'm sure there is some of that but back in the real olden days before everyone went to college or even went past 8th grade there was a real effort to try to determine who had the best chance of future academic success.

If Ma and Pa sent Junior on to high school they'd be losing a good worker and they wanted to know it would be worth it.

I'm not digging on anyone here. There was a practical tradeoff that had to be made.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:53 PM
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61: My writing has declined in almost every medium since I started commenting on blogs. It went up for a while at the beginning, though. I think the changes are almost wholly unrelated to blogging and more related to leaving academics (and doing less writing overall in my life - no more papers/big writing projects) at about the same time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:53 PM
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64:

Come the apocalypse, when that kid can lie down in a field and fertilize it by his very presence, who'll be laughing then, eh?

Good point. He'll be able to point out the constellations, too!


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:55 PM
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You people are able to comment here AND do outside writing?

Amazing.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:56 PM
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I thought (from reading that Cosma Shalizi thing linked from Crooked Timber) that heritable did NOT particularly mean "genetically inherited" but rather "same as parents". So EmmaJacob gets the benefit of the environment created by the middle class highish IQ parents and grows up to have highish IQ.

In the developed world, nearly all personality traits show that, contrary to expectations, environmental effects actually cause non-related children raised in the same family ("adoptive siblings") to be as different as children raised in different families (Harris, 1998; Plomin & Daniels, 1987). There are some family effects on the IQ of children, accounting for up to a quarter of the variance. However, by adulthood, this correlation disappears, such that adoptive siblings are not more similar in IQ than strangers.[14] For IQ, adoption studies show that, after adolescence, adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ than strangers (IQ correlation near zero), while full siblings show an IQ correlation of 0.6. Twin studies reinforce this pattern: monozygotic (identical) twins raised separately are highly similar in IQ (0.86), more so than dizygotic (fraternal) twins raised together (0.6) and much more than adoptive siblings (~0.0).[15]


although, here is cosma's post:

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/520.html

He thinks the twin studies are overstated.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:56 PM
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You people are able to comment here AND do outside writing?

I'm sitting here studiously ignoring my books and notes spread out over the table, right this very moment!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:57 PM
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45

"One of the oddest things about IQ is that its heritability increases with age:"

Is this really odd? Isn't it true of traits like height also? Children can develop at different rates and still end up in about the same place.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 12:59 PM
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Isn't it true of traits like height also?

I guess so:

The Colorado Adoption Project found that genes increase in influence as we age. Between age 3 and 16, adopted children grew to be more like their birth parents in height, weight, and IQ. By age 16 the adopted children did not resemble the people who had reared them. The heritability of height, weight, and IQ in infancy are all about 30%. By the teenage years, they are about 50% and by adulthood, they are about 80%. Thus, as children grow older, their home environments have less impact and their genes have more impact, just the opposite of what culture theory predicts.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 2:49 PM
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Here is a graph indicating that if you are adopted the income of your parents has little effect on your income.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 5:04 PM
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75

I was musing recently about how much better I've gotten at commenting on Unfogged.

This explains why I've been going backwards. Conservation of ineptitude.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 7:31 PM
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61: (Not the silly stuff, but where I'm genuinely trying to contribute.)

Sometimes the dumb thread thinks about her old friend heebie and wonders what she is up to.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-08 8:04 PM
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41: This does not explain why lower SES kids not in the program catch up in IQ.

? Sure it does. All you have to do is assume that IQ is much more strongly a function of current and recent past environment than of early childhood environment. Three kids -- Low SES No Intervention Kid; Low SES Preschool Kid; Middle Class Enriched Environment Kid. When they're all four or five, Preschool Kid and Middle Class Kid have both been in an enriched environment compared to No Intervention Kid, so they both test higher than NIK. When they're 12, Preschool Kid and No Intervention Kid have been in the same unenriched environment for the last seven years or so, so their IQ's now look similar, while Middle Class Kid has remained in an enriched environment and is now therefore testing higher than either of the other two.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 5:23 AM
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77: Yeah, that seemed so obvious to me that I didn't get what the controversy was about. There's probably some technical term for it, but the phrase that came to mind for me was "hothouse flower effect".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 5:42 AM
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78: The "hothouse flower effect" is, it should be noted, distinct from The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-on-the-Moon Marigolds.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 5:56 AM
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77

"Sure it does. All you have to do is assume that IQ is much more strongly a function of current and recent past environment than of early childhood environment. ..."

Well the whole idea of early childhood programs like headstart is that this is not true in general, that if you wait until the kids are older it is too late. And I am unaware of any evidence that you can boost adult IQs significantly with this sort of intervention.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 11:21 AM
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80: But the learning environment for the SES disadvantaged is just so bad. Is it just the case that nobody has bothered to study the effects of 15 year long intervention program? I guess that's what the adoption studies are for.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 12:04 PM
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82

81 "... I guess that's what the adoption studies are for."

According to wikipedia, adoption shows the same pattern, IQ gains for young children which fade away.

"... For IQ, adoption studies show that, after adolescence, adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ than strangers (IQ correlation near zero), while full siblings show an IQ correlation of 0.6. ..."

and

"... Recent twin and adoption studies suggest that while the effect of the family environment is substantial in early childhood, it becomes quite small by late adolescence. ..."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 4:54 PM
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the whole idea of early childhood programs

I'm hurt,Shearer, you don't even read the posts. The non-IQ effects aren't good enough for you?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 6:56 PM
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83

"I'm hurt,Shearer, you don't even read the posts. The non-IQ effects aren't good enough for you?"

"In general" was meant to include non-IQ effects. Perhaps such programs do have a lasting effect on other positive traits besides IQ although it will take more than one study to convince me. This could make such programs worthwhile. But it is not how they are being sold. People are complaining that the schools are not preparing poor kids to compete with rich kids for intellectually demanding high status jobs not that they are failing to teach poor kids to work hard and respect authority so they will be able to stay out of jail and hold simple low status jobs.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 10:02 PM
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84 is just a masterful, masterful troll.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-08 10:03 PM
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