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Alright my dewy-eyed, upwardly-mobile sons and daughters of the American Revolution—it’s high time to put away them crisp-cornered, technicolor Trapper Keepers you got atop your desks because we’re fitting to have a little IQ Test here that’ll determine whether you spend the next 4 years on the AP track or if you get the privilege of associating with the motley crew of illiterates, autistics and problem children who we force feed ritalin year in and year out like a bunch of geese with exceptionally poor concentration skills. However, even if you have the attention span of puppy in a Chuck E Cheese ball pit, you mustn’t fret, because the test is only going to be 8 questions long and they’re all multiple choice so statistically speaking you should be able to get at least 1 right just by guessing. Now, pick up them Ticonderogas and get yourself a piece of college-rule so we can get started:

Question 1:

A janky car is

 a.     Set very low to the ground
 b.     Rare
 c.     Sleek and desirable
 d.     Beaten up
 e.     Foreign made

Question 2:

Find the answer that best completes the analogy: Iron: Pants : Relaxer : ?

 a.    muscles
 b.    carpet
 c.    hair
 d.    mood
 e.    leather

Question 3:

Rearrange the following letters to make a word and choose the category in which it fits.


 a.     occupation
 b.     animal
 c.     store
 d.     city

Question 4:

Which of the following does not belong here?

Cassava, Corn, Yuca, Yam,

 a.     Cassava
 b.     Corn
 c.     Yuca
 d.     Yam
 e.     They all belong

Are we all finished? Good. Now, I want you all to flip your paper over to the other side and answer the next 4 questions just like you did the first 4.

Question 1:

A fecund tree is

 a.     bearing lots of fruit
 b.     changing colors for fall
 c.     bending in the wind
 d.     dried out and dying
 e.     I don’t know

Question 2:

Find the answer that best completes the analogy: FRUGAL : MISERLY :: RASH : ?

 a.     arrogant
 b.     profligate
 c.     spendthrift
 d.     foolhardy
 e.     polite

Question 3:

Rearrange the following letters to make a word and choose the category in which it fits.


 a.     city
 b.     fruit
 c.     bird
 d.     vegetable

Question 4:   

Which of the following does not belong here?

Apple, Marmalade, Cherry, Orange, Grape

 a.     Apple
 b.     Marmalade
 c.     Cherry
 d.     Orange
 e.     Grape

Alright children, before we get to the answers(1), I am going to give you a choice. Since the other teachers and I don’t feel like spending every waking hour of the day pouring over standardized test results, we’re only going to be accepting the answers to 4 of the 8 questions. Right now, you have to choose whether you want me to grade the first set of questions or the second set. Just put a big star on whichever side of the paper you want us to grade and you’re done for the day.

Now, how many of you think that the choice of what set of questions to use would be grouped by race/ethnicity? For instance, if the class I was giving the tests to was located in a predominantly white, rural county in Iowa, I’d say there’d be pretty good odds that most of the students would want me to grade their answers to the second set of questions. I’ve never spent any time in rural Iowa, but my hunch is that the landscape isn’t dotted with bodegas selling black hair care products or grocery stores that have cassava in the produce aisle. On the other hand, if I gave these tests to a bunch of 9th graders in the Bronx, I’d say it’s safe to assume most of them would have me grade the first set of questions as there’s a dearth of fecund foliage in Morris Heights and I’d imagine the Sedgewick Houses aren’t exactly teeming with parakeets.

IQ tests are a great test…of how good you are at taking tests

Both of the tests above are culturally biased. The only substantive difference between the two is that the second test is biased towards dominant upper-middle class white culture and, therefore, is representative of what you will find on a traditional IQ test. I present all this in light of a recent scandal that has erupted regarding a paper published by the Heritage Foundation alleging that providing amnesty for immigrants who have illegally entered the country would cost $6.3 trillion. The report itself, “The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer,” was unremarkable considering its source, insofar as it was predominantly political document with little to no economic validity. Basically, without getting too wonky, the Heritage study counts all of the negative effects of amnestying illegal immigrants (increased benefits costs in entitlement programs, higher education/infrastructure costs, etc) without calculating all of the ways in which immigrant populations drive economic growth by expanding the labor force and pumping more cash back into the economy. And, beyond that, the $6.3 trillion figure is based on a 50 year estimate, with the bulk of the calculated costs not coming until around 2050. A prediction of the economic impact of a given reform 50 years into the future is about as valid as anything you’d get from a fortune teller at a county fair. Hell, 50 years ago George Wallace was trying to physically block blacks from going to the University of Alabama, we were on the brink of nuclear war with The Soviet Union, China was an economic nobody and about half of Africa was still under colonial rule. How accurate do you think a 50 year economic projection made in 1963 would be today?

All of that aside, the truly scandalous bit about this report had less to do with what was in it and more to do with the beliefs of the person who wrote it. It turns out that one of the authors of the report, Jason Richwine, had written his PhD dissertation at Harvard on his contention that Hispanics were genetically predisposed to have lower IQs than white people. Or, as Richwine put it in the conclusion to his dissertation, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” Consider this to be The Bell Curve Redux: a heaping mess of disjointed and correlational statistics being used to prove the racial superiority of one group over another. Even in this day and age it might be tempting to give Richwine the benefit of the doubt and presume that he was simply a ignorant, yet well-meaning researcher who couldn’t see the forest for the trees. At least, it would have been tempting if Richwine didn’t publicly announce that he wasn’t apologizing for his work and if he hadn’t published two articles on the white supremacist website in 2010.

Nope, turns out the dude is just an unabashed racist. I don’t care how high Jason Richwine scored on his IQ test, the man is fucking moron.


1Answers to Test #1 are: d) beaten up, c) hair, c) store, and b) corn

Answers to Test #2 are: a) bearing lots of fruit, d) foolhardy, c) bird, b) marmalade

Originally posted to Virally Suppressed on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shudder to Think What a Test Based on Any of Our (9+ / 0-)

    Native cultures would look like.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:43:53 PM PDT

  •  Let's give those Mexicans a test on hockey rules! (11+ / 0-)

    And yacht racing.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:26:14 PM PDT

  •  thank you for such a clear example. (27+ / 0-)

    I'm laughing because I have lived in cities for the last 30 years and, though I'm white, I found the answers to the first set of questions rolled out of my head much faster than the second.

    It's great to have such a clear example of how testing can be biased.

  •  isn't the bigger problem here that Harvard (10+ / 0-)

    gave this guy a degree based on using this study for his dissertation?

    Why is Harvard supporting this? Do they not see the deep flaws and biases in testing? Or are they supporting an agenda of racism?

  •  maybe I'm too smart for my own good .... (7+ / 0-)

    ... I got all 8 questions right.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Mon May 13, 2013 at 09:23:43 PM PDT

    •  geesh, I didn't understand a word, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, howabout, MKSinSA

      and got only one right and was completely infuriated about the idiot who made that test.

      One thing is clear, I won't let my son take any IQ tests in this country. We don't need a test to know that 95 percent of Americans think we are too dumb.

  •  what if you got all 8 answers right? (9+ / 0-)

    guess i've always been bi-cultural

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 13, 2013 at 09:36:49 PM PDT

    •  That is pretty impressive. (7+ / 0-)

      I feel embarrassed that I gave up after having no clue as to the first three!

      And yet it was already illustrative of how easy it is for a test to be culturally biased.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:36:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "janky" is the one (9+ / 0-)

      I never heard of.  But I realized that this test was culturally biased.  This diary did a great job of demonstrating that to all of us.  Tipped and recommended.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:15:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok, i had to guess janky (5+ / 0-)

        but that is what good test takers do--they guess at the likely answers when they are not 100% sure.

        i was sure about the others.  :-D

        back in the 70s there was a longer snarky test called the B.I.T.C.H. (Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity)

        Out of the 200 students who participated in the original sample the 100 black students answered 87/100 answers correctly and the whites answered 51/100 questions correctly.
        The test was publicized by this episode of Good Times (without being referred to by name since that word could not be said on television).  This episode was so controversial some affiliates did not air it.  Michael, the very bright younger son, refused to take an IQ test because he thought it was culturally biased.  His low score recommended him to go to trade school, and back in those days when students were in "the track system", a low test score set the whole path of your life.

        His parents Florida and James go to the school to complain about the test:

        Cultural aside: it was incredibly cool back then to see a black family on TV with a mother and a father.  To also show them getting involved in their son's education by going to meet with the test administrator?   Norman Lear was showing black people as they had never been shown on TV before.

        I can't find the whole B.I.T.C.H. test on the net, but here are a few questions.  I don't know nine of these, and this is only a small portion of the test.  I vaguely remember from the original that I did not know a lot of them (my early childhood was relatively middle class), so sadly I would have brought the black average way down!

        1. Alley Apple is
        a) brick
        b) piece of fruit
        c) dog
        d) horse

        2. CPT means a standard of
        a) time
        b) tune
        c) tale
        d) twist

        3. Deuce-and-a-quarter is
        a) money
        b) a car
        c) a house
        d) dice

        4. The eagle flies means
        a) the blahs
        b) a movie
        c) payday
        d) deficit

        5. Gospel Bird is a
        a) pheasant
        b) chicken
        c) goose
        d) duck

        6. "I know you, shame" means
        a) You don't hear well
        b) You are a racist
        c) You don't mean what you're saying
        d) You are guilty

        7. Main Squeeze means
        a) to prepare for battle
        b) a favorite toy
        c) a best girlfriend
        d) to hold up someone

        8. Nose Opened means
        a) flirting
        b) teed off
        c) deeply in love
        d) very angry

        9. Playing the dozens means
        a) playing the numbers
        b) playing baseball
        c) insulting a person's parents
        d) playing with women

        10) Shucking means
        a) talking
        b) thinking
        c) train of thought
        d) wasting time

        11) Stone fox means
        a) bitchy
        b) pretty
        c) train of thought
        d) wasting time

        12) T. C. B. means
        a) that's cool baby
        b) taking care of business
        c) they couldn't breathe
        d) took careful behavior

        Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity

        1. A "handkerchief head" is:
        a. a cool cat
        b. a porter
        c. an Uncle Tom
        d. a hoddi
e. a preacher

        2. Which word is most out of place here?
        a. splib
        b. blood
        c. gray
        d. spook
        e. black

        3. A "gas head" is a person who has a:
        a. fast-moving car
        b. stable of "lace"
        c. "process"
        d. habit of stealing cars

        e. long jail record for arson

        4. "Bo Diddley" is a:
        a. game for children
        b. down-home cheap wine
        c. down-home singer
        d. new dance
        e. Moejoe call

        5. "Hully Gully" came from:
        a. East Oakland
        b. Fillmore
        c. Watts
        d. Harlem
        e. Motor City

        6. Cheap chitlings (not the kind you purchase at a frozen food counter) will taste rubbery unless they are cooked long enough. How soon can you quit cooking them to eat and enjoy them?
        a. 45 minutes
        b. 2 hours
        c. 24 hours
        d. 1 week (on a low flame)
        e. 1 hour

        7. What are the "Dixie Hummingbirds?"
        a. part of the KKK
        b. a swamp disease
        c. a modern gospel group
        d. a Mississippi Negro paramilitary group
        e. Deacons

        8. If you throw the dice and 7 is showing on the top, what is facing down?
        a. 7
        b. snake eyes
        c. boxcars
        d. little Joes'
        e. 11

        9. "Jet" is:
        a. an East Oakland motorcycle club
        b. one of the gangs in "West Side Story"
        c. a news and gossip magazine
        d. a way of life for the very rich

        10. T-Bone Walker got famous for playing what?
        a. trombone
        b. piano
        c. "T-Flute”
        d. guitar
        e. hambone

        11. "Bird" or "Yardbird" was the "jacket" that jazz lovers from coast to coast hung on:
        a. Lester Young
        b. Peggy Lee
        c. Benny Goodman
        d. Charlie Parker
        e. "Birdman of Alcatraz"

        12. Hattie Mae Johnson is on the Country. She has four children and her husband is now in jail for non-support, as he was unemployed and was not able to give her any money. Her welfare check is now $286 per month. Last night she went out with the highest player in town. If she got pregnant, then nine months from now how much more will her welfare check be?
        a. $80
        b. $2
        c. $35
        d. $150
        e. $100

        13. "Money don't get everything it's true."
        a. but I don't have none and I'm so blue
        b. but what it don't get I can't use
        c. so make do with what you've got

        d. but I don't know that and neither do you

        14. How much does a short dog cost?
        a. $0.15
        b. $2.00
        c. $0.35
        d. $0.05
        e. $0.86 plus tax

        15. Many people say that "Juneteenth" (June 19) should be made a legal holiday because this was the day when:
        a. the slaves were freed in the USA
        b. the slaves were freed in Texas
        c. the slaves were freed in Jamaica
        d. the slaves were freed in California
        e. Martin Luther King was born
        f. Booker T. Washington died

        most of the answers are here.

        I would like to see a test like this with more analogies that require analytical thinking, instead of general cultural knowledge, but it does make the point.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 14, 2013 at 07:19:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Short Dog (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I went to Short Dog's house. They was watching Yo! MTV Raps. What's the haps on the craps?
          Different short dog... I don't think a short dog costs the same today as it did when that test was written. $.15? Damn. I could throw one hell of a party if they were that cheap.

          "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel." -Sepp Herberger

          by surfbird007 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:55:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "that is what good test-takers do" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, TrueBlueMajority

          Which is exactly what's wrong with the testing model: even more than assessing the person's grasp of the subject matter, it is assessing the person's aptitude at taking tests.

          •  exactly right, Batya the Toon (0+ / 0-)

            i could possibly get a decent grade on a multiple choice test in an area I know nothing at all about, just by using common test taker tricks.

            my aptitude at taking tests is naturally high.  they charge folks hundreds of dollars to take classes in what I taught myself on my own!   look for answers that are similar.  try to eliminate one or two answers using common sense.  when all else fails, choose the longest answer.  etc.

            "test taking only tests test taking"

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:40:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Assumptions, too (5+ / 0-)

      We ain't got no bodegas in Mudpuddle, but we also ain't seen no parakeets, and "fecund" is a word the Baptist preacher says'll sind you to Hail.

      Rural Iowa, like rural everywhere, is culturally discriminated against by any attempt at cultural redress, because all self-conscious "cultures" are alien to the group that is so interspersed and sparse that it does not develop any culture except that which all others reject as "rubes" and "backwards."

      However, I got all eight on account of books and living in da Branx.

      "...ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be." - Juliana of Norwich

      by The Geogre on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:48:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what's more disturbing, is that (11+ / 0-)

    mr. richwine received his phd from Harvard in 2009, not 30 or 40 years ago. in addition, it appears those responsible for passing judgment on it scarcely bothered reading it, as it asserted much the same non-scientifically based conclusions as the paper published under the heritage foundation aegis.

    Harvard is quickly turning into a joke.

  •  I'd like to throw the book at Richwine... (15+ / 0-)

    the book in question being "The Mismeasure of Man" by Stephen Jay Gould. I'd make sure it was the hardcover version, and hit him square in the face.

    Gould must be turning over in his grave with Harvard now approving turds masquerading as research for dissertations.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Mon May 13, 2013 at 09:49:46 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for mentioning this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      surfbird007, MKSinSA, JerryNA

      That we are still having this debate, 32 years after Gould published the first edition (the second was issued after The Bell Curve came out) tells us just how deeply entrenched are the interests he was attempting to dislodge with logic, history, and facts. I tried loaning MMoM to a conservative, a thoughtful, intelligent fellow (with a PhD in meteorology, mind you), but, it sat on his shelf, untouched, for over a year.

      It's all right there!


      •  Richwine does directly address Gould (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radarlady, Be Skeptical, JerryNA, Mokurai

        and Gould's arguments in his dissertation, however.  

        Although the dissertation does have severe problems that should have been taken care of by his committee before passing him -- not least among these the problem of "what constitutes and interesting research question" -- it really isn't nearly as bad from a technical standpoint as most of the criticisms of it make it out to be, virtually all of them without having read it.

        Richwine's main adviser on this dissertation was the very author of the Bell Curve, Charles Murray, who is a fellow at AEI, which funded Richwine's dissertation work. So the dissertation itself is a rejoinder to Gould's arguments and should be read as part of that dialogue.

  •  In my Master's program in education, (19+ / 0-)

    the first statement made by the Testing and Assessment prof was this: "We measure what we value."

    Thinking about that in light of the Richwine crap truly makes me shudder, because that is exactly what he measured, with the support of people who should have known better.

    Your diary is an excellent explanation of how skewed 'standardized tests' can be.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Mon May 13, 2013 at 09:56:14 PM PDT

    •  backwards (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      postmodernista, Mokurai

      we value what we measure.  

      There is an operational measurement bias in social sciences (a little less so in physical sciences simply because it is sort of hard to find things we can't measure).  

      It's sort of like the proverbial drunk looking for his keys under the streetlamp - because that's where the light is - rather than where he dropped them

  •  100% baby! (15+ / 0-)

    I know I'm damaging my reputation as a prominent, African American commenter on Daily Kos, but I never would have gotten BODEGA if I hadn't lived in New York.

    I did know "jank" though. As in "jank-ass." As in: "fuck's wrong wit dat jank-ass paper?!" that is Richwine's dissertation.

  •  Very well done. Even Richwine's dissertation... (10+ / 0-)

    ...committee might get the point if they read this.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:29:55 PM PDT

    •  The Harvard dissertation committee... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, nellgwen

      actually thought Richwine's thesis was about IQ test...morons. Goes to show you that IQ tests are NOT an indicator of intelligence, even at Harvard.

      And they scream... The worst things in life come free to us... Cause we're just under the upper hand... And go mad for a couple grams.

      by glb3 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:03:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll never forget a study about test bias (6+ / 0-)

    It was actually about the perception of test bias and how that causes damage.

    Researchers gave standardized tests to two classrooms of African-American children. One classroom was told that the test had been carefully designed to be culture-neutral. That classroom averaged a higher score. The tests were identical. The difference was entirely due to confidence.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:10:15 PM PDT

  •  There is an even more fundamental problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, nellgwen

    The idea that a single number, an IQ, could summarize someone's worth as an individual.  These tests have their place - but at best they measure some form of mental quickness.

    Intelligence itself is a multi-factored entity. This should not be surprising - our brains have many local centers of activity, demonstrated both by high-tech methods like f-MRI as well as low-tech methods like seeing what changes when a person has a limited stroke.

    Most great artists and musicians can't program, prove theorems, or design experiments to save their lives - and similarly most mathematicians and scientists aren't great artists. (this isn't to say that people are so specialized that they cannot do things in both fields, just that it is extraordinarily rare that someone is really first rate at everything). Similarly it is rare to find a great writer who is a great artist.  That said, is someone who has a deep sense of melody and harmony fundamentally less intelligent than someone who studies the Riemann hypothesis for the joy and beauty of pure mathematics?

    •  Eratosthenes, the Librarian of Alexandria (0+ / 0-)

      who measured the Earth was known as Beta (the second letter of the Greek alphabet), because he was supposed to be second best in the Greek world at everything.

      Leonardo da Vinci was Europe's greatest artist and physicist. He worked out Galilean gravity more than a century before Galileo, but couldn't publish his result. He is the very definition of a Renaissance man.

      I had courses from Prof. Norwood Russell Hanson of Yale, philosopher of science, speed record holder in a certain class of propeller airplane, and previously pro quality boxer and musician.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:46:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  knowledge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is not intelligence.  That's the main issue I have with intelligence tests.  Not that I don't have a lot of other issues with them.  

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:49:15 AM PDT

  •  I remember an IQ test in high school (5+ / 0-)

    that still angers me.

    One question I remember was 'How much does an average loaf of bread weigh?'

    My family was white, rural and poor. My mother baked most of our bread. Store bought bread stamped with 16 ounces (1 lb) was for rich kids.

    The Hispanic community's bread did not even come in loaves, of course.

    There were so many examples that even at 14 I thought it must be deliberately slanted for rich white kids.

    Thank you for this, great work. I learned a new word-Janky.

  •  I got all 8 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dedmonds, nellgwen

    Janky isn't a term I hear, but stanky is close enough, so I figured it was a pronunciation variation of junky.

    The toughest was parakeet. It took a while for the letters to fall into place.

    Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit.

    by cultjake on Tue May 14, 2013 at 06:25:11 AM PDT

    •  I found parakeet much harder than bodega (0+ / 0-)

      Then again, I've lived in NYC for nearly 14 years, which means I'm pretty much required by law to know what a bodega is.

      "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

      by dedmonds on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:14:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, triplepoint, JerryNA

    i would have done equally well on either test i think, but i'm a bit annoyed about two of the questions on the 2nd set.

    frugal::miserly -- the relationship is that the first represents a virtue, while the second represents that virtue taken to an extreme that is no longer a virtue. on the other hand, neither rashness nor foolhardiness is a virtue. i'm not even sure which should be considered worse than the other.

    as to the fruit groups -- i've never seen orange jam or jelly, other than marmalade. so ... it could be 4 flavors of jelly/jam, with orange not belonging, or 4 fruits, with marmalade not belonging.

    it is a lot more difficult than most people realize to create questions that are coherent, consistent, and that unambiguously possess one and only one "best" answer.

    the worse question i ever saw from an IQ test showed to cartoons, one of an apparent debutante, the other of, oh, i don't know, perhaps a trailer-park mom, and asked which was prettier. at least the second woman didn't have an afro.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue May 14, 2013 at 07:07:09 AM PDT

  •  Culturial bias was ruled out a decade ago. (0+ / 0-)

    The APA said as much in "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" in 1995:

    Attempts to devise tests that would minimize disadvantages of this kind had been unsuccessful. The scores predicted future achievement equally well for blacks and whites. "The cause of that differential is not known; it is apparently not due to any simple form of bias in the content or administration of the tests themselves.
    Rushton and Skuy investigated the issue in depth from 2000-2003 in a series of papers to try and find any more subtle, hidden bias:
    Rushton and Skuy (2000; Rushton et al., 2002, 2003) on hundreds of university students, found almost identical item structures in Afri- cans, Whites, and East Indians on the Progressive Matrices. Items found difficult by one group were difficult for the others; items found easy by one group were easy for the others (mean r s .90, p .001). The item–total score correlations for Africans, Whites, and East Indians were also similar, indicating that the items measured similar psychometric constructs in all three groups. (Section 4 reviews evidence of the similarity of the g factor in Africans and non-Africans.) The only reliable example of bias so far discovered in this extensive literature is the rather obvious internal bias on the Vocabulary components of tests such as the Wechsler for groups that do not have English as their first language (e.g., Skuy et al., 2001). Even here, the language factor only accounts for about 0.5 of a standard deviation, out of the overall 2.0 standard deviation difference, between Africans and Whites.
    Then there's the whole reaction test link to IQ (Lynn & Vanhannen, 2002) which doesn't even use conventional testing but generates almost precisely the same distribution curve of results.
    •  I don't buy it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In particular, this line:

      "The scores predicted future achievement equally well for blacks and whites."

      Well, obviously. Given that the dominant culture favors those who adhere to the dominant culture, those minorities able to cleave to its particulars (in this case, those minorities who score well on IQ tests) would naturally also have higher levels of achievement.

      "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

      by dedmonds on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Across all cultures (0+ / 0-)
        Well, obviously. Given that the dominant culture favors those who adhere to the dominant culture, those minorities able to cleave to its particulars (in this case, those minorities who score well on IQ tests) would naturally also have higher levels of achievement.
        The prediction of future achievement held steady across country and continent boundaries.

        If there really was a cultural bias to the tests, you'd see similar results across races in the same country.

        •  The point is that cross-cultural comparison (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKSinSA, JerryNA

          is not possible. Kind of like the GDP revision a few weeks earlier. It's good and fine for measuring the US economy over time, but if you want to compare the US economy with the Netherlands using our GDP numbers, then you run headlong into a definitions game.

          It's entirely possible that the IQ test could tell the difference between a smart african and a not-so-smart african, and yet fail miserably at comparing between africans and europeans.

          •  Why would it not be possible? (0+ / 0-)

            We've already demonstrated empirically that the tests measure the same thing across all sample groups, even going as far as reaction time.  It predicts success equally well across all racial groups (perhaps slightly worse in Africans in some studies, but not enough to greatly effect the outcome.)

            It's entirely possible that the IQ test could tell the difference between a smart african and a not-so-smart african, and yet fail miserably at comparing between africans and europeans.
            Considering we've already established that it measures the same things in both groups, this isn't a possible outcome.  
            •  Let's have a solid example (0+ / 0-)

              Let's say we administer an IQ test to a group of american kids, and a group of Kenyan kids.  The IQ test is in english.  English is a first language for american kids. It's probably a second language for the kenyan kids.   The results come back. The test scores for the kenyan kids would fall into a natural bell curve distribution. The results for the american kids would likewise assume the normal distribution. Now what you are saying is that among the kenyan kids, the test scores roughly correspond to their level of achievements and later success in  life. This is understandable. A smart kenyan kid would probably excel in english just as he excels in every other scholastic subject.  So the IQ test, even if not perfect, could indeed be used to predict the success of these kenyan kids.

              What it cannot be used to do, is to compare between the kenyan kids and the american kids. Because all the kenyan kids are handicapped because their english comprehension is behind that of the american kids.

      •  Isn't that one point of the tests? (0+ / 0-)

        To measure those intellectual talents useful for success in our society?  This isn't to say that there are not strong nature and nurture effects.

        those minorities who score well on IQ tests) would naturally also have higher levels of achievement.
        Seems the tests demonstrate at least some empiric validity.
        •  No, actually that is not the point (0+ / 0-)

          or at least it is not the point any longer.

          Today most school children in the US are given IQ tests at some point -- usually quite early, in the form of "Gifted and Talented" screening.  The point of these is to provide special needs programs, and sometimes entire separate schools, for kids who high on these tests because such kids have often encountered behavioral and other problems for not having a curriculum and teaching strategies more suited to their brains.  It is not without controversy since this involves providing more resources to the smartest kids in a school system while resources are often lacking for economically disadvantaged kids (even though some of them will also benefit from G&T funding determined from such tests).

          So, the purpose of IQ tests today doesn't really have a community oriented public good rationale, but rather a social service to a needy group -- poorly behaved geniuses -- rationale.

          •  I'm sure that's true in part (0+ / 0-)

            But would agree with my point about empiric validity?

            •  Yes, I agree that they do (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Be Skeptical, JerryNA

              The problem with the tests is more with how they are used than that they are done.  

              Richwine proposes using the tests for immigration restrictions, which is highly problematic for a number of reasons including the fact that it hasn't ever been demonstrated demonstrated why intelligence as measured by the tests alone make good sense as a membership in our society qualification. Richwine's dissertation is pretty weak on this part, particularly because he never addresses whether previous immigrants also could have had similarly low scores compared to natives during previous immigration waves in the early part of the last century, even though that is the central claim of his thesis.

              But the military uses them in the ASVAB tests to determine what career specializations are likely to match people's interests and aptitude, and some large employers such as Capital One use parts of IQ testing for prospective employee aptitude in technical fields.  Those do not seem like particularly bad uses of such testing.

  •  I don't completely subscribe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tacet, ybruti, JerryNA

    to the idea that cultural bias in standardized testing is the root cause of the disparity between black and white students.... I think the diverting of black children into academic tracks that basically writes them off also has to be taken into account... At the end of her 8th grade year she was given her class schedule for 9th grade at the high school...thankfully it had to be signed by a parent... when she brought it to me, I was like "there is no way in hell that is going to be your schedule". No science, math was some crappy "math skills for living" class despite her having taken and passed Algebra1 in 8th grade, remedial english. etc... she saw nothing wrong with the schedule because all of the black kids had that same schedule so she would be with her friends... I made the school change her schedule to Geometry, honors english and history, biology etc. She was mad and I told her when she takes her SATs she'd thank me. Her junior year, when she and all her friends took the SATs and most of them didn't get 700 combined, my daughter got a 1250...but I knew those children... they weren't dumb. many of them were extremely bright; they just fell into the rut of low expectations... their parents weren't sufficiently informed to push back and the school system was not invested in challenging them and equipping them to do more than the menial and the manual. When black children are exposed to and taught more challenging curriculae the purported cultural bias is reduced significantly.

    Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

    by awesumtenor on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:06:56 AM PDT

  •  There was a book published in 1972... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The Myth of the Deprived Child" that addressed this issue of cultural bias with IQ tests. I'm glad to see that it is still being recognized after all these years.

    I always felt that IQ testing is very difficult to do because of this bias.

  •  Same shit, different century (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, JerryNA

    Here's what scienticians thought in 1917 as a result of applying the Simon-Binet to illiterate peasants who spoke no English:

    It's more than just different words.  Other cultures and languages categorize things differently.  Defining something by its use (see above link) as in defining a table as something one eats upon is not cognitively inferior to defining it as a flat topped item of furniture.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
    Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

    by jvance on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:16:14 PM PDT

  •  Well known to the creators of the SAT tests (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, JerryNA

    that you could easily engineer the test to favor boys or favor girls. Questions dealing with trees and horticulture would favor girls, while questions dealing with economics would favor boys.

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