Intelligence predicts educational achievement pretty well

This 5-year prospective longitudinal study of 70,000+ English children examined the association between psychometric intelligence at age 11 years and educational achievement in national examinations in 25 academic subjects at age 16. The correlation between a latent intelligence trait (Spearman’s g from CAT2E) and a latent trait of educational achievement (GCSE scores) was 0.81. General intelligence contributed to success on all 25 subjects. Variance accounted for ranged from 58.6% in Mathematics and 48% in English to 18.1% in Art and Design. Girls showed no advantage in g, but performed significantly better on all subjects except Physics. This was not due to their better verbal ability. At age 16, obtaining five or more GCSEs at grades A⁎–C is an important criterion. 61% of girls and 50% of boys achieved this. For those at the mean level of g at age 11, 58% achieved this; a standard deviation increase or decrease in g altered the values to 91% and 16%, respectively.

That is from a new paper by Deary, Strand, Smith, and Fernandez, via Noah Carl.


Not a surprise, smart people are better at picking up on the signaling game and getting that sheepskin.

They're also better at putting down the Gameboy and doing their homework. Remember California just banned wearing sheepskin and other animal products, but smart people still are more likely to succeed.

Ok Boomer, it's a called a Nintendo Switch.

OK Zoomer, it's called the Ciaramella

I, Eric Ciaramella am just another government grunt and did not blow the whistle on that dufas of a president.

I did not blow the whistle on child rapists Epstein, Bill Clinton and a hundred or so mandarins. And, CBS fired me for it.

58.6% in Math and 48% in English is an assault on liberty. It's the drop rate that matters most. Ouch.

Those are variances and not assaults on Liberty Prime. Which will always fail because it is 60 feet tall and armed with both machine guns and missiles.

And powered by nukes, so many nukes

And so wise:

"Democracy.... is non-negotiable."
"Communist detected on American soil. Lethal force engaged."
"Communism is a temporary setback on the road to freedom."
"Embrace democracy or you will be eradicated."
"Democracy will never be defeated."
"Emergency Communist Acquisition Directive: immediate self destruct. Better dead, than Red."

Is there any high end to GCSE scores, the equivalent of getting an 800 on an SAT test?

No, for similar reasons to why there’s no equivalent for the AP exams. You must do a minimum number of GCSE exams but there’s no limit to how many you can do.

Shorter summary of this post by TC: education is--contrary to what TC believes--indeed signaling.

Personally, I always have my bread backed by someone who testing has shown has great potential to learn how to bake bread rather than someone who actually knows how to bake it. It makes breakfast much more exciting. Who know what I'll get next? A burned biscuit? Some kind of unleavened pancake? There's no way to tell!

+1 If my father wasn't dead, I'd wonder if your post came from him. Actual achievement > tests that explain ~50% of the variance.

I wonder when policy makers will finally start to take the idea of intelligence seriously.

They deny evolution exists.

The problem is defining what "the idea of intelligence" actually is. All we learn from this paper is that they used an intelligence test that correlates with academic test-taking ability.

And conduct the test after the subjects have had 6+ years of institutionalization. It is a measure of those who have not "got with the program" vs those who've developed reasonable survival techniques.

The one thing schools will not teach students is how to do their job, i.e., study. The student is left to organically discover coping mechanisms unless they have "educated" parents to advise them.

"It is, perhaps, unnecessary to collect proofs that young people do not learn how to study, because teachers admit the fact very generally. Indeed, it is one of the common subjects of complaint among teachers in the elementary school, in the high school, and in the college. All along the line teachers condole with one another over this evil, college professors placing blame on the instructors in the high school, and the latter passing it down to teachers in the elementary school. Parents who supervise their children's studies, or who otherwise know about their habits of work, observe the same fact with sorrow. It is at least refreshing to find one matter, in the much-disputed field of education, on which teachers and parents are well agreed."
--How to Study and Teaching How to Study (1909) by F. M. McMurry

The Chinese already do:

The paper is not new, it's from 2007.

What do you think has changed about the correlation between intelligence and academic achievement in the last 12 years?

Why is there so much resistance to the idea that intelligence helps one succeed academically? I wouldn't think anyone would object to the notion that athleticism helps one succeed in athletics. The corollary to denying that natural talent exists is that anyone that doesn't succeed in academics (or athletics) just isn't trying hard enough. That actually would be *more* stigmatizing of underachievers, or at least it would be if one values character.

Nor does admitting that natural talent matters deny anyone opportunity. The fact that athleticism matters in athletics doesn't make unathletic people ineligible to compete. After all, it's through competition that talent is revealed.

Finally, the case for wealth redistribution is actually made stronger by admitting that people differ in their natural talents. If everyone started life with the same natural endowment of human capital, then differences in wealth would result solely from one's personal choices and (mis-)application of that human capital. Why do any redistribution at all if low incomes were solely the result of squandering one's natural human capital?

The case for redistribution might be made stronger to some (the most educated or the most intelligent?) but I think to the "man in the street" success being due to innate talent rather than (post birth) luck or material inheritance would make them less likely to support redistribution.

Religion (and it's interesting that it's pretty much any religion) teaches otherwise.

Which means, if I'm allowed to put on my evolutionary psychology hat, that's what we are.


(The North American Potlatch was probably the cleverest iteration, tying giving most directly to another human universal, status seeking.)

I suppose in modern parlance, the potlatch "gamified" charity.

Always thought potlatc was a primitive substitute for a financial market

There is resistance to intelligence research, because research shows intelligence is both highly heritable and differs predictably by race. It undermines core beliefs about fairness and meritocracy that are arguably built on more foundational Judeo-Christian beliefs.

After all, what kind of fair world is it, where the most numerous population on earth, Sub-Saharan Africans, have an IQ in the low 80's. And the only way to increase that IQ is by having a small portion of them breed with a higher IQ population over several generations, as African-Americans have done, to the point they are now around 30% European genetically.

Most people cannot grasp this stuff, and even if they can, there is too much cognitive dissonance to acknowledge it.

There is nothing in this post about race.

You want to convince me, Realist, just show me the genetic differences that lead to low performance on IQ tests and show their average frequency is higher or lower in different "races" in real life and not your imagination. (Quotes around the word "races" because not even Hitler could keep straight what a race is or even how many there are supposed to be, and you'd think he'd be something of an expert.)

Two statements:

1) In the US, a set of individuals from multiple ethnic groups who have the same IQ score each have the same genetic potential for intelligence.

2) In the US, if you have a set of individuals from multiple ethnic groups who have the same IQ score, then of these individuals, in potential, the Black person is superior to the Hispanic person, who is superior to the White person, who is superior to the Chinese, who is superior to the Jew.

(In Australia, I guess you could add "The Australian Native is superior to the Black person..." to that list).

Which of these seems more racist? Which of these is more parsimonious and requires a lower burden of proof?

We've got the genotypes. Just point out the genetic variants correlated with low IQ test results that differ in frequency between populations. There's no need to beat around the bush these days. You can go straight for the jugular.

The more educational opportunities are equal, would we not expect the stronger the correlation between intelligence and educational achievement? What would be the definition of unequal opportunity *other than* that, due to lack of resources and/or access, more talented individuals are not able to translate that talent into better outcomes over less talented, privileged individuals? It would seem that an emphasis on ensuring equal opportunity necessarily implies a pre-existing belief in unequal distribution of natural talent.

"Girls showed no advantage in g, but performed significantly better on all subjects except Physics."

Is this because: (a) teachers are implicitly biased against boys in their teaching, (b) educational achievement tests are culturally biased against boys, or (c) girls are more conscientious and work harder than boys?

It’s C.

Girls have an advantage in course grades which are more weighted toward following directions, etc. Guys have some advantage on standardized tests but if the exam is content based and requires studying they will probably do worse.

I suspect it’s mostly C and other gender differences, like agreeableness, though A and B are probably also true to some small degree, since women run education.

You missed the point about girls struggling in physics. Is this because: (a) girls are less intelligent than boys, (b) girls are less interested in physics than boys, and/or (c) boys work harder at it?

In Mathematics, girls with average ability started to score as well as boys in the 1980s. This was also when Math problems became more wordy.

It’s funny, because I thought, oh, that’s like that other paper by Dreary with exactly the same results that I read a while back.

Not a new paper. And not surprising results. Except to people in the dark on the basics.

A five year span (age 11 to measure intelligence to age 16 to measure achievement) seems a short period . I suppose the advantage is that it reduces the extraneous forces that might affect the two. But wouldn't the goal of reducing the extraneous forces be an acknowledgment that extraneous forces affect the two? Underachievers often become overachievers once in college and beyond when extraneous forces are greatest. One might ask if the obsession with intelligence is to identify those most likely to succeed and to encourage and promote them so everyone can benefit from their innate talent or is to rationalize the status quo. Then there's the anomaly, Donald Trump. By all objectively observable measures he is successful; indeed, he has ascended to the highest office in the land. Yet, he is obsessed with his intelligence (he refers to himself as a "genius") and reacts with great anger if his intelligence is questioned (Hurricane Dorian and Alabama). One might ask if he was identified at an earlier age as lacking intelligence (his grades at Penn are guarded like a state secret).

You do remember when Obama released his college transcripts, right? Neither does anyone else. Obama’s the guy who declared he was a better X than his X, going on to list 3 or 4 senior advisor positions.

Point missed. Trump's obsession with his own intelligence is not that much different from this blog's obsession with intelligence. Conditioning. It's what our brains do. Even when, or especially when, it's counter-productive.

I remember when Al Gore and George Bush released their university transcripts, and Bush, who was expected to be revealed as a dumbass legacy C student, had better B level grades than Al “planet saviour” Gore.

The problem with Trump isn’t his intelligence or lack there of. He’s clearly vastly more intelligent than the norm. The problem is that he’s vain and perhaps incurious. But he’s also fearless enough to take on the swamp. And thus well suited to serve as the bull in a china shop / battering ram he was selected to be. Personally I said to myself “he can’t be any worse than a dislikeable Hillary Rodham Clinton.” And he’s been fine. I’ve yet to see him do something any bluedawg Dem wouldn’t also do.

Neither Bush nor Gore released transcripts. They were leaked to the New Yorker and Washington Post. Both were roughly average students.

You can always spot a "centrist," the guy who shouts "Obama" when you say "Trump."

Good to see a lefty bristle a bit about hipocacy. Shows there's still a twinge of self awareness left.

But sad to see an independent never-Trumper filed again into "the other side."

In a Warren/Trump/Romney three-way, my ranked choice vote would be Romney/Warren/abstain.

A genuine centrist ranking would be Romney, Trump, the first 2,000 people from the Boston telephone directory and never a former member of the Harvard faculty.

One can spot the partisans easily, yes. Rayward goes off on a tangent about Trump, triggering the usual back and forth.

The sanctimonious partisans are like anonymous. Refuse to engage in specifics or concrete examples. All rage and sound bites. And when asked for specifics, retreat into hysterics and faux moral outrage.

The motivated reasoning always makes them leap 100 miles ahead of the evidence of any news story, leading to absurd conclusions that turn out to be wrong.

Sure, sure. A "true centrist" could not spot any problem in national governance, in the middle of an impeachment no less, without being taken by the hand.

A reason not to bother, if you ask me

No hand holding for fakers. For "centrists" who can't fill in the blanks.

Is Brazil the Donald Trump of nations?

Whaddabout Obama? Invoked when your MAGA rebuttal gun has run out of ammo......again.

Anyway, I think the headline result is mostly a tautology. Being what we call "intelligent" is being good at what we call "education," so no surprise.

People who are already good at something, continue to be good at it.

It doesn't seem to address what remediations might deflect people who start out less good.

Now that all these bright kids are all grown:

how will they vote next month?

Yes. We all know this by now: education does not generate intelligence; education refines intelligence, an inborn trait.

I’m friends with a guy who doesn’t fit into the “our test predict scholastic success” paradigm. He simply reads and writes poorly, but he is very skilled and even artistic as a carpenter. He has memorized the scripts of many movies word for word. He is a self-taught guitarist and knows the chords and lyrics of dozens of songs. He likes motorcycles and repairs them and is ingenious at fixing anything. He likes cooking and makes lots of complex recipes. He worked in the kitchens of several restaurants prior to the carpenter career and became fluent in Spanish. He is unusual but not that unusual; I bet that many of you have encountered people like this.
I am not arguing that the intelligence/achievement correlation isn’t generally true, but I do think that it is less than perfectly congruent and risks missing real people with real talent. I have the impression that my friend was deemed a poor student in grade school and got a high school diploma mainly because the local football coach pressured the other teachers to keep him eligible to play.

First question:

Omitted variable: - socioeconomic status?

One thing missing here is orientation toward schooling. Some people are oriented to like school and get graduate degrees without being particularly bright. I've met dozens of them. Some people hate school and are oriented toward achievement. If you look at the cv of 100 rock stars, hardly any went to music school. So smarter people will find school easier but that doesn't mean they only want to study.

This really isn't a new paper. Apparently it's been cited > 1400 times. Is there actually something new out?

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