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IQ tests should be used to select students for university, says government's adviser

  1. Dec 22, 2003 #1
    IQ tests should be used to select students for university, says government's adviser
    By Richard Garner, Education Editor
    10 December 2003

    IQ-style tests are more reliable than A-levels in predicting how well a student will do at university, according to research published yesterday.

    The tests are believed by academics to give working-class youngsters - whose A-level results may have suffered because of poor schooling - an even chance of entering university.

    Complete text at http://education.independent.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=471813 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2003 #2
    Since university is about making money and since IQ test admittance would drastically cut down the customer base I expect the advisor who made this report still has ringing in his ears from the laughter.
  4. Dec 23, 2003 #3
    I'd like to believe that if you consider your statement for thirty seconds you'll see why it's ludicrous. Are you not aware that universities have a surplus of applicants? They turn people down all the time in America based on low SATs and poor grades, because SAT scores and grades are excellent predictors of future performance in college.

  5. Dec 23, 2003 #4


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    Actually, this might be of some benefit to the working class as the article suggested. Kids who are naturally smart but whose parents don't have the resources to send them to a private school where they can be "groomed" for college with college prep courses, or those who live in underperforming school districts or just underperformers in school because of boredom have a chance for elite college admissions.
  6. Dec 23, 2003 #5

    I'd like to believe that I've upset you in a way that will lead you away from your naivete.

    "They turn people down all the time" doesn't mean "they" don't also function to maintain a maximum number of customers, even if some behave in a way that is more discriminating. The existence of community colleges means that there really isn't anyone who can't get a college education as long as they don't forfeit their student loans with a gpa that sinks below 2.0 (or about that). Ours just built a big student activity center. Hugely expensive but obviously an investment in order to entice future customers. At the end of the day it's a business. Requiring folks to pass an IQ test would diminish the customer base so severely that there would be no way in the world to make a profit. Those who live in the real world know this which is why I strongly suspect that the poor advisor who made this report heard mean hysterical laughter from the other side of the door as he was leaving the office and likely will never understand why. School is a jobs creation project and it must necessarily be run like a business. The stuff you site as evidence to the contrary are just incidentals...
  7. Dec 23, 2003 #6
    There are plenty of majors you can choose if you're not too brainy. Who will inhabit those if you only let the brainy into college? Where do you think a lot of the money comes from to fund things like the chemistry labs (sports equipment, executive salaries etc. etc.). If your talking only of elite college admissions; does this mean the rest of us should just accept abject squalor because we couldn't get a certificate from an elite institution that allows us to secure that super job?

    Homeschoolers are admitted to elite colleges. How do they do it? College admissions officers want students who won't drop out and who are renowned for "teaching themselves". They aren't such unthinking cogs in a machine that they can't consider homeschoolers because there isn't the usual grade transcript to look at.

    The problem isn't that smart ppl. can't get into schools with high standards; the problem is that you can't live a humane life style without a super job secured with a certificate from one of those institutions. Either you're in a super job or you live like a peasant without health care or, for all intents and purposes, representation in a court of law, etc. Worrying about the gifted being able to get into Harvard is majoring in the minors. Whether you have this or that certificate shouldn't matter.
  8. Dec 23, 2003 #7


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    I don't know what your point is but considering most of my friends with far less education , many without college degrees, and less "elite" education are much more financially well off than I am with 12 years in "the iveys", I don't see this as a automatic job security....just a chance for those who did not have the social or educational status of the priveledged class to attend an elite university for their own enjoyment and edification.

    My twin sister is a college dropout and is a CEO making more in 1 month than I could in 10 years while my brother and I who went to years of top 3 Iveys are still paying off student loans and with much more humble salaries in academia...but we do enjoy our jobs My husband, a high school dropout started a custom made jeep bumper fabrication business and was making three times my salary (www.jeeperman.com) until he became a stay at home dad for our child and sold off the business but still has a small shareholder role.

    All I'm saying, is that these kids get to enjoy the benefit of a good teacher to student ratio, an academic environment that is much more conducive to research and inquiry that is the specialty (but not the sole perview of) an elite institution,, even though it doesn't gaurantee that they will live up to their fullest potential or even secure them the best jobs.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2003
  9. Dec 23, 2003 #8


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    Hey! Identical twins? Fraternal? Could I interest you in a little IQ test?
  10. Dec 23, 2003 #9


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    we are fraternal. She is way smarter than me but I have no idea what her or my IQ run! I'm almost afraid to find out what mine is! I'll be glad to subject myself for the sake of science. As for her, I'll see if she will deign herself for such a task.
  11. Dec 23, 2003 #10
    Actually you've amused me, but I was trying to find the most polite way of saying that and I see that the meaning got lost in translation.

    Not every college is a junior college. No one is suggesting the use of IQ tests to restrict applicants to junior colleges. But any college which is already using some sort of selection measure to trim down its applicants should use the best measures available in order to do so. To suggest that someone who finds a better way of doing what is done already would be laughed at is itself laughable.

  12. Dec 23, 2003 #11

    I don't recall mentioning "junior college". The selection measures are there for the sake of credibility. You don't look credible if you just let anyone on campus (although that's what Thomas Jefferson imagined) to do whatever they want. The idea of a selection process that would drastically cut the customer base would be met with a polite and unnecessarily friendly, "thank you, we'll look this over" to your face and a absent minded tossing into the circular file cabinet once you've left the room. Now, in a different kind of economy where the business, err, school could still be competitive and profitable with a customer base of those proportions things could work, but you'd have to change and adjust the whole entire world to do that. Look at it this way; imagine you wanted commercials to appeal only to the mentally sophisticated on the grounds that they make the wisest purchasing decisions. No one would want to be the first to institute such a thing because revenues would make that noise a straw makes when sucking the last bit of malted shake. It seems to me that requiring folks to pass an IQ test (assuming the minimum score has to be over, say, 105) would slice into all the colleges that admit the general public, which is most of them. Their revenues would shrink down to the budget of a lemonade stand; at least from their point of view.
  13. Dec 23, 2003 #12
    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt; Junior colleges don't worry too much about who applies. Universities do. Let me make it clear that I understand your position, but and I don't think you're getting it. Your comments about how they would be losing their customer base, and your analogies about commercials appealing to the elite, are completely irrelevant. Just because IQ is a good predictor doesn't mean they would be losing too many potential students by using it - they can set the cutoff as low as they like.

  14. Dec 24, 2003 #13
    Seems to me an IQ test where the cut off is the same as it is now ends up achieving the same thing.

    No worries about any misunderstandings. It comes with communication! We can always work them out given time. I don't believe in "debates" because I'm not about "winning" the debate; I'm about getting to the bottom of things. An exchange may even get heated, or seem that way, but I never take or mean anything personally.
  15. Jan 9, 2004 #14
    Sure debating is great. I find people who are in a debate to win it are extreamly immature. Like you, I'm just in it to find the facts.

    Now, I don't know about you guys, but I think that IQ tests are alright for some universities--not-so-good for others. Hey, what happens to those college-going people on the lower end of the IQ tower?
    Everyone deserves an education; high IQ or no.

    But, if you're one of those fancy-shmancy schools that want the ego rights, go on and take your high-IQ students. But most universities are just in it for the money. So what's a little intellegence number going to do for their profits?
    Absolutly nothing.

    Alright. I will admit that I don't know much about colleges quite yet. I'm 5 semesters away from college myself. So don't take my words to mind too quickly. :wink:
  16. Jan 11, 2004 #15
    Do they?

    Many often blithely insist that people "deserve" this or "deserve" that. To my mind, people deserve what they earn, and nothing more.

  17. Jan 11, 2004 #16
    Are you suggesting that people with low IQ numbers can't earn an education?

    I mean, sure, I agree with what you're saying. You're absolutly right. But if someone 'earns' an education, they should recieve one. Yes?
  18. Jan 16, 2004 #17

    Uh, oh my god.
  19. Jan 16, 2004 #18
    Well at least according to Arthur Jensen's Straight Talk About Menal Tests, intelligence has a threshold effect - below 50 IQ and you really can't make it through grade school, below 75 and you won't get through high school, below 100 and you can't pass college.

    I imagine that other factors come into play, but everything I know about the subject tells me that a 90 IQ individual with a Masters degree is incredibly rare.

    People deserve what they earn, yes.

    Have I offended you in some way? Or do you simply enjoy invoking divinities? How was my statement anything other than obvious?

  20. Jan 17, 2004 #19

    Inalienable rights are earned by being born. It seemed that the implication was that a person doesn't deserve inalienable rights until they've earned them (by, perhaps, accumulating a certain amount of money) since a person only deserves what they earn and "nothing more". Or maybe this wasn't the implication. The dilemma was deciding whether or not you were a retarded fascist. If so, I wouldn't bother engaging in a serious discussion; the same way, in RL, I just smile and walk away when someone declares that the moon landings were filmed in a studio in Burbank. There are times when one realizes that talking to someone just isn't going to be worth it. I was getting that feeling here... not always easy to be sure through the internet, ofcourse...
  21. Jan 17, 2004 #20


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    Inalienable rights in the US do not include any specified level of education, or of work or income. I know that the French and UN rights of man have a different take on this, derived from Rousseau (the US rights were derived from Montesquieu), but acceptance of UN does not obligate the US to change its basic philosophy.
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