Re: [xmca] In case you missed it

Date: Sun Jan 21 2007 - 15:13:25 PST

I have for long been interested in the capacity of people to
believe false information and fail to accept contrary
evidence even in the absence of social pressure, desire to
protect one's patch, and so on. Murray's article led me to
think of the APA volume edited by Neisser which was supposed
to explain rising intelligence but failed to ask obvious
questions about how IQ tests are scored and how this
process interacts with the demographic patterns of
schooling. The Flynn "evidence", for example, is based on
scores from samples which differ in age-grade composition.
How can this "phlogiston effect", concept obviously wrong
but lasted for 100 years, be interpreted by CHAT? What
determines the body of knowledge that mediates a belief? How
much information is needed? Can a zoped, as a possibility
for change in scientific ideas, arise on the basis of
mediation by a single contrary explanation or does it depend
upon two or more sources? I was thinking here of the late
Graham Nutthall's finding that a student learnt a concept
when he/she had encountered the information needed to
understand it at least three times. The information could
come from different sources. I wonder whether CHAT offers a
complementary message to the sociological one offered by
Kuhn. When I asked Mike whether he knew of any work along
CHAT lines he suggested that I should float these ideas on
xmca and so I am doing just that.

----- Original Message Follows -----
> Well, Murray's articles in the WSJ seem to make a
> great case that whatever your IQ test score and
> level of education, you can still hold stupid
> opinions if your class biases favor them! You can
> even be impermeable to decades of intellectual
> progress around notions of IQ, intelligences, and
> learning. This may be different from retardation,
> but mainly in lacking a clear biological deficit to
> explain it.
> If you make up a test on which everyone gets the
> same score, no one will pay any attention to your
> test or consider it useful. The whole point of
> "testing" is to rank people from superior to
> inferior, and thereby justify the claims of the
> former to privilege. Of course in the beginning
> IQ-like testing was just meant to identify those
> with biological learning handicaps which were
> mild enough that the learners could be helped by
> known methods. That is "diagnostic" testing, and
> while not wonderfully reliable, it's morally and
> politically justifiable.
> It is also possible to make up a test which will
> identify anyone or any group you wish as being
> the superior one. What naturalizes IQ tests as
> not being "arbitrary" in this sense is their
> class-based ideology. Indeed class-based
> ideologies to which most of us have a hard time not
> subscribing. Though we try.
> So let's give our devil his due, as well. Are
> there people going into liberal arts education
> programs, or science programs, in colleges, which
> are designed (or have evolved by tradition) so as
> to work best for middle-class and upper-middle
> class students (in terms of their learning
> styles, language using styles, and general
> dispositions toward high academic culture), and
> for whom we can reasonably predict (by one test
> or another, or even in an interview) that
> academic success is unlikely? yes, I think so.
> Should we therefore save society's money by
> keeping them out? or can we expect that their
> presence will push fossilized institutions like
> universities to find different ways to educate
> people? or can we reasonably hope that if they
> are assisted over 2-3 years, they will get the
> hang of our modes of teaching, and manage to get
> degrees and maybe some degree of education as well?
> I think we are wasting social resources if we
> continue to factory-process young people through
> superficial educational programs. This applies to
> those more likely to get degrees as well as those
> less likely to. And I don't think universities
> are going to change without a major crisis, or
> even then. As educational systems, they are as
> outmoded and dysfunctional as schools, and for
> most of the same reasons. In fact, in many
> universities, students discover that you can get
> a degree without getting a very good education,
> or alternatively you can aim for the education
> and if lucky still manage to get the degree. Most
> seem to choose the first path, and while I don't
> have data on this (and I'd like to see some), my
> own experience is that working-class students are
> at least as likely to seek real education and
> understanding in college as are students from
> privileged backgrounds, and possibly more so.
> IQ is not a test of wisdom, thoughtfulness,
> critical awareness, multiplicity of viewpoints,
> openness to new perspectives, or ability to learn
> with and through interactions with others ...
> which I would say are pretty good hallmarks,
> along with intellectual humility and a sense of
> humor ... of what I would call "genuine
> intelligence". Universities are not places that
> institutionally care about serious education
> (except in this or that special program or
> course), or by and large know how to provide it
> to a very wide range of diverse students.
> If higher education mainly exists to provide the
> docile, competent workforce of capitalist
> fantasies, then Murray is certainly right that it
> could be managed a lot more "efficiently".
> (Though not with IQ tests.) If it exists to offer
> people the opportunity to learn how to re-think
> and re-work the society we live in, then it's not
> doing a very good job and isn't really structured
> to succeed at that. If it's also a social tool to
> help those with few other assets (as valued by
> dominant interests) to gain enough leverage that
> they might (might!) become agents for change and
> social justice, then it's a creaky, treacherous
> one. But it is one, and that's reason enough for
> some to want to eliminate even this small risk to
> the perpetuation of their class privileges.
> JAY.
> At 11:33 AM 1/17/2007, you wrote:
> >Thanks, David.
> >I take it Sternberg's letter has not yet been
> >published. Do we know if it will be?
> > Meanwhile, here's Murray's second piece in today's
> paper: >Too many Americans are going to college
> >
> >
> >On Wed, 17 Jan 2007, David Preiss wrote:
> >
> >>Dear colleagues,
> >>
> >>Please see below a letter sent by Robert
> >>Sternberg to WSJ as an answer to Murray's piece.
> >>
> >>David
> >>
> >>Charles Murray's "Intelligence in the
> >>Classroom" is an article by a non-scientist
> >>filled with serious distortions and
> >>misunderstandings of the current state of
> >>scientific theory and research on intelligence.
> >>
> >>First, Murray is roughly correct in the
> >>assertion that "Half of all children are below
> >>average in intelligence." This is true in the
> >>same sense that half of today's children are
> >>below the median (not average) in height, or
> >>below the median age of the population. But
> >>median heights have risen greatly over the past
> >>several generations, as have median age
> >>spans. Indeed, research by James Flynn shows
> >>conclusively that median IQs have risen as well
> >>since 1900. Contrary to the tone of Murray's
> >>comments, most of the increase is due to the
> >>so-called general factor, not to other factors.
> >>So Murray's comments regarding possibilities
> >>for educational achievement make no sense. A
> >>child of today with an IQ of 100 would have
> >>been scored as having a substantially higher IQ
> >>100 years ago. Given that the increase in IQs
> >>has been about 9 points per generation, that
> >>person would have had an IQ in excess of 127 at
> >>that time, which would have led to educational
> >>predictions very different from Murray's
> >>doom-and-gloom predictions. Similarly, a
> >>6-footer today is not much above average and
> >>would not be considered particularly tall,
> >>whereas 100 years ago, he or she would have
> >>been looked at as exceptionally tall.
> >>
> >>Second, IQ is NOT a "ceiling," and I don't know
> >>of any responsible psychologist who believes it
> >>is. IQ gives rough prediction of a child's
> >>school performance, as does socioeconomic
> >>status, motivation, and any other number of
> >>variables. But none of these variables sets a
> >>ceiling on children's performance. First, they
> >>are all highly imperfect predictors--success is
> >>multi-factorial. Second, they are subject to error of
> >>measurement. Third, they are not etched in
> >>stone. Research by Stephen Ceci and others has
> >>shown that IQ increases as a function of
> >>schooling, and that it is the schooling that is
> >>responsible for the increase, not the other way around.
> >>
> >>Third, the temporary effects of interventions
> >>to increase intelligence are in large part
> >>because the interventions themselves are
> >>temporary and usually extremely
> >>short-lived. If you have a child living in
> >>extreme poverty, in a challenging and possibly
> >>dangerous environment, and with parents who are
> >>not in a position to provide the best possible education
> for >>their children, it is not surprising that short
> >>interventions--the kinds most easily funded by
> >>grants--are difficult to maintain. Consider an
> >>oft-made analogy to exercise. You can exercise
> >>to improve your muscles. But if you stop
> >>exercising, your muscles revert to what they
> >>were before. The same is true of your
> >>intelligence, and research by Carmi Schooler and others
> shows precisely that. >>
> >>Fourth, it is fallacious to believe that brain
> >>development is etched in stone. Research by
> >>William Greenough, Marian Diamond, and others
> >>has shown that learning changes the
> >>brain--permanently. Experience matters for
> >>brain development. Charles Murray had the good
> >>fortune to be exposed to experiences that
> >>children in many parts of the United States and
> >>elsewhere never will have. Indeed, children
> >>growing up in war zones often need to devote
> >>all their resources just to staying
> >>alive. They cannot have the kind of schooling
> >>that optimizes their scores on the tests of which Mr.
> Murray is so fond. >>
> >>Fifth, our own peer-reviewed, published
> >>research has shown that broader measures of
> >>abilities--based on the "multiple
> >>intelligences" that Murray disdains--can
> >>substantially improve prediction of academic
> >>success at the college level at the same time
> >>that they reduce ethnic-group differences.
> >>These assessments do not replace traditional
> >>measures--they supplement them. They are not
> >>"refutations" of the existence of the
> >>analytical skills measured by tests of general
> >>ability, but rather, demonstrations that such
> >>measures are relatively narrow and incomplete
> >>in their measurements of abilities. These
> >>conventional tests measure important skills,
> >>but not the only skills that matter for
> >>academic and other forms of success. Indeed,
> >>teaching to a broader range of abilities, our
> >>research shows, also can significantly improve school
> >>achievement over teaching that is more narrowly focused.
> >>
> >>In sum, Murray's column gives a false and
> >>misleading view of the state of research on
> >>intelligence. I blieve responsible scientists
> >>will not take it seriously. Unfortunately, many
> >>laypeople will not be in a position to
> >>realize that the statements are seriously
> >>misleading and paint a picture of research on
> >>intelligence that does not correspond to reality.
> >>
> >>Robert J. Sternberg
> >>
> >>(Robert J. Sternberg is Dean of the School of
> >>Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology
> >>at Tufts University. Previously, he was IBM
> >>Professor of Psychology and Education and
> >>Professor of Management at Yale University and
> >>President of the American Psychological Association.)
> >>
> >>On Jan 16, 2007, at 5:51 PM, J. Mark Jackson wrote:
> >>
> >>>This article ran in today's WSJ. The link
> >>>below takes you directly to the full article without
> registration. >>>Scary, very scary!
> >>>
> ,filter.all/pub_detail.asp >>>
> >>>Mark
> >>>
> >>>_______________________________________________
> >>>xmca mailing list
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>David Preiss, Ph.D.
> >>Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
> >>
> >>Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
> >>Escuela de Psicología
> >>Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
> >>Macul, Santiago
> >>Chile
> >>
> >>Fono: 3544605
> >>Fax: 3544844
> >>e-mail:
> >>web personal:
> >>web institucional:
> >>
> >>
> >>_______________________________________________
> >>xmca mailing list
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Tony Whitson
> >UD School of Education
> >NEWARK DE 19716
> >
> >
> >_______________________________
> >
> >"those who fail to reread
> > are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> > -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> Jay Lemke
> Professor
> University of Michigan
> School of Education
> 610 East University
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Tel. 734-763-9276
> Email.
> Website.
> <>
> _______________________________________________ xmca
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