September 28, 2011

College admissions testing in Britain and France

It's interesting to compare college admissions in the U.S. to other countries. Here's an NYT article on Britain:
For over half a century, academically inclined students in Britain or other countries who hoped to study at British universities spent their final two years at school studying for A-levels, widely regarded as the gold standard of British education. These single-subject tests are generally considered more rigorous than the French baccalaureate and roughly comparable to the Advanced Placement exams in the United States. 
Originally offered only in traditional academic subjects like English language and literature, mathematics, foreign languages and the sciences, in recent years the range has broadened to include media studies, health and social care, business studies, and travel and tourism. The grading ranges from A* and A down to E, and results are announced in early August.
Typically, a student will take three or four A-levels, which are administered in May and June of a student’s senior year. Since students currently submit university applications between September and January of their senior year — before they even take their A-levels — most British universities admit candidates with conditional offers, based on the A-level grades students are predicted to get by their teachers. For example, a student hoping to study medicine at Bristol, which last year admitted only 216 candidates out of over 3,100 applications, would need predicted grades of at least 2 A’s (including an A in chemistry) and one B. 
However, according to the University & Colleges Admissions Service, or UCAS, the private organization that manages university applications in Britain, A-level predictions are only accurate about 45 percent of the time. Students who fail to make their predicted grades face a last-minute scramble for university places and often end up in courses based on the availability of places rather than their own interests or aptitudes. Critics of the system also argue that teenagers from low-income homes often do not believe themselves capable of being admitted to the best universities; by the time they receive the grades that might have prompted them to aim higher, it is too late. 
Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS, said at a meeting of university heads in London last week, according to news reports, that starting in 2016 students should wait to receive their actual A-level grades before applying to universities. Under one set of proposals, students would take their exams before what is now the Easter break, which would mean a five-month summer vacation. Results would be available in July, with applications due in August.


It goes on to talk about the French system as well.

In the second half of the 20th Century in the U.S., the two main pillars of the admissions process were high school grades and aptitude tests (SAT/ACT). 

Those were traditionally viewed as something of polar opposites: High school GPA was a pretty good predictor of college GPA for the same reason that a baseball pitcher's ERA in the minors is a pretty good predictor of his ERA in the majors. GPA measured not only aptitude but also work ethic and effectualness. But, it had the problem that GPAs weren't nationally calibrated (e.g., which high school's grading is tougher: a 3.65 at Poly in Pasadena or a 3.65 at Poly in Sun Valley)? 

Further, grades could be gamed in lots of ways -- e.g., tutors could be hired to do projects, students could cheat off other students during final exams, parents can complain to teachers to get grades raised, and so forth.

So, the SAT was envisioned as a national test of aptitude that couldn't be studied for.

It's a big national news story this week that seven students at a fancy high school in Long Island were caught paying a college student $1500-$2500 to take their SATs for them, but that's a bit of a man bites dog story. The SAT really does have better security than many GPA related activities.

Over the years, standardized achievement tests have arisen within the American system that attempt to garner the advantages of GPA with national comparability of SAT/ACT: the SAT Subject tests, which are one hour multiple choice tests on specific subjects like American History, and the Advanced Placement tests. AP tests are rather like the British A-levels. They have a lot of prima facie validity at predicting college grades because they are similar to a comprehensive final exam in a college freshman level course 

The AP tests aren't much used at present, in part for the same reasons that the British are dissatisfied with the A-levels: they are mostly given after college admissions decisions are made and they take a long time to grade. 

About a half decade ago, the SAT was made more like the SAT Subject tests by incorporating the Subject test's writing essay and various other changes. But, are we losing the value of the differences between the SAT aptitude test and the SAT Subject achievement tests?

My general recommendations for designing college admissions would be to be aware of the ever-intensifying efforts to game the process by Tiger Mothers of all stripes and sexes. Institutional responses could come in two forms: 

- Make some parts of the process harder to game

- Channel gaming efforts into actual learning. For example, putting more weight on the compromise measures (Subject tests and AP tests) might actually get students to, say, learn more chemistry or history as a byproduct of their frenzy to game the admissions process.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's entirely plausible that coaching specifically for the test only raises scores by a fraction of an SD (see academic research). Students that actually raise their scores by more than that (e.g., 100 or 200 points on a 1600 point scale) are probably actually learning useful things, like math or vocabulary.

Why do you think otherwise? Is it just that Asians are too successful under the present system?

Early to mid-20th century discussions in the Ivy League concerning Jewish admissions indicate that Jews were studying much harder than gentiles. Even though that extra "grinding" increased their test scores and grades, admitting lots of Jews with good academic records turned out not to be a bad thing.

What makes you so worried about hard working Asians? If you think they will subsequently underperform their grind-enhanced admissions metrics, tell us why.

Anonymous said...

"...big national news story this week that seven students at a fancy high school in Long Island were caught paying a college student $1500-$2500 to take their SATs for them,..."

Unmentioned ethnic dimension to the story - Persian Jewish Americans

Yan Shen said...

"Channel gaming efforts into actual learning."

Yeah the problem with this lame attempt at trying to sound noble and pure is that Asian Americans already excel on the AP exams. Remember, according to statistics that you've cited they already take a lot more APs than do whites. So your gripe about how they should channel their energy into actual learning kind of falls flat on its face. They're already over-represented amongst top IMO, IPhO and Intel Science Talent Search competitors. They're the ones disproportionately involved in academic extra-circulars like math and science club. They already exhibit disproportionate intellectual interest/initiative relative to whites, at least in the mathematics and hard sciences.

A much better suggestion would be to channel some of the interest that whites display towards athletics into academics, but I wager that HBD limitations would prevent that from bearing fruit.

Steve, you might be interested in reading this fascinating NYT article from a few years back. It details the sudden rise of the math club at a Boston high school due to recent Asian immigration. When asked why there were so few whites in the math club, one person responded that they were more into sports.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/education/18education.html

"While the ethnic mix shifted some, families move here for the same reason my parents did 50 years ago: The housing is affordable, the subway ride to Boston is short, and Quincy public schools still send their top students to the best colleges. Though there has been an influx of Asian immigrants since the 1980's and most of the Jewish families have moved away, Quincy High remains as it was when I was a teenager, predominantly white and working-class.

So it was a surprise to see the photograph in the weekly paper, The Quincy Sun. There, on Page 7, was the Quincy High math club, and 17 of 18 members were Asian. Mathematically, it made no sense. Quincy High is 22 percent Asian; why is the math club 94.4 percent Asian? "

"n the photo, there's one white student. "I'm not really white, I'm Albanian," said Dhimiter Kondili, who came here five years ago and will attend Tufts. As to why even top white students don't join, he said: "Whites play a lot of sports. They take math, but they want to get it over with.""

Anonymous said...

It's a big national news story this week that seven students at a fancy high school in Long Island were caught paying a college student $1500-$2500 to take their SATs for them, but that's a bit of a man bites dog story.

Sorry, but I ain't buying it.

My gut has long told me that there a MASSIVE underground trade in fake test-takers, especially for e.g. minority athletes unable to pass NCAA Prop 48 requirements [similarly for law school quota admissions who are unable to pass the Bar Exam].

And my guess is that there is a small army of Saul Goodman-esque fixers out there who know how to make it happen.

Yan Shen said...

The other major problem with your position is a lack of internal consistency. You want to make the SAT more g-loaded and less amenable to preparation, but for some strange reason you also want to shift the emphasis of college admissions onto what are undoubtedly less g-loaded AP achievement tests. It's like you want to bash Asians by accusing them of gaming a less g-loaded post-1995 SAT , but then you seem to lack confidence that making the SAT more g-loaded will actually achieve your ends, so you hedge your bet by shifting the emphasis of the college admissions process onto what are undoubtedly less g-loaded AP exams.

I for one welcome Mitch's suggestion that we make the SAT math harder. Let's turn it into the AMC 10 or AMC 12 and see what happens to the Asian/white gap. We can probably get a good idea by looking at how Asian Americans actually perform on the AMC exams relative to their white counterparts.

http://amc.maa.org/e-exams/e6-amc12/e6-1-12archive/2009-12a/spry_perfect/2009PERFECTPic-final.pdf

Look at the 2009 perfect AMC10 and 12 scores. Ignore the data for the other countries they list and just look at the data for the United States. Figure out what percentage of perfect AMC 10 and 12 scorers were East Asian American and how that compares to their overall percentage amongst recent high school cohorts. I think Mitch would enjoy this exercise.

RKU said...

Yan Shen: Look at the 2009 perfect AMC10 and 12 scores. Ignore the data for the other countries they list and just look at the data for the United States. Figure out what percentage of perfect AMC 10 and 12 scorers were East Asian American and how that compares to their overall percentage amongst recent high school cohorts.

*VERY* impressive!!! Just eyeballing the names on the US perfect scores list, I'd say that something like 75-80% are East Asian. Put another way, there's only a slight difference between the family names on the US list and those on the PRC list.

As for the comparable H.S., I'd think it's maybe something like 5-8%. Assuming these estimates are roughly correct, someone should try to work out the implied SD in math ability+effort needed to produce this outcome.

I'd say we really need a heapin' helpin' of all that Gould/Lewontin theorizing to explain these empirical results away. Either that, or maybe all the white students are on drugs these days...

RKU said...

That being said, Steve's basic point about college admissions is a very reasonable one, and I really think there's too much of a studying "arms-race" going on at the elite secondary schools which feed the Ivies, which sets up a Red Queen's Race situation, in which everyone has to work enormously hard just to stay in the same place.

I think formulating a system which reduced this would be quite beneficial. And I'll bet that greater "creativity" would also result as a by-product of this...and probably fewer teen suicides...

Anonymous said...

The one size fits it all college admission tests only exist because 1) professors/staff prefer not to work more than they absolutely have to, 2) administrators prefer to have a wiggle room to admit those who are not academically qualified.

I think the approach that communist Russia had makes much more sense:

The entry gained was not to a "university" - instead, an applicant had to declare an intended major and that determined specific exams and competition levels (switching majors was near impossible afterward). Every large department within the school was autonomous in designing its own entrance exams. Typically these were four exams, two written and two oral, covering basics (language and math/science depending on specialization) plus two subjects closest the the chosen field of study. That the exams were in person meant that playing a lottery by applying to many schools was impossible - one had to weight chances very seriously and prepare for the exams in a targeted fashion. Those who did not pass the exams (top schools has 5-10% of applicants admitted) had no choice but to get a job and wait for the next year's exams. (This tended to make people very serious about choosing a school to try to get into).

While there were of course elements of corruption (bribing examiners) and political preferences (Jews were supposedly discriminated against at some point), all in all the system represented a very objective Darwinian selection that gave very little room for the affirmative action bullshit.

I sure as hell missed this system when my kids were applying for college. They both aced SAT/ACT but had sub-par GPA ("school is boring", which I concur with) and had few of the bullshit extracurriculars.

Anonymous said...

Academics don't make that much difference to get into Ivy League schools. Everyone has high SAT scores, high class ranks, and lots of Honors/AP classes taken.

Having more AP classes or a slightly higher SAT score makes some, but not that much difference.

The difference is sealed by distinguishing oneself in one or more extracurricular activities, including sports.

You would think that Sailer would know this.

Anonymous said...

"*VERY* impressive!!! Just eyeballing the names on the US perfect scores list, I'd say that something like 75-80% are East Asian. Put another way, there's only a slight difference between the family names on the US list and those on the PRC list."

What is the percentage of Asians and of Whites who take the test in the first place? How does this compare to the percentage expected if IQ were the cause?

I expect we see that the over representation of Asians, just as for Jews in the past, is mostly not IQ but because of ambition, cocooning, and location in cities with great support for "competitions".

Does this result in a less than optimum, from the nation's point of view, distribution of skills in professions? I expect so.

Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

I asked this the last time the topic of standardized tests came up, but it was a late comment and never got answered.

Does anyone know how black African and Caribbean immigrant students do on the sort of standardized tests we are talking about, both in America and Europe? I hear a lot of praise for the immigrant work ethic, but if these students were doing well in absolute terms (rather than just better than American blacks) I would expect to be hearing a lot about it, and I'm not.

Mitch said...

I for one welcome Mitch's suggestion that we make the SAT math harder.

Focus hard. Find a five year old to translate this next sentence: I did not suggest that "we" make the SAT math section harder.

Now, since you are incapable of understanding what I did write, simply parrot your own tedious ideas endlessly and stop pretending to describe mine. If you do it again, you'll be lying deliberately, instead of out sheer pig ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"I expect we see that the over representation of Asians, just as for Jews in the past, is mostly not IQ but because of ambition, cocooning, and location in cities with great support for 'competitions'".

It really bothers you people that Jews are the smartest ethny out there, huh?

On topic, EVERYONE games the system. Asians don't have an advantage, except, well, gaming an IQ test is easier if you...have a high IQ. But then in what sense is it gaming?

Big Bill said...

"it turned out not to be a bad thing"?

"Bad" for whom? Did European settlement in America "turn out not to be a bad thing" for Indians?

Did English settlement in Rhodesia "turn out not to be a bad thing" for the M'Shona?

The Dutch in South Africa? Janissary rule in Egypt?

Certainly the "American economy" is larger with 100 million more immigrants. and that is "good", right?

Further, as black and white American workers are replaced with imported Mexican, Asian and Chinese workers, the US economy is more "efficient". And efficiency is "good", right?

And now that endless immigration networks have been established with Asia, there will be an unstoppable flood of cheap workers from now on.

Today we are like the happy New England days just before King Philip's War. In 1675, however, the Indians woke up and realized they were being genocided (UN CPPCG 1947, Art. II) and things suddenly got a bit sticky.

If immigration is so good (or rather so "not bad"), why haven't the Jews adopted it in Israel?

Think of all the brilliant Hindu and Buddhist Indian and Chinese talent the Israeli Jews are missing out on, as they needlessly p!ss away hundreds of millions importing, feeding, educating and medicating African Jews.

Just doesn't make economic sense, does it?

Think how nice and diverse Israel would be with Christmas Carols, Christmas trees, Christmas shopping, Diwali and Ramadan!

Anonymous said...

I agree with waiting for test results before applying -- I had barely enough time to reapply to top level medical schools when my MCAT score was 99th percentile, higher than practice tests.

Anonymous said...

A levels are supposed to be more of a learning prerequisite than American universities expect. You have to choose your subject before you start your university course; there are no general ed courses for the most part.

The English university system is based around studying one subject at a relatively deep level for three years. So if you study chemistry at university in England, then your first lectures are on chemistry and so are your last. Any maths or physics or whatever will be chemistry related.

The UK also has FE colleges (and the sort-of hybrid "sixth form colleges") for 17 and 18 year olds. These are much less infantilizing than American high schools or the younger years of British secondary education. No compulsory gym class. If you don't want to study English or Maths, then you don't.

I am not sure how this has come about, historically. The tendency in the UK at the moment is to "broaden the curriculum" and increase the coercion. (e.g. the latest edict in England is that from IIRC think 2013 young people have to stay in education until they are 18). It may just be that there is no useful work for young people to do in the real economy and so less intellectual people go to university and so the study done there cannot be so deep.

syon said...

"I'm not really white, I'm Albanian," said Dhimiter Kondili,"

Wait, does this mean that fellow Albanians John Belushi and Eliza Dushku aren't White? Who knew that 1970s America was so accepting of racial diversity.

Anonymous said...

"Students that actually raise their scores by more than that (e.g., 100 or 200 points on a 1600 point scale) are probably actually learning useful things, like math or vocabulary."

or they are too good but were unprepared and simply reaching their potential.

"Even though that extra "grinding" increased their test scores and grades, admitting lots of Jews with good academic records turned out not to be a bad thing."

"What makes you so worried about hard working Asians?"

asians find it harder to pass off as whites.

JSM said...

"Look at the 2009 perfect AMC10 and 12 scores. Ignore the data for the other countries they list and just look at the data for the United States. Figure out what percentage of perfect AMC 10 and 12 scorers were East Asian American and how that compares to their overall percentage amongst recent high school cohorts. I think Mitch would enjoy this exercise."

Nah, Yannie, let's do even better. Find me the names for the winners from 2 decades ago (when Time Magazine was doing all those stories about how the Asian Whiz Kids were going to take us to Mars) and regale me with the tales of all their monumental accomplishments as inventors, creators and discoverers, you know, paradigm-changers, you know, all those great blessings we were promised.

And if you come back with statistics about how X percentage got Yale degrees and went on to work as M.D.s and cubicle-drone engineers, you'll have proven the point of the guys who say you all are grinds.

I want to know, who are the Newtons? The Kary Mullises? The Story Musgraves? You know, who are your guys comparable to the White farmboys who've revolutionized the world?

Anonymous said...

"Quincy High is 22 percent Asian; why is the math club 94.4 percent Asian? "

Uh, huh, and what percent of Quincy High is black and what percent of the track team is black? Football? Basketball?

Duh, people go for what they are good at.

Anonymous said...

"Quincy High is 22 percent Asian; why is the math club 94.4 percent Asian? "

Uh, huh, and what percent of Quincy High is black and what percent of the track team is black? Football? Basketball?

Duh, people go for what they are good at.

Truth said...

"I hear a lot of praise for the immigrant work ethic, but if these students were doing well in absolute terms (rather than just better than American blacks) I would expect to be hearing a lot about it, and I'm not...."

Fear not, young man:


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5791096.html

Anonymous said...

"They already exhibit disproportionate intellectual interest/initiative relative to whites, at least in the mathematics and hard sciences."

Exactly, which goes to my point that g isn't really all that general at least as it is measured by the SAT. Even the ability to sacrifice huge amounts of your time learning how to beat a test you aren't supposed to prepare for reveals more of a difference in personality/value system than in intelligence. The SAT math isn't all that hard, not even for me so don't start insisting doing simple math faster with practice is the same as high intelligence. It's not. A sufficiently intelligent, not very mathematically inclined type can do it with drilling. Also, the SAT doesn't measure much. With so much competition and so many high scores, it just makes sense to get a more detailed view of aptitudes and abilities in the college bound population.

Why would Asians who prefer math and science majors be threatened by tests demonstrating what the more generalist, liberal arts oriented whites can do? Right now, the SAT doesn't allow us to differentiate much between populations who may, in fact, have very distinct mental capabilities relative to one another. Of course, maybe there's really no market for any training other than that in math and science so this could be much ado about nothing.

I firmly believe the SAT was intended to be something like a snapshot of what students are typically capable of doing, not what they can do when working at maximum capacity. Do you really want to run like a frantic hamster in a wheel for the rest of your life? Because this is what I see as the truth about Asian's amped up effort on college admissions tests. And their grades in high school and college seem to be the result of the same frenzied routine of nothing but study.

Whites can do what you do but fear losing out on other irreplaceable opportunities - time with friends, time devoted to extracurriculars, etc. For Asians, getting into the most elite university possible is a singleminded goal. You are eking out a niche for yourselves in a new country but are, unfortunately for us, here in large enough numbers that you are affecting traditional American society. Jews did this with a relatively small population that could charm us by singing and dancing too.

For what are probably obvious reasons, Americans who have been here generations are more comfortable being sorted into ability levels at an early age and perhaps even over generations. I've known plenty of capable, hardworking white students, for instance, who could've gotten into the next level of university if they'd tried a little harder. Not one of them ever mentioned a desire to this though. Instead, they took advantage of their relatively higher IQs by getting their school work done faster then engaging in all kinds of extracurricular activities.

In the end, these whites who could be viewed as underachievers by Asian standards enjoyed life more, developed areas of expertise outside the classroom, made lots of friends they could network with after graduation and went on to successful careers.

I'm sorry but Asians haven't won the high IQ sweepstakes. This doesn't mean you don't have a set of abilities that won't give you a great relative advantage over the typical Caucasian careerwise but it does mean that you aren't as equally good at everything as your SAT scores and high school grades would suggest. What people like me are looking for is more and better information about potential college students, nothing to fear here. Asians could end up being viewed as more impressive as a result of getting a more detailed or accurate assessment of aptitude.

Anonymous said...

Here is s story about cheating on the SAT from the heavily Jewish town of Great Neck NY.


An alleged SAT cheating ring has been busted in Long Island, N.Y., resulting in the arrest of seven students.


At least six high school students allegedly paid 19-year-old college student Sam Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the test for them, prosecutors said.


Over the past year, six students from Great Neck North High School in Mineola paid Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the test on their behalf, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Simon in London said...

"Critics of the system also argue that teenagers from low-income homes often do not believe themselves capable of being admitted to the best universities"

Because of course it's only the 'best universities' that the elites care about.

The actuality is that 99% of teenagers from low income homes are barely literate, the product of our truly appalling secondary (high school) education. Some girls absorb enough to get by at lower-tier Universities; almost no boys do. The media do not seem interested in acknowledging the extent of the disaster; they may not be fully aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Fear not, young man:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5791096.html


Yes, my question was prompted by the stories I sometimes see -- such as this one -- about the high educational achievement of African immigrants.

But what I asked about was test scores! The thing is, taken at face value, a story like this would seem to imply very high test scores for the children of Nigerian immigrants, perhaps even as high as Jews. But if that were so it really would be quite significant, and I would expect the fact to be widely publicized, and used as a trump card to prove that blacks really are as smart as whites. Yet that doesn't seem to be happening! So I'm puzzled, and I'm wondering if anyone has any hard information about these children's actual test scores, either in the United States or in Europe.

RKU said...

Yes, my question was prompted by the stories I sometimes see -- such as this one -- about the high educational achievement of African immigrants...So I'm puzzled, and I'm wondering if anyone has any hard information about these children's actual test scores, either in the United States or in Europe.

Ha, ha, ha...

Anonymous said...

Simon. How do British Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis) do academically in school?

On the GCSEs I've seen reported in the BBC, Indians are quite a bit ahead and Paks/Bangs are only slightly behind whites. Both groups enroll in university at a much higher rate, despite Indians being about the same in income and Paks/Bangs being a lot poorer. So I'd assume they must be to England what Chinese/Orientals are to America. Very upwardly mobile.

Unlike the US, England's worst pupils are mainly whites. Sometimes Jamaicans too.

Which doesn't make sense from an IQ perspective. If Indians/Pakis are 81 IQ, why so good?

Anonymous said...

"Unmentioned ethnic dimension to the story - Persian Jewish Americans"

Well, that's interesting.

Knowing very well some people active in the Great Neck community, I should report a couple of relevant facts.

1. Great Neck is a VERY heavily Jewish community, and quite affluent.

2. The Iranian Jews (i.e., Persian Jews) have a terrible reputation for entitlement and pushiness among the American Jews, and are rather detested by them because of it.

All of which brings to me to a larger point. Namely, Jews complain bitterly about other Jews. And the complaints are almost always the same. Connecticut Jews can't stand the pushy, entitled New York Jews. New York Jews can't stand the pushy, entitled Iranian Jews. And American Jews can't stand the pushy, entitled Israeli Jews.

Now this is all rather remarkable because, of course, the major complaint most Gentiles register about Jews in general is that they are pushy and entitled.

But this sort of story is not true just of Jews. Like stories might be told of intra-ethnic fights among, say, Italians or Irish or you name it (Italians, for example, have a word for the lowest of the low among them: cafone. Look to Jersey Shore for examples). The very complaints registered by outsiders about the ethnic group as a whole are repeated by those in that ethnic group about some other subgroup among them.

All of which makes me conclude that there is, sadly, at least some truth in stereotype.

David Davenport said...

I firmly believe the SAT was intended to be something like a snapshot of what students are typically capable of doing, not what they can do when working at maximum capacity. Do you really want to run like a frantic hamster in a wheel for the rest of your life?

Making excuses for poor performance, aren't we?

Simon in London said...

anon:
"Simon. How do British Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis) do academically in school?

On the GCSEs I've seen reported in the BBC, Indians are quite a bit ahead and Paks/Bangs are only slightly behind whites. Both groups enroll in university at a much higher rate, despite Indians being about the same in income and Paks/Bangs being a lot poorer. So I'd assume they must be to England what Chinese/Orientals are to America. Very upwardly mobile.

Unlike the US, England's worst pupils are mainly whites. Sometimes Jamaicans too.

Which doesn't make sense from an IQ perspective. If Indians/Pakis are 81 IQ, why so good?"

Well I think the first thing to understand is that IME girls do far better than boy across all these groups, and that overwhelms racial/ethnic differences between these groups. The disparity is truly shocking.

Otherwise it's more about social caste and tribe/ethny than origin nationality. Indians do well but a lot of that is because many British Indians are descended from 'Ugandan Asian' merchants and other middle class types. Lower class south Asians tend to do badly and this is true across Pakistan, India & Bangladesh. Bangladeshis in the UK are the most consistently lower-class/caste, so they tend to do poorly. Among Pakistanis I've noticed that Pashtun girls tend to be a lot more capable than other tribes/ethnies.

On work ethic, south Asian girls seem to vary from extreme laziness to very hard working. The laziest often wear the heaviest hijab, and Islam seems to always have a deadening effect. Boys are usually lazy.

"Indians being about the same in income and Paks/Bangs being a lot poorer. So I'd assume they must be to England what Chinese/Orientals are to America. Very upwardly mobile"

Indians seem somewhat upwardly mobile; parents encourage children to go into medicine, Law etc. Their profile seems fairly similar to Indians in the US. Pakistanis & Bangladeshis are absolutely not in any way similar to Chinese in the US. A ca 20 point IQ gap and generally much weaker work ethic ensure that.

Reg C├Žsar said...

If Indians/Pakis are 81 IQ, why so good [academically]?

There are almost a billion and a half "Indians/Pakis" from which to cherry-pick. The ones who pack up for Dear Old Blighty aren't a cross-section of the folks back home, but maybe an SD or two above them.

Anonymous said...

To further Yan Shen's story about Quincy, the short ride to Boston on the Red Line wasn't attractive because parents were going to work at Fidelity or State Street, but because a lot were going to restaurant jobs in Chinatown.

My neighbor in the Wollaston section of Quincy was a cook with four daughters. All attended the Quincy public schools. College: two Harvards, a Duke and a Bard.

Svigor said...

Kato! You finally grabbed a handle. You get tired of taking the heat for every anonymous Yellow Supremacist?

Anonymous said...

Yan Shen, race warrior, once again goes nuts because a couple of sensible suggestions that don't mention Asians must be about impugning asians.

It's just proof that intelligence is no substitute for functioning brain chemistry.

-osvaldo M.

RonF said...

Given that I was offered $50 to take the ACT for one of my high school classmates who was on the wrestling team and was looking to get into college back in 1973 I can't be too terribly surprised at this news story.

My test scores on the SAT back then were good enough to get me into MIT. The incoming class at MIT this year is 28% Asian heritage (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, etc., not "East Asian" as the British understand it). As an Educational Counselor for MIT I interviewed some of these kids. The Asian kids are distinguished by not playing any sports (except very occasionally tennis or golf). They also don't spend a lot of time playing video games, etc. They generally don't have more than one sibling and at least one parent usually are doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. They always have two parents resident in the home who bust their asses if they don't get A's on their exams.

What they do spend a lot of time doing is a) studying, b) going to Chinese school on the weekend, c) music instruction (piano, violin, etc.) and d) various kinds of extracurricular activities that involve service to others as opposed to running into their classmates at high speeds on grass, Astroturf or hardwood flooring.

Anonymous said...

"The ones who pack up for Dear Old Blighty aren't a cross-section of the folks back home, but maybe an SD or two above them."

And what happens to the regression to the mean theory then? They should be regressing to the mean verrryyy fast if they were 1-2 SDs above the norm.

Nobody I have seen has answered that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: But if India is full of separate endogamous groups, then you would expect them to regress to the mean of their group, not the mean of the whole country.

rec1man said...

@Reg Cesaer, the Indians in UK are mainly Gujurati Patels and Punjabi Sikhs who are about the midway point on the Indian IQ curve

rec1man said...

@Simon, there is an IQ test of Indians in UK, done in 1995, which had an IQ score of 97. Thats puts them in the white range and add a lot off parental and family pressures to do well in school, that add the equivalent of 10 IQ points and they end up performing much better than whites

In the same IQ test, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis did much worse.
Thats the dead hand of islam and in-breeding

Anonymous said...

"And what happens to the regression to the mean theory then? They should be regressing to the mean verrryyy fast if they were 1-2 SDs above the norm.

Nobody I have seen has answered that."

?

Intelligence is heritable, you moron.

Anonymous said...

And what happens to the regression to the mean theory then? They should be regressing to the mean verrryyy fast if they were 1-2 SDs above the norm.

I don't think you understand regression to the mean. It isn't some mystical force pulling the children of bright people down and back into the pack, it's just statistics, a consequence of the fact that the the correlation between the IQs of parents and offspring is less than 1.0. Remember, parents also regress to the mean! I.e., exceptionally intelligent people don't just tend to be smarter than their children, then also tend to be smarter than their own parents.

To answer your question more directly, when you select a sample of very bright people from a population, that sample is not representative of the original population. The children are still probably going to regress to some degree, but it will be to a new mean, established for the new population. If things didn't work this way, then intelligence couldn't evolve at all!