May 11, 2009

Charles Murray on David Brooks's "The Harlem Miracle"

On the blog of AEI's magazine The American, Charles Murray writes a brief response to David Brooks' "Harlem Miracle" column about the Harlem Children's Zone charter school "eliminating" the white-black gap:
It will be wonderful if the results are as good as they sound, but hold the champagne.

I’m not being mindlessly pessimistic. The problem is that we have had 40 years of “Miracle in X”—the early Head Start results, the Milwaukee Project, Perry Preschool, the Abecedarian Project, Marva Collins’s schools, and the Infant Health Development Project, to name some of the most widely known stories—and the history is depressingly consistent: an initial research report gets ecstatic attention in the press, then a couple of years later it turns out that the miracle is, at best, a marginal success that is not close to the initial claims.

I haven’t seen the study by Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie that was the basis for Brooks’s column, but if I’m going to be such a grinch I might as well lay out the kinds of things I will be looking for (these are generic issues, not things that I necessarily think are problems with this particular study) when I get hold of a copy:

1. Selection factors among the students. Did the program deal with a representative sample? Was random assignment used?
2. Comparison group. Who’s in it? Are they comparable to the students in the experimental group?
3. Attrition. What about the students who started the program but dropped out? How many were there? How were they doing when they dropped out?
4. Teaching to the test. After seven years of No Child Left Behind, everybody knows about this one. Worse, there are the school officials who have rigged attendance on the day the test was taken or simply faked the scores—that’s been happening too with high stakes testing.
5. Cherry-picking. Do the reported test scores include all of the tests that the students took, or just the ones that make the program look good?
6. The tests. Do they meet ordinary standards for statistical reliability, predictive validity, etc.
7. Fade-out. Large short-term test score improvements have, without exception to date, faded to modest ones within a few years.

Murray points to this pointed response on Gotham Schools, which cites data in this report:
Just How Gullible is David Brooks?
by Aaron Pallas

Check out Pallas's graph of the NY State results here.
It’s true that eighth-graders in 2008 scored .20 standard deviations above the citywide average for white students. But it may also be apparent that this is a very unusual pattern relative to the other data represented in this figure, all of which show continuing and sizeable advantages for white students in New York City over HCZ students. The fact that HCZ seventh-graders in 2008 were only .3 standard deviations behind white students citywide in math is a real accomplishment, and represents a shrinkage of the gap of .42 standard deviations for these students in the preceding year. However, Fryer and Dobbie, and Brooks in turn, are putting an awful lot of faith in a single data point — the remarkable increase in math scores between seventh and eighth grade for the students at HCZ who entered sixth grade in 2006. If what HCZ is doing can routinely produce a .67 standard deviation shift in math test scores in the eighth grade, that would be great. But we’re certainly not seeing an effect of that magnitude in the seventh grade. And, of course, none of this speaks to the continuing large gaps in English performance.

But here’s the kicker. In the HCZ Annual Report for the 2007-08 school year submitted to the State Education Department, data are presented on not just the state ELA and math assessments, but also the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Those eighth-graders who kicked ass on the state math test? They didn’t do so well on the low-stakes Iowa Tests. Curiously, only 2 of the 77 eighth-graders were absent on the ITBS reading test day in June, 2008, but 20 of these 77 were absent for the ITBS math test. For the 57 students who did take the ITBS math test, HCZ reported an average Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) score of 41, which failed to meet the school’s objective of an average NCE of 50 for a cohort of students who have completed at least two consecutive years at HCZ Promise Academy. In fact, this same cohort had a slightly higher average NCE of 42 in June, 2007.

Normal Curve Equivalents (NCE’s) range from 1 to 99, and are scaled to have a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 21.06. An NCE of 41 corresponds to roughly the 33rd percentile of the reference distribution, which for the ITBS would likely be a national sample of on-grade test-takers. Scoring at the 33rd percentile is no great success story.

How are we to make sense of this? One possibility is that the HCZ students didn’t take the Iowa tests seriously, and that their performance on that test doesn’t reflect their true mastery of eighth-grade mathematics.

Teaching to the test gets a bad rap, but it's only partially deserved. At least they're teaching something!

Also, scoring at the 33rd percentile nationwide in math on the national Iowa test isn't that bad (although it's not as good as scoring at the 33rd percentile of the white distribution of scores -- increasingly, NAM children are competing against other NAMs in the percentile rankings, so that makes the national grading increasingly easy relative to the white grading).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

58 comments:

dr kill said...

Teaching to the test does get a bad rap. If a test emphasizes the material considered essential student learning, the manner of mastery is inconsequential, no?

Jun said...

OT, from the UK:

Middle-class children have better genes, says former schools chief"Middle class children are more likely to be clever because they have better genes, according to the former chief inspector of schools....

"[Chris Woodhead] said some children were simply born 'not very bright,' and that politicians should allow them to follow practical educational courses rather than forcing conventional teaching on them...."

Anonymous said...

And don't forget this little research report from the past, "Why Most Research Results are Wrong: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1182327

Still, it would be nice if true!

Anonymous said...

It seems rather foolish to me to allow teachers to grade their own students. (And, implicitly, to grade their own work.)

In Europe testing is "blind" for the most part. The graders do not know whose papers they are grading. I wonder what the impact would be if that was introduced over here?

RKU said...

Ha, Ha! Looks like David Brooks finally found those "missing WMDs" in Iraq, and everyone can now celebrate.

Admittedly, His Weekly Standard colleague Stephen Hayes had already found Saddam's WMDs several times, and also discovered that Saddam really was behind the 9/11 attacks, but he's not a big NYT columnist, so that's much less significant.

You really have to wonder what our elite MSM media would do if they weren't allowed to hire gullible idiots or pathological liars...

O'Brien said...

increasingly, NAM children are competing against other NAMs in the percentile rankings, so that makes the national grading increasingly easy relative to the white gradingI never thought of that. Once a very high percentage of students are low achievers, their percentile scores will not look that bad. Hey...we need 30 million more illegals (or their sponsees)! That way the ones already here will have higher test scores. Brilliant!

David said...

Suspicious, isn't it, that Brooks blows the trumpet for the latest bogus miracle not even one week after the attention you got in Slate.

Argent Paladin said...

Well, no matter what the test SOMEone has to score in the 33rd percentile.

As a longtime professional teacher of tests (SAT, LSAT, GRE and GMAT) I can say that it deserves the bad rep (or rap, if you prefer) in one way and not in the other.
I usually teach two things: topical knowledge and standardized testing technique. I often point out how different math is in the SAT vs in the real world. Pretty much by definition the higher the G-loading, the worse the test is in measuring knowledge gained or techniques learned.
For example, I tell my students to look out for 3-4-5 or 5-12-13 triangles and that they almost never have to use the Pythagorean formula. On the GRE and SAT round numbers and special numbers are the norm not the exception. This doesn't have much applicability in engineering or other math-based disciplines. There are just a bunch of tricks and traps in these tests, which isn't that useful in real life.
OTOH, I have had several students tell me that they have learned more in 4 hours of geometry with me than in all their formal schooling (which is not too surprising since most only get a year or two of it and forget most of it).

Dan Kurt said...

re:"In Europe testing is "blind" for the most part. The graders do not know whose papers they are grading. I wonder what the impact would be if that was introduced over here?"

Obama, the pretender in chief, would not have made it to the White House!

Dan Kurt

none of the above said...

dr kill:

As with most things, it's possible to reach a point of diminishing returns. If you're spending some of your time in geometry class memorizing stuff that fits into a multiple-guess test format, that's probably not so bad--some memorization may be useful. But if you're spending all your time doing that, you're *not* giving the kids in the class who are ready for it the experience of proving something and really *getting* it, or the whole wonderful sense of mathematics as a structure of exact statements with proofs going back thousands of years, or even the sort of visual/spatial intuitions for problems that will make analytic geometry/precalc make more sense. Along with all that, you're also likely making that class brutally boring.

Short form: Teaching a class should be about helping the students learn this material, and also the future stuff that will build on it. Too much teaching to the test is likely to improve the short-term outcome (you'll know everything about first-year geometry that fits into a multiple-guess format) at the expense of longer-term outcomes (you'll decide you like math, you'll have some intuitions from geometry that are useful in studying other stuff).

Anonymous said...

But if you're spending all your time doing that, you're *not* giving the kids in the class who are ready for it the experience of proving something and really *getting* it, or the whole wonderful sense of mathematics as a structure of exact statements with proofs going back thousands of years


That has a limited place in high school and below. There you need to work on pounding the basics into their skulls. Only a tiny minority will be "ready for" what you describe at a young age.

You have to learn to read before you can start appreciating literature as an art form.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

Actually Dan Kurt, law school grading is also blind. All the profs grade their own exams but since they are numbered, you do not know which test belongs to whom. So while Obama may have benefited from Affirmative Aaction to get into Columbia and Harvard Law, his performance at the latter school was earned through hard work and his own talent.

Anonymous said...

while Obama may have benefited from Affirmative Aaction to get into Columbia and Harvard Law, his performance at the latter school was earned through hard work and his own talent.That's great. So when can we expect his college transcripts to be released so that we can see what his performance actually was?

rec1man said...

This program seems to be a lot of back to basics and drill

The only program that worked long term in Head start was
Direct Instruction, where black kids with direct Instruction were able to score at the same level of white kids in white schools

So DI gives an IQ boost of 15

A similar behavioral program
ABA, gives a 30IQ boost to autistic kids and many of them were able to be mainstreamed

The converse is if ABA or DI were given to normal kids, they will get a much more than 15 IQ boost
I tried DI on my niece and she learnt phonetic reading before age 3

No she has John Hopkins award for getting SAT 1380 at age 13

Anonymous said...

You have to learn to read before you can start appreciating literature as an art form.Didn't your mommy love you enough to read to you? My 6yo can't read, but he likes the Odyssey and Beowulf - not only appreciated by people who never learned to read, but composed by non-readers as well.

none of the above said...

Anonymous:

Hardly any of the kids in high school geometry will be mathematicians, but a fair number will be deciding, at some level, whether they like math or not. The ones who decide they hate math will mostly not be going into engineering or economics or the hard sciences. Make those kids feel about math like most high school kids feel about the kind of history classes where you have to memorize names and dates to pass, and there will be consequences for all of us.

Ronduck said...

Rec1man, what does ABA stand for?

rec1man said...

Ronduck

ABA is Applied Behavior Analysis
or Lovaas Method

A similar program is Verbal Behavior
by Sunberg and Partington

They are derived from Skinners behavior methods

While these are for autistic kids, their close cousin is Direct Instruction DI for low income / black kids

Rote, Drill, Practise, Mastery

ben tillman said...

Actually Dan Kurt, law school grading is also blind. All the profs grade their own exams but since they are numbered, you do not know which test belongs to whom. So while Obama may have benefited from Affirmative Aaction to get into Columbia and Harvard Law, his performance at the latter school was earned through hard work and his own talent.If each test is identified by a number, how does a student wind up with a grade? Mustn't someone, somewhere, know both the number and the name? You're being awfully naive.

John Seiler said...

A real social philosopher skewers a poseur.

Anonymous said...

"Teaching to the test" is PC-inspired slander of standardized testing. It is a threat to both blank slate utopians and vested parties like the NEA union by quantitatively exposing both the fallacies and harm their ideas cause student and parents.

The objection that students are somehow 'harmed' by studying and demonstrating a minimal core knowledge is doublespeak. To use the example given, to use math in any advanced career that requires it (e.g. Enginnering or Physics) in todays specialized world, one has to have a high degree of ability and interest. Everyone I've met in these fields found standardized testing such as the GRE and SAT/ACH laughably easy. No one would've been dissuaded by even less discriminating grade school-level exams.

Simiarly, anyone I've encountered who was inspired to achieve anything mathematically did so because they were talented and personally facinated by the beauty of math. It's a Brooks-like fallacy to think James Olmos is going to turn gangbangers into the next John Nash by charisma alone or that Einstein would've wound up pushing a mop if he had a Chinese grad TA in Calc 1A. More commonly, everyone finds the ceiling of their competence level in math be it none, CPA or Putnam winner and standardized testing has little or nothing to do with this.

Standardized testing is good for 1) weak students because it ensures they at least have the minimal core drilled into them, 2) good students because they can study advanced subjects and take the core knowledge almost for granted (see Yale Law's indifference to prepping their grads for the bar) and 3) all students with poor to middling schools/teachers because it forces the latter to focus on key concepts and holds them accountable for the results.

Anonymous said...

Hardly any of the kids in high school geometry will be mathematicians, but a fair number will be deciding, at some level, whether they like math or not. The ones who decide they hate math will mostly not be going into engineering or economics or the hard sciences.

So what? All of them need to master the basics. Who cares what they "hate" or "like"?

Those super smart Asian kids everybody here thinks have a high IQ?

I know how they get those good grades. Study, practice, study, and more practice. Regardless of whether they "like" the subject ot not.

There is no particular mystery about doing well in school. It takes hard work and discipline. These are character traits which young people need to pick up in any case. That they would do so in mastering the three R's is just icing on the cake.

And nothing I am saying here is actually new and radical. This is how students in other countries learn. It is how students in America used to learn, and could learn again.

Anonymous said...

"Actually Dan Kurt, law school grading is also blind. All the profs grade their own exams but since they are numbered, you do not know which test belongs to whom."

I went to a top 5 law school, and that's not totally true. The professor typically has an opportunity to adjust students' grades after he or she knows their identities.

I would say there is a decent chance this happened with Obama. Why?

Well consider the situation from the perspective of the Harvard faculty. They've admitted a decent number of black kids, and yet none of them are making honors. Would it be so terrible to add some diversity points to their grades? Someone who is 100% sure that black failure is due to white racism would probably think "no."

silly girl said...

"Standardized testing is good for ... 3) all students with poor to middling schools/teachers because it forces the latter to focus on key concepts and holds them accountable for the results."

Very important point. There are many very poor quality teachers.

A neighbor is homeschool mom. Her husband is a Phd chemist and she remarked that she is more educated than most teachers.

Anonymous said...

"The converse is if ABA or DI were given to normal kids, they will get a much more than 15 IQ boost
I tried DI on my niece and she learnt phonetic reading before age 3"

I don't know that I would call it IQ boost, maybe information boost. I taught my 10 year old Algebra. Kids can learn more than you think.

Anonymous said...

"There is no particular mystery about doing well in school. It takes hard work and discipline. These are character traits which young people need to pick up in any case. That they would do so in mastering the three R's is just icing on the cake.

And nothing I am saying here is actually new and radical. This is how students in other countries learn. It is how students in America used to learn, and could learn again."

A former college chemistry professor once told me that he had more freshmen students fail his course because they had never learned how to study, that is, to learn on their own, than failed because they just didn't have "the right stuff". Some of them had done well in HS and had good SAT's. College level STEM courses aren't the same as HS STEM courses and the professors don't tend to be overly solicitous of their students. Also unlike soft courses like sociology when opinions might "matter", a student's opinion on nuclear physics counts for zero - just what he knows.

Plus once he's out in the cold, cruel world, he'd better be able to figure things out on his own and learn new things. Most bosses aren't overly solicitous of their employees either.

Svigor said...

Make those kids feel about math like most high school kids feel about the kind of history classes where you have to memorize names and dates to pass, and there will be consequences for all of us.

I managed to get all the way through K-12 without ever taking that kind of history class. I remember because I heard the myth too, and I was always on the lookout. The history I took was pretty much always about themes and eras, not dates and places.

I did go to private school most of the time until 10th grade though.

Anonymous said...

Make those kids feel about math like most high school kids feel about the kind of history classes where you have to memorize names and dates to pass, and there will be consequences for all of us


Yeah, smarter and harder working students. I like those consequences.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"I went to a top 5 law school, and that's not totally true. The professor typically has an opportunity to adjust students' grades after he or she knows their identities."

Having also gone to a top-tier law school, I can second anonymous' point. In addition to having the discretion to bump students up and down on "blind graded" exams, students generally have few required courses after the first year of law school. You can certainly help you GPA by a judicious selection of courses. Some are taught in seminar format and grading is based on writing a paper (not anonymously graded) and class participation. Here profs. can basically give somebody any grade they want. Also, most of the "soft" stuff that libs love, like critical race theory, gender and gay issues, etc. are taught in this format. We know Obama took critical race theory courses from Derek Bell at Harvard. What else did he take? He won't release his transcript. It may be that more than his grades, he doesn't want the public to know about his course selection.

Additionally, check this out (includes discussion of grade inflation at Harvard):

http://jbjd.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/if-you-think-barack-obama-is-so-smart-prove-it/

Josh said...

Just a heads up, Rushton & Jensen's review of Nisbett's book is up.

Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2009). Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett’s Intelligence and How to Get It. Working paper, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushton_pubs.htm

David said...

none of the above said:

"some memorization may be useful. But if you're spending all your time doing that, you're *not* giving the kids in the class who are ready for it the experience of proving something and really *getting* it, or the whole wonderful sense of mathematics as a structure of exact statements with proofs going back thousands of years, or even the sort of visual/spatial intuitions [etc.]"

You're talking about the top 1% of kids there. We're talking about one-size-fits-all public policy.

Providing the majority of kids (i.e., dullards) with only "some" memorization then zooming off into the outer limits to enjoy stuff you are personally interested in and capable of - visual/spatial thousand-year-old elegant proofs - is a very good way not to teach them anything. To be sure, such a teacher will feel an edifying shiver of satisfaction and delight at hearing himself talk (for the first few years, anyway), but the kids will walk out with nothing.

That's why having experts teach their area of expertise is the worst pedagogical idea. What 99% of kids need, instead, is a lion tamer - a "Stand and Deliver," complete with baseball bat and megaphone. The intelligent kids can pound sand, or get homeschooled.

I don't like it, I hate it like hell. But if we must have have "free" "public" "universal" compulsory government education in a democracy dedicated to equal protection, then we must take all-comers, and focus on teaching 'em something. One size must fit all.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

I am also a graduate of a top tier law school. Yes profs get SOME discretion in adjusting grades but it ain't much. If you get a grade bump from the prof it is usually is something like from a B to a B+ not a C to an A. And while things get easier at 2L you are still usually graded on a relatively tough curve. You people have no evidence that Barack did not earn his class position at HLS, only conspiratorial speculation about his professors rigging things in his favor. Well why Mr. Obama then, why not another African American student with better connections?

Frankly the carping and jealousy on this board is pathetic. I'm sorry that this hurts your fragile white male egos, but yes, in Mr. Obama you have someone who is doing better in life than you (and me) and what's more, you have someone who merits it too.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry that this hurts your fragile white male egos, but yes, in Mr. Obama you have someone who is doing better in life than you (and me) and what's more, you have someone who merits it too."

I agree, but also feel this is an argument to treat people as individuals and remove group entitlements like affirmative action. It taints the achievement of those who are associated with it.

Anonymous said...

"You people have no evidence that Barack did not earn his class position at HLS, only conspiratorial speculation about his professors rigging things in his favor."

Hey pissed-off, no one is saying that Obama definitely didn't earn his standing at HLS. What people are noting is that Barry so surrounded by slick propaganda that it is hard to know what is real about him and what isn't. You're right that profs aren't going to bump someone from a C to an A, but the can bump you from a B to a B+ or a B+ to an A- or even (rarely) an A. Small bumps of a partial grade can add up cummulatively and be significant. Also, course selection really does make a difference. Bar and business courses tend to remain blind graded and relatively tough grading, but seminar classes on 'fluff' subjects (such as those about 'race and inheritance') are great opportunities to pick up easy grades.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that this hurts your fragile white male egos, but yes, in Mr. Obama you have someone who is doing better in life than you (and me) and what's more, you have someone who merits it too.


Merits it, in what sense?


You people have no evidence that Barack did not earn his class position at HLS, only conspiratorial speculation about his professors rigging things in his favor.


The reason for the "speculation" is that Obama's academic career is shrouded in secrecy, to an extent unprecedented in an American President. Speculation is all we've got to go on.

Lastly, Mr Chinaman, what are you so pissed off about?

Anonymous said...

Pissed Off Chinaman,
Not acknowledging the intentional skewing in favour of minorities such as yourself and blacks makes you look pathetic. Most people who affirm AA and artificial pushing of minorities are either beneficiaries themselves, or socially positioned so that it does not hurt them (SWPL), i.e. hypocrites falsely claiming the moral high ground.

Anonymous said...

Yes profs get SOME discretion in adjusting grades but it ain't much. If you get a grade bump from the prof it is usually is something like from a B to a B+ not a C to an A.Usually, yes. But there's nothing in the rules which says that a C cannot be turned into an A.

Look at it this way: Usually a person with LSAT scores below 160 will not get into Harvard. Unless that person happens to be black. Because there are a completely different set of standards for blacks.

Anyway, the argument on the table is that Obama MUST have deserved his honors because law school grading is blind. That argument is based on a faulty premise.

Well why Mr. Obama then, why not another African American student with better connections?I am skeptical of any black student at HLS who made honors, not just Obama.

Frankly the carping and jealousy on this board is pathetic. I'm sorry that this hurts your fragile white male egos,Nice try at poisoning the well. For what it's worth, I am not the slightest bit jealous about Obama's accomplishments. My concern is this:

Virtually every black person I have met in a position of authority and responsibility has been incompetent, lazy, and clearly in over their head. Given this track record, I am concerned that one of them is in the highest office in the country.






but yes, in Mr. Obama you have someone who is doing better in life than you (and me) and what's more, you have someone who merits it too.

mjl said...

One of the best teachers I had in high school was my physics teacher. For the first 90% of the class he taught us physics (to the level one can in high school). For the last 10% he had us take practice NYS Regents exams, one per night, until the exam day.

We learned a lot of physics, but we also learned the patterns that were present in the Regents - if nothing else, this reduced test anxiety.

This was back in 1965, when the NYS Regents was actually a pretty good assessment tool - your mileage may vary.

Lucius Vorenus said...

David: You're talking about the top 1% of kids there. We're talking about one-size-fits-all public policy. Providing the majority of kids (i.e., dullards) with only "some" memorization then zooming off into the outer limits to enjoy stuff you are personally interested in and capable of - visual/spatial thousand-year-old elegant proofs - is a very good way not to teach them anything. To be sure, such a teacher will feel an edifying shiver of satisfaction and delight at hearing himself talk (for the first few years, anyway), but the kids will walk out with nothing.

While what you have written is true, and while I agree with everything you've written, I think that you ought to take this idea and push it just a little farther: If only Y% of all children can really "grok" mathematics, then why do we bother to try to teach it to the other (100 - Y)%?

If an adult can "solve" only those real world problems whose solution algorithms he was forced to memorize while still in school [and if the memory of those algorithms has persisted into his adulthood, and if the adult can solve no other kinds of problems], then it seems to me that the sort of work he is doing is eventually destined to be replaced by some kind of a computer hardware/software interface.

For instance, I doubt that there are all that many people in the MD -> RPh -> RN chain of command who even calculate their basic adult/pediatric pharmacological dosing by hand anymore [much less, say, their peaks & troughs] - my guess would be that nowadays all the numbers [age, sex, body mass, diagnosis, etc] are plugged into a software program and the answers are spit out for them automatically.

Remember, even back in the 19th Century, when the "formally acknowledged" student population of this nation was basically 100% Caucasian [i.e. back when no one bothered to pretend to care about the plight of black children in segregated schools or indian children on reservation schools], only some small fraction of the American population ever had more than eight grades' worth of a formal education.

And that was with a "formally acknowledged" population which had an average IQ of 100.

In an America where upwards of 50% of all children are non-White/non-Asian, of third-world ancestry, with average IQs probably no higher than 80 [and with standard deviations of those IQs possibly well below 15], the idea of "teaching" mathematics to them [with the concomitant "shiver of satisfaction and delight"] strikes me as simply ludicrous.

Look, let me invent some numbers out of thin air, to try to give you guys some sense of the hopelessness of the situation.

Math Skill: Hypothesized IQ necessary for truly "grokking" the skill

Addition: IQ 90
Subtraction: IQ 92.5
Multiplication: IQ 95
Division: IQ 97.5
Basic Set Theory: IQ 100
Cartesian Coordinates: IQ 100
Algebra I [y = mx + b]: IQ 102.5
Basic Geometry [Intro to Euclid]: IQ 105
Algebra II [ax^2 + bx + c = 0]: IQ 107.5
Trigonometry [cos, sin, tan, etc]: IQ 110
Calc I [d/dx, integration, FTC]: IQ 115
Calc II [special functions, power series]: IQ 120

I have no idea whether these numbers are correct [as I say, I am just pulling them out of thin air], but there is some set of numbers like these which will provide the cut-off points for truly "grokking" these skills, and, even then, there will be a rather profound difference between the kids who can readily memorize the algorithms -vs- the kids who can readily solve novel "word" [or "story"] problems which demand [novel] applications of the algorithms.

If it is true [as I fear] that black & aboriginal hispanic children in the USA today have average IQs at [or below] 80, with standard deviations at [or below] 14, and if there is even the slightest bit of truth to the IQ numbers that I've just set forth, then somewhere between Subtraction [IQ 92.5] and Multiplication [IQ 95], you're passing out beyond one standard deviation from the IQ average of such children [80 + 14 = 94], which means that you've just left behind 84.1% of the children from those backgrounds.

And if I am correct in asserting that Calc I/Calc II probably pushes you out towards the IQ 115 mark [and maybe towards the IQ 120 mark], then, even in the white popluation, you've again lost 84.1% of the kids [Mean 100 + SD 15 = IQ 115].

Which, I imagine, would probably be roughly what we saw in 19th Century "formally acknowledged" [exclusively Caucasian] America:

Y = 15.9%
(100 - Y) = 84.1%

I.e. my guess would be that in late 19th Century and early 20th Century America, no more than about 15.9% of all children ever grew up to earn a bachelor's degree, and the other 84.1% were satisfied with either a high school diploma, or, more likely, an eighth-grade education.

[And in early 19th Century (frontier) America, the college-educated people were surely just a tiny (statistically negligible) fraction of the population as a whole.]

PS: If the true numbers are anything like what I've guesstimated here, then again it begs the question of just what it was that Jaime Escalante was doing at Garfield: Did he really have a kernel of IQ 115 students who truly "grokked" Calculus, or was he dealing with, say, a kernel of IQ 100-105 students, to whom he taught the answers, and who then merely regurgitated those answers, Pavlovian-style, on their AP Calculus exams?

And, of course, the attendant questions would be: A quarter of a century later, what has become of Escalante's Garfield students? Many of his kids must now be in their late thirties and early forties - did any of them grow up to do any sort of technical work? Can any of them still recall anything of what they learned under Escalante? Or has it all been forgotten? And how have they fared in the real world vis-a-vis some hypothetical cohort of their contemporaries [i.e. some control group], of similar IQs, who did not receive Escalante's instruction?

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

"Pissed Off Chinaman,
Not acknowledging the intentional skewing in favour of minorities such as yourself and blacks makes you look pathetic. Most people who affirm AA and artificial pushing of minorities are either beneficiaries themselves, or socially positioned so that it does not hurt them (SWPL), i.e. hypocrites falsely claiming the moral high ground."

You know, as an Asian American (specifically Chinese) I can confidently state that I have NEVER benefited from affirmative action in school admission OR hiring. There are too many East Asians in higher education and in the white shoe firms for that to be the case. Trust me, no university or top firm is actively recruiting Asians for being Asian. Otherwise there would be even more of us.

"Lastly Mr. Chinaman what are you so pissed off at?"

Well nothing mich, but considering how angry and bitter so many of the posters here are, I figured I would try to blend in :)

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

"Anyway, the argument on the table is that Obama MUST have deserved his honors because law school grading is blind. That argument is based on a faulty premise."

Actually the original argument by Dan was that Obama could not have succeeded in an environment where grading was blind. I asserted that he did survive in such an environment since law schools (including HLS) have blind grading. Then ya'll argued that HLS did not grade Obama blindly. Therefore it burden of proof was on you to show facts supporting your point. Ya guys got nothing but speculation and your own prejudices!!!!!

Truth said...

"I have no idea whether these numbers are correct [as I say, I am just pulling them out of thin air],"

Or, as we like to say in the ghetto, "you are just pulling them out of your ass."

This of course, brings to mind the question, "who, and why would formulate a 19 paragraph 2000 word dissertation based upon a premise he has pulled directly from his rectum?"

You see Sparky, if your theory is correct, and that a 90 IQ is required to understand addition, that would mean that one of every 5 white people in America is not qualified to add 6 plus 5. If a 97.5 IQ is required to do division then the average Brit, is just about smart enough to tell you how many times 12 goes into 73. Taking your other theory about the average black/ Hispanic IQ being 80, and of a narrow bell curve of about 10 points of so, this would mean that only an NAMs smart enough to be considered a "strong outlier" could answer the 12/73 question.

Once again,a post of yours makes me wonder if it takes one with an IQ of 80 to recognize one.

J said...

"Therefore it burden of proof was on you to show facts supporting your point. Ya guys got nothing but speculation"

Again, don't you think this is an argument against affirmative action seeing it leads people to believe the processes have been corrupted?

Anonymous said...

"P.O.Chinaman"

You are a perfect example for closing the borders.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: You see Sparky, if your theory is correct, and that a 90 IQ is required to understand addition, that would mean that one of every 5 white people in America is not qualified to add 6 plus 5. If a 97.5 IQ is required to do division then the average Brit, is just about smart enough to tell you how many times 12 goes into 73. Taking your other theory about the average black/ Hispanic IQ being 80, and of a narrow bell curve of about 10 points of so, this would mean that only an NAMs smart enough to be considered a "strong outlier" could answer the 12/73 question.

Look, I am not saying that you could not "teach" a child, with an IQ in the 80s, or even the 70s, to say that "6 plus 5 equals 11".

No, allow me to rephrase that: I am not saying that you cannot FORCE a child, with an IQ in the 80s, or even the 70s, to MEMORIZE the string of symbols, "6 + 5 = 11".

The question, though, is whether such a child is capable of understanding just what it is that they have been forced to memorize - and, especially: Can they apply the concept [successfully] to novel real world problems that they encounter in real life?

For instance, suppose you had a carpenter's helper, with an IQ in the 80s, who had a bunch of bare floor joists sitting in front of him, and enough plywood to cover the joists, but suppose that bossman had forgotten to get the screws to screw in the plywood, so that the IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper had to run to Lowes/Home Depot to get some screws to finish the job.

Now if the IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper could count that there were X floor joists, and if he could remember that the screws needed to be placed Y inches apart, and if he could also somehow count the number of Y-inch segments in each of the floor joists and come up with a figure of Z segments per joist [so that he needed roughly (Z + 1) screws per joist], could he then tie it all together and add up

Z + Z + Z + ... + Z (X times)

to get Z * X ?

[Since he has only an 80s-ish IQ, we'll spot him some slack and count Z * X as a correct answer, even though the most perfect answer would be (Z + 1) * X.]

From what I understand [and, for the record, I do NOT pretend to be an expert in the education and training of low IQ children and low IQ adults], the answer is a most emphatic NO: As IQ heads down south of 90, and into the 80s, people can no longer perform these kinds of calculations - if bossman departs the scene without first having brought the correct number of screws, then, well, the project is, ah, screwed.

Now there's an easy answer here, which would be that when the IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper arrives at Lowes/Home Depot, he eyes the 1 lb box of screws, and the 5 lb box of screws, and the 25 lb bucket of screws, and he flips a coin, and he makes a purchase, and hopefully he brings home a container that's just a little too big for the job, but not wildly too big & thereby not wildly too expensive.

Of course, the problem with cost gets even worse if each screw has a non-trivial value - if, say, instead of a Phillips II screw, each fastener is something really expensive, like, say, a Timberlok - I think I can say pretty confidently that no one in his right mind would trust an IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper to figure out how many Timberloks to purchase.

Heck, I doubt that many contractors would trust an IQ 90s-ish carpenter's helper to purchase something as expensive as Timberloks - Timberlok purchases are serious enough that the help would need to be getting out into IQ 100-105 territory [or maybe even higher than that] before you'd think about trusting them with that kind of calculation.

PS: For the record, I have my doubts whether, at IQ 100-105, folks could reliably predict the difference between Z * X and (Z + 1) * X; I suspect that that subtlety might push you out towards IQ 115.

PPS: For an IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper, an equally great hurdle might be reading the specifications of the screw as it is printed on the box: If the box doesn't have the clear plastic/cellophane on it, which allows you to see inside the box and look at the screws themselves, then an IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper would be just as likely to bring home a box of 1 1/4" #6 drywall screws [or even a box of nails] as a box of 2" [or 2 1/2" or 3"] #8 plywood screws.

PPPS: And all of that even assumes that the IQ 80s-ish carpenter's helper could find his way to Lowes/Home Depot in the first place. If he were in a a strange town, and had never been to its Lowes/Home Depot before, then he sure as heck wouldn't be able to look up the address in a phone book, find the address on a map, and then plot a course from the job site to the destination and back - he'd be driving around in circles all day and they'd have to send the State Police out to find him.

Truth: if your theory is correct, and that a 90 IQ is required to understand addition, that would mean that one of every 5 white people in America is not qualified to add

Right - my guess is that 20% of white people in America cannot reliably solve problems whose solutions involve applications of basic addition [and no amount of edumakashun will ever get them to the point that they can reliably solve these problems].

But the other 80% of white people in America CAN solve these problems.

On the other hand, if my calculations are correct, then for blacks & aboriginal hispanics in America, the numbers are completely reversed: Maybe 20% of all blacks & aboriginal hispanics can solve these problems, but the remaining 80% of blacks & aboriginal hispanics CANNOT solve these problems [and no amount of edumakashun will ever get them to the point that they can solve these problems].

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

"P.O.Chinaman

You are a perfect example for closing the borders."

I was born in this country you dumbass. So were my parents fyi.

J, I do not know whether you are one of the previous anonymi. However, having looked at all these posts does it not occur to you that most of your fellow anonymi would not care if Obama actually released his transcripts (which I wish he would since I am curious). They'd probably accuse Harvard of doctoring the transcripts. This is not about affirmative action to these people. It isn't about whether Obama is qualifed for HLS, the Presidency....etc. These people just resent the fact that Obama is black and he is doing better than they are. If affirmative action did not exist, they would still be resentful. In their fantasy world, Obama basically took the spot in HLS that should have been for them and all his achievements should belong to them. That mentality is just pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"This is not about affirmative action to these people. It isn't about whether Obama is qualifed for HLS, the Presidency....etc. These people just resent the fact that Obama is black and he is doing better than they are. If affirmative action did not exist, they would still be resentful."

What R U, a mind reader?

I think you are projecting your own 'racist' fantasies, and bitterness, against White Americans.

Your Marxist professors must be proud of you!

Anonymous said...

"Frankly the carping and jealousy on this board is pathetic. I'm sorry that this hurts your fragile white male egos...,"

Actually, the jealousy seems to be coming from you, seeming to hurt your 'yellow male' ego....

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

I'm not a mind reader but I am aware of the entitlement mentality that certain white folks have when it comes to competing with minorities for spots at a prestigious university or at a elite law firm. Frankly while there are many under qualified black folks and hispanic folks who get jobs, university admission, or promotions because of affirmative action, there are also plenty of under qualified white folks and even some asian folks who get such things due to nepotism....etc. That's just life.

Oh and frankly I am not so sure what I am supposed to be jealous of. My life ain't perfect but it ain't bad either. I went to a good college, did well in law school, and work for a prestigious firm. All earned without affirmative action OR nepotism. I could use some more free time, but that is another issue.

Btw, I was an economics major and I took mostly business and securities law classes. For some reason, I never had any "Marxist professors". In fact my first econ text was written by Greg Makiw and my undergrad advisor was a huge Milton Friedman fan.

Anonymous said...

"All earned without affirmative action OR nepotism."

The nepotism you are talking about is primarily found among the upper classes of Whites, who can buy their way into schools and such...,

...not among the lower to middle classes who suffer most from AA and from the legacy preferences or the funds of the wealthier Whites.

But, how are we to expect you to understand this, or even care, since we are not your people.

And believe me slick, plenty of Asians network, and through ways fair AND foul, promote their group interests! For you to say otherwise would be lying!

Maybe now you could understand US wanting to look out for OUR interests as a people.

Blode0322 said...

Btw, I was an economics major and I took mostly business and securities law classes. For some reason, I never had any "Marxist professors". - Peeved Individual of Chinese Descent

Wait, really? Did you ever have any English or social science classes other than economics? Where did you go to college? The 19th Century?

I had a Marxist nutrition professor. Tons of Marxist English professors. I once took a child development class as an elective; got a Marxist perspective on that. History is a whole 'nother deal because teleology isn't recognized by most of the history professors who teach it, which effectively puts them to the left of the openly Marxist professors since the latter at least try to balance their perspective with differing perspectives.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

"The nepotism you are talking about is primarily found among the upper classes of Whites, who can buy their way into schools and such...,"

And non-upper class whites don't help out there relatives and friends? Of course ya'll do. As much as you can. Yes, asian americans also network with each other but the power structures and institutions that we operate in are still controlled by upper class whites. I've been to some events for asian american professional orgs but while it is "networking" it really does not help any of us in terms of being promoted, advancing our careers or such. For that, we still depend on the goodwill of upper class whites to ignore their nepotistic and in some cases even racist impulses. That does not always happen and it is unfair.

"But, how are we to expect you to understand this, or even care, since we are not your people."

I do understand that not every white person benefits from nepotism. So why can't you understand that not every black person in a position of authority benefited from affirmative action? Or even if some of them did benefit, many still are qualified and perform well in their positions.

And frankly I am certain that I have been denied school admission or jobs because of affirmative action OR because of nepotism. But I do not dwell on it. I work hard given the opportunities I have received.

You may not consider me "your people" but I consider you "my people" because we are Americans from middle class backgrounds. No matter what race you are, if you come from a middle class background in the US and you are trying to move up, you're going to face obstacles such as race, class, culture...etc

I think that middle class Americans of any race should be looking out for our mutual interests. However, I think you are directing your anger at the wrong people. Upper class white folks are numerous and they have real power and control. If anyone is blocking your economic advancement, it is upper class whites, not the few black and hispanic beneficiaries of Affirmative Action who possess little real power, nor the asian american professional orgs, which are really more like support groups rather than exclusive power networks.

Vercingétorix said...

Comrade 'Chinaman' -

Instead of disparaging US European Americans, maybe you can at least consider another perspective; and attempt to understand how many of us feel --

*

The True Proletarian

"The true hallmark of the proletarian is neither poverty nor humble birth but a consciousness--

...and the resentment which this consciousness inspires--

...of being disinherited from his ancestral place in Society and being unwanted in a community which is his rightful home...'

...and this subjective proletarianism is not incompatible with the possession of material assets...."

Arnold Toynbee
"A Study of History" Vol. V

*

Welcome to the Steve-o-sphere!

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

"...of being disinherited from his ancestral place in Society and being unwanted in a community which is his rightful home..."

I do not understand why Obama being President, or Harvard Law REview Editor in Chief for that matter, or me working as an associate at a white shoe firm somehow "disinherits you from your ancestral place in society." Particularly middle and lower class white folks whose ancestors were not in such positions. Should qualified minorities step aside so that less qualified white folks get those positions on the account of them being white. I thought ya'll opposed affirmative action?

Look, it is hard to advance socially and economically for anyone of any race if one was not born upper class and white. I don't know why ya'll are angry at the people who are in the same boat rather than the people at the top. I don't know why ya'll are so invested in being "European American" when that identity get you nothing and never will, just like my "Asian American" identity.

Vercingétorix said...

Chinaman -

"I don't know why ya'll are angry at the people who are in the same boat rather than the people at the top. I don't know why ya'll are so invested in being "European American" when that identity get you nothing and never will, just like my "Asian American" identity."

Yet you identify yourself as not only a 'Chinaman', but a angry one at that?!? With all respect, a little inconsistent...

*

At any rate, your admiration for Obama aside, the point of my post was not about him, or about what jobs members of certain minority ethnic groups hold.

It was about the gratuitous condescension shown toward White Americans; not so much by nonwhites per se, but the demeaning ideology of multi-kult-ism, and the disrespect in the attitudes it breeds toward White European Americans.

This is ESPECIALLY TRUE of "White' Liberals" (or, in Testy-speak, SWPL, or 'Swipples' -- but let's not go there at the moment).

This was the point of the Toynbee quote.

And yes, it is upper class 'whites' that have the greatest control over things; and it is also they who are the biggest factor of middle class displacement and destruction -- of all races (other than their own:))!

Let us also remember it is they who are the biggest pushers and promoters of multi-kulti and anti-White ideology, precisely because they do not want Americans -- again of all races -- to genuinely get along and to be able to see their common interests (like you alluded to).

Believe me, many of us are not necessarily angry at immigrants or non-Whites (except when we are disrespected on account of our heritage, like any decent person should be); and many of us know full well the class warfare being waged against us by those perceived as our fellow 'whites'.

So yes, the emphasis should be on helping the middle classes of all backgrounds. However, we all should get away from this knee-jerk, Pavlovian (and Marxist) belief that White middle class people do not have legitimate interests as a group; or that somehow White middle class people need 'permission' to assert their rights.

Let us also see what we as Americans have in common, and do an end run around the increasingly totalitarian power of the elitist control freaks, who are economically bleeding us ALL white--no pun intended!

*

Since you are probably fairly new to our site, here is an excellent article by none other than the Steve-ster himself on this paradox:

09/08/02 - The Whiteness Studies Status Game
http://www.vdare.com/sailer/whiteness.htm

Again Chinaman, warmest welcome to the Steve-o-sphere -- the best site on the web!

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

Vercingetorix,

Well I chose my blogger ID because I did not want to go by "Anonymous" but I also did not want to identify my real self. Since so much discussion on this blog is about race, I thought why not ID my race, especially since as a Chinaman I bring a different perspective than ya'll white male folks.

I agree that the middle and lower classes in the US are being ripped off by upper class whites and their various minority tokens (would that include me?). And while I do favor Affirmative Action (yes even in college admissions and even for whites in certain cases) I think we should make it more class based. In fact I would like to see goverment policy directed at helping hard working lower and middle class folks of all races. If you want to get an idea of my political ideology, I consider the late great Albert Shanker to be the public/historical figure that I most identify and agree with. I also am a big fan of Sailer's "citizenism."

Oh and fyi, I am not new to the Steve-O-Sphere. I am a longtime lurker.

Vercingétorix said...

"In fact I would like to see goverment policy directed at helping hard working lower and middle class folks of all races. If you want to get an idea of my political ideology, I consider the late great Albert Shanker to be the public/historical figure that I most identify and agree with. I also am a big fan of Sailer's "citizenism." "

Sounds good to me, since I also feel Steve's "citizenism" is overall the best approach for the good will and amity of all of us Americans.

And yes, Shanker was a very honest and principled man in his convictions!

Have a good Memorial Day weekend there, and the same to 'the Steve' to all our iSteve comrades.

Ronduck said...

And while I do favor Affirmative Action (yes even in college admissions and even for whites in certain cases) I think we should make it more class based.

POC, I have to disagree, I think that any favoritism is a child's garden of diseases. Once the door is opened to unequal treatment in one area it is often opened in another area too. Besides, I would prefer an immigration cutoff to affirmative action for Whites.


If you want to get an idea of my political ideology, I consider the late great Albert Shanker to be the public/historical figure that I most identify and agree with.

According to wiki Shanker organized the teacher's unions that plague our public schools, clearly not a man to look up to.