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Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):273-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.04.011. Epub 2009 May 9.

Replacing education with psychometrics: how learning about IQ almost-completely changed my mind about education.


I myself am a prime example of the way in which ignorance of IQ leads to a distorted understanding of education (and many other matters). I have been writing on the subject of education--especially higher education, science and medical education--for about 20 years, but now believe that many of my earlier ideas were wrong for the simple reason that I did not know about IQ. Since discovering the basic facts about IQ, several of my convictions have undergone a U-turn. Just how radically my ideas were changed has been brought home by two recent books: Real Education by Charles Murray and Spent by Geoffrey Miller. Since IQ and personality are substantially hereditary and rankings (although not absolute levels) are highly stable throughout a persons adult life, this implies that differential educational attainment within a society is mostly determined by heredity and therefore not by differences in educational experience. This implies that education is about selection more than enhancement, and educational qualifications mainly serve to 'signal' or quantify a person's hereditary attributes. So education mostly functions as an extremely slow, inefficient and imprecise form of psychometric testing. It would therefore be easy to construct a modern educational system that was both more efficient and more effective than the current one. I now advocate a substantial reduction in the average amount of formal education and the proportion of the population attending higher education institutions. At the age of about sixteen each person could leave school with a set of knowledge-based examination results demonstrating their level of competence in a core knowledge curriculum; and with usefully precise and valid psychometric measurements of their general intelligence and personality (especially their age ranked degree of Conscientiousness). However, such change would result in a massive down-sizing of the educational system and this is a key underlying reason why IQ has become a taboo subject. Miller suggests that academics at the most expensive, elite, intelligence-screening universities tend to be sceptical of psychometric testing; precisely because they do not want to be undercut by cheaper, faster, more-reliable IQ and personality evaluations.

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