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February 26, 2012

Comments

You should post more about growing up in NYC in the 1980s. What was your tagging name? Did you rock a Kangol hat?

Was NYC better back then? When I talk to some of my friends who have been living in NYC since graduating college (all the way back in 2009, so you know, they're practically natives now!), they complain about new comers. I guess it must be magnified 100x for those who were actually around to see the city at its worst, when the prospect of an AIDS-infected crack addict mugging you at syringe-point deterred all but the most hardy from anything other than yearly visits into the city to take in a Broadway show.

For some reason I thought you were 30-ish or even 20-ish, not 40-ish.

"Yeshiva" is not Hebrew for school. That's "Beit Sefer" (literally 'book house').

[HS: Well perhaps it meant a place where one studied the Torah and Talmud, but it seems to be used in the United States to mean Jewish schools for children.]

I suspect that many of the Asian students at Stuyvesant are not from poor immigrant non-English-speaking backgrounds. More than 45 years have passed since the big liberalization of immigration laws. I would imagine that many of the Asian student are third generation, born in America to American-born parents.

But the white flight was well underway in 80s. The thing that really changed was the number of Asians, it increased substantially in 90s and 00s. That is the main reason for increasing percentage of Asians in Stuyvesant.

Also, there are about 2 million Jews in NYC metropolitan area and about a million in the city itself. There are definitely lots of middle class people amongst a million of Jews. And they are not all Russian.

You should write a post discussing the ridiculous assertion that admissions to Stuyvesant are "meritocratic", when you have some students doing paid prep for the entrance exams, and others not even knowing that prep courses exist.

It seems that the new method of getting rich or upper middle class kids into good high schools and Universities is calling easily gamed tests "meritocratic" and then pretending that the kid that paid thousands of dollars in prep for the SAT/ ACT or high school admissions is "smarter" than the kid who didn't have that access.

Being a Ph.D. student, I can see foreign Asian students obviously gaming the system. I can't count the number of guys who scored above 700 on the English section of the GRE, who can barely have a coherent conversation, but who are pushing out American students who don't understand that there are Chinese students who are willing to sit around and memorize the idiotic analogies crap, as if that is a measure of "intelligence".

The end result of this rash of standardized tests is that we are selecting not the most intelligent, but the most obedient and unimaginative students. The systems of the past, that encouraged innovation and open thinking among students are being destroyed to make space for the kids who are willing to memorize and credential themselves, not the ones who offer the greatest potential.

Just think... Einstein today would likely have been rejected from Stuyvesant for some upper middle class asian kid whose parents drilled him on some inane admission test for the last two years. Is that really the system we want?

[HS: This comment is based on a lack of understanding of the science of intelligence. The entrance exam is highly g-loaded and cramming only increases one's score by about a third of a standard deviation. I was admitted and I never studied for the exam.]

Which # do the Bukharian Jews who cut my hair fall under?

HS, I think you'd find this Jonathan Haidt interview interesting. He makes similar points to you regarding people believing things for status reasons. He also makes an interesting point about sacralizing things and then becoming blind to contrary evidence.

" When I began this work, I was very much a liberal. And over time, in doing the research for my book and in reading a lot of conservative writing, I've come to believe that conservative intellectuals actually are more in touch with human nature. They have a more accurate view of human nature.

We need structure. We need families. We need groups. It's okay to have memberships and rivalries. All that stuff is okay, unless it crosses the threshold into Manichaeism. So I think that it would be very difficult to run a good society without resting much on loyalty, authority and sanctity. I think you need to use those...

So many people think, ‘Oh, you know, I dance to, I move to my own drum. I, you know, I'm independent. I'm a maverick.’ People think that about themselves. But research shows that even people who think that about themselves are just as influenced by what other people think of them...

So the sacralization had to happen, the sacralization of victim groups had to happen to bring the left together to fight what was a truly altruistic and heroic battle. And they won, and things are now better in this country because of that. But, follow the sacredness. Once you've sacralized something, you become blind to evidence....

I'd like to propose that we moralize two things.

One is demonization. When you have people saying, you can disagree as much as you want, but when you start saying, "They're only saying that because they're, you know, they're a racist or they're in bed with this company," or, and even though sometimes that might be true. But we are so prone to dismiss other people and demonize their motives that we’re usually going to be wrong about that. So if we could begin to see this in each other and even challenge each other and say, "Hey, you're demonizing." Like, just, you know, disagree with them but stop attributing bad motives to the other side. So if ten years from now people sort of recognize that and could call each other out on in, that would at least be some progress."

http://www.truth-out.org/jonathan-haidt-explains-our-contentious-culture/1328368654

Sorry, here is the excerpt of the interview where he makes the point about status:

"Our minds evolved not just to help us find the truth about how things work. If you're navigating through a landscape, sure, you need to know, you know, where the dangers are, where the opportunities are. But in the social world, our minds are not designed to figure out who really did what to whom. They are finely tuned navigational machines to work through a complicated social network, in which you've got to maintain your alliances, and your reputation.

And as Machiavelli told us long ago, it matters far more what people think of you than what the reality is. And we are experts at manipulating our self-presentation. So, we're so good at it, that we actually believe the nonsense that we say to other people."

"Which # do the Bukharian Jews who cut my hair fall under?"

I think HS was subclassifying the Ashkenazi Jews of greater NYC. The Bukharan Jews are non-Ashkenazi and not known as a group for high IQ, so there would be no presumption that they should be well-represented at Stuyvesant.

HS: This comment is based on a lack of understanding of the science of intelligence. The entrance exam is highly g-loaded and cramming only increases one's score by about a third of a standard deviation. I was admitted and I never studied for the exam.]

*************

I dont know, HS. Commenter sineruse has presented reams of evidence over at Steve Hsus showing that Asians woefully underperform at elite levels of achievement compared to their SAT and other test scores. In other words, test scores for Asians dramatically and hugely UNDERPREDICT their performance at elite levels of achievement. The gap is enormous, not minor, and is documented at almost every level and field of elite achievement, emphatically including STEM fields.

The obvious conclusion is that prepping for SATS and other tests yields far more dramatic results than is generally acknowledged (indeed, most studies that show slight results have been conducted by the test companies themselves, who have an obvious incentive in denying that their tests can be studied for).

At the end of the day, we dont really know WHAT SATs and other tests measure (g is a very unclear concept), we merely know that they have been good and reliable predictive tools across large populations. But new studies with Asians are beginning to show beyond any doubt that their predictive value declines dramatically when it comes to Asians - i.e, high Asian SAT and other tests scores seem NOT to predict elite level achievement the same way they do for whites.

SATs and IQ tests are uncertain and ad hoc tools that have served us well as predictive tools for the past few decades, but they should never be considered more important than real world results, and should be reconsidered when their predictive power begins to fail. Asians do fantastic on tests, yet are notably and bizarrely underrepresented at elite levels of achievement compared to their performance on these tests. The obvious conclusions is that these tests can be studied for far more than is generally allowed.

For a fuller treatment of this topic, see seineruses exhaustive presentation of evidence over at infoproc.com.

[HS: It seems to me that some people have no problem acknowledging that black people are less intelligent than whites because they score lower on tests, but then Asian people score higher and people make excuses. Sorry, I think the simplest explanation is that the average Asian is smarter than the average white, and that elite accomplishments also require social skills which Asians aren't as good at.]

Furthermore, the Asian IQ advantage over whites is quite modest at best (Murray puts Asians at 103 in the US, and whites at 100), and is mostly in spatial (Asians have slightly higher math IQs, not dramatically higher, and there is good reason to think that even this is merely a function of their dramatically higher spatial, because some math problems are spatial in nature).

So a 70% Asian student body is clearly not a function of mere intellectual ability or g - if it were, Asians would be something like 15%. They would be overrepresented, sure, but hardly by such a fraction. I also think that whites in NYC are probably higher IQ than the nation as a whole, so I doubt that NYC whites are at any cognitive disadvantage compared to NYC Asians. Differences in g simply dont seem able to explain what is going on here.

So any explanation must be sought in factors other than g. Social factors, like smart whites and Jews not seeing Stuy as good for their social aspirations, or factors that focus on the Asian work ethic, or a combination of both, etc.

[HS: This comment is based on a lack of understanding of the science of intelligence. The entrance exam is highly g-loaded and cramming only increases one's score by about a third of a standard deviation. I was admitted and I never studied for the exam.]

I don't think what is going on for standardized tests could be characterized as "cramming":

From the comments on the NY times article:

"As an administrator at a large middle school in Brooklyn, the idea that the entrance into Stuy is a true "meritocracy" is simply not true. Based on my twenty years of experience, the students from my school who get accepted in Stuy are SOMETIMES the best, but more often they were not the top of the class. Often they were the best test takers who had often been going to prep school on Satudays from an early age. Students who were more well rounded were hardly ever accepted."

The upper middle and upper class are desperate for these tests to be an accurate measure of intelligence (as if that concept can be accurately tested) because than it justifies them more or less purchasing positions in schools for their kids.

[HS: Grades aren't as highly correlated with g as admissions tests. Good test-takers but not at the top of the class means kids who are smart but are too lazy to study and do homework. Those are exactly the type of kids who need a more stimulating educational environment that Stuyvesant can offer.]

Kevin, spatial IQ and mathematical ability are not used synonymously in intelligence research. Only some aspects of mathematical ability are visuo-spatial.

Sorry, I think the simplest explanation is that the average Asian is smarter than the average white, and that elite accomplishments also require social skills which Asians aren't as good at.

******************

First, I want to point out that I was NOT talking about Asian performance in fields requiring soft skills, I am talking about Asian performance in fields like math and science and computers - purely cognitive fields - which require NO social skills. Asian performance in fields like MATH and COMPUTER SCIENCE are OVER-PREDICTED by their SAT scores to a massive degree - i.e they do MUCH LESS WELL at high levels of achievement in MATH than would be predicted by their SAT and other tests scores. Get it?

Sigh. I explicitly acknowledge that the average Asian is smarter than the average white, but seriously, cant we discuss this like intelligent adults? What difference does it make what my supposed motivations are? Maybe your unspoken imputation is right, maybe I am just some white nationalist who is just jealous that Asians are so smart - what difference does it make to my arguments? The fact of the matter is, Asians SAT scores FAIL to predict their future achievement at elite levels. This is a fact. No one disputes this. My motivations for bringing this up are irrelevant. The secondary point is that the Asian IQ advantage s too small to account for their massive overrepresentation in colleges. Again, that is a purely mathematical question which is indisputable.

That instead of arguing with facts you begin speculating about my motives is generally a sign that you feel your position is shaky, BTW.

Now back to facts 1) Massive Asian overrepresentaion at STUY ( and other schools) simply, from a mathematical POV, cannot be a function of a difference in g. 2) Asian SAT scores FAIL to predict Asian achievement at elite levels, where Asian numbers DECLINE the higher up the achievement level you go.

Number 2 STRONGLY suggests that admissions tests can be studied for to a degree not generally acknolwedged.

If you have anything intelligent or interesting to say about this aside from imputing dark motives to me, go for it.

It is just absurd that it is OK to point out realities about blacks and whites, but the moment you point out realities about Asians - you are just a sore loser who cannot stand it that Asians are smarter. Its so tedious already. Its childish, this attempt at intimidation, and no one is falling for it.

All questions are on the table - about whites, about Asians, about blacks, its all legitimate meat for debate. If a person has good data and good logic, it does not matter what his state of mind is. It is a fascinating field and I will not be intimidated by Asian apologists just as I wont be by white or black apologists.

Right now, there is a MASSIVE discrepancy between Asian test scores and Asian contribution to our national intellectual life in ALL fields (even STEM, where at elite levels Asians dont do so well). This is a glaring and incredible discrepancy that no one has accounted for yet, and that has not existed with Jews, who very shortly after their participation in secular intellectual life began to contribute at the highest levels.

The moment anyone notices this, Asian apologists begin to intimidate. Not happening, dude.

The reason no one has a *problem* with black scores is because they align very well with REAL WORLD black achievement. If blacks were scoring low but doing great in the real world, people WOULD have a problem with black test scores - duh! The problem with Asians is that their test scores and school numbers DONT align very well with their real world performance and what is known about their IQ profile. This is a puzzle that thinking people obviously wish to explain - there is nothing to *explain* in the case of blacks, no discrepancy. if you would rather just intimidate into silence those who bring this issue up, that is your choice.

As for me, I prefer to understand how the world REALLY works, and not believe in myths.

@nebbish

Kevin, spatial IQ and mathematical ability are not used synonymously in intelligence research. Only some aspects of mathematical ability are visuo-spatial.

******

Nebbish, I am aware of that. My point is that I suspect that the Asian math advantage - which is slight and far smaller than the Asian spatial advantage - is actually a FUNCTION of the Asian spatial advantage, since SOME math really spatial. In other words I suspect that there might not be an independent Asian math advantage as apart from the Asian spatial advantage. This would be consistent with the fact that the Asian math advantage is much smaller than the Asian spatial advantage, and only SOME math questions have a spatial component (so the spatial advantage would only confer a slight edge in math, which is in fact what we see).

I could be wrong, I am not militant on this particular point, but it is an interesting thing to consider.

Sineruse over at Steve Hsu has made clear that at top levels of mathematical accomplishment, Asians do significantly less well than their SAT and other test scores would predict. To me, that is interesting.

Also, HS, you appear not to have understood the point when you responded to a commenter that you did not study for the test at Stuy but were admitted. You were admitted in the 80s, before the Asian wave - it seems highly unlikely that you would be admitted TODAY if you did not cram for the test and squeeze out every last point on your grade.

[HS: Grades aren't as highly correlated with g as admissions tests. Good test-takers but not at the top of the class means kids who are smart but are too lazy to study and do homework. Those are exactly the type of kids who need a more stimulating educational environment that Stuyvesant can offer.]

Thats one explanation. The other (more simple) explanation is that the tests aren't perfectly correlated with testing "intelligence" and/or are gamed by those with the inclination and resources to do so.

Frankly, I'm puzzled why somebody would be so adamant that there is definitive, easily standardized method of testing intelligence, which can't be gamed or studied for, when, as the poster above discusses, the results don't bear out in the real world.

Whats more likely in your opinion?

1. We have a perfect test which can't be influenced by outside factors for testing the broad term of "intelligence", but the resulting "top students" don't represent themselves in the real world.

2. The results of the test don't bear out in the real world because the test results are easily manipulated by those with resources to study for.


Its shocking to read on this board that there is actually a belief that "standardized" tests can't be beaten or gamed, as the very definition of standardization suggests that gaming the system is a byproduct of it. You can't have uniform results across high numbers of people without a well defined system... and if you have a well defined system, it can be gamed.

Probably the most interesting piece of evidence for what I guess is the Sineruse hypothesis of Asian 'striving' lies in SAT verbal scores.

There is a deep body of psychometric research which shows that E. Asian verbal IQ is similar to or slightly lower than the white average. Of course all the usual caveats about IQ tests apply, but in this case it is a pretty consistent finding, and includes East Asian Americans.

Psychometrics would predict that Asians and whites perform similarly on the SAT-V. At first look, that is what we see: Asians averaging slightly below whites on the SAT V. But there are a number of conflating facts hiding behind this number. First, "Asian American" includes groups thought to have lower IQs than East Asians, second, many Asians are ESL, and third, far more Asians take the SAT than whites.

When we take all of this into account Asian SAT-V scores are remarkable. Despite cutting far deeper into the left half of the bell curve, including NEAMs, and a reasonable amount of ESL, Asians still perform as well as whites on the SAT-V! In fact, Asians are three times more likely than whites to score above 750 on the SAT-V.

It is impossible to explain this performance in terms of aptitude. If a group has similar cognitive abilities (as Asians do to whites, with respect to verbal IQ) we expect them to perform as well. Instead, East Asians dramatically out perform whites on the SAT-V once self-selection, NEAMs, and ESL are taken into account.

As expected, this advantage disappears later on in the pipeline with EA's performing similarly to whites on the LSAT, and then worse in law school. In short, at every point in the verbal sequence Asian achievement is overpredicted by Asian test scores.
This theory fits best with the evidence. It is simpler than a theory which says "Asians have higher VIQ than whites, but under-perform on all the metastudies, then reach their potential on the SAT-V, then under-perform on the LSAT due to self-selection, then under-perform in law school due to self selection." All the Sineruse theory requires is as an assumption that Asians try harder on average.

Stuyvesant high school was three blocks from my home, but even though my I.Q. was 148 I couldn't go there (the crime of being female) and had to travel one hour each way on the subway to Bronx Science. I graduated in 1968, the first year Stuyvesant accepted girls. Great timing. Same thing trying to get into Cornell for pre-vet. They only accepted 17 females out of a class of 200. Even though I had a Regents' scholarship, no go there either. When I called the Admissions Office to ask why, a guy screamed at me that if I were admitted then some guy would have to be sent to Viet Nam.

Sometimes there are political factors which exclude people who want to go and are otherwise qualifies. I'm Jewish, by the way.

Kevin sounds like a nutcase. No one accused you of being a white nationalist, no one is trying to "silence" you. But you seem to think that is the case.

Another thought --

If so many of your relatives have departed NYC for the Sunbelt, why are you still there? It seems that NYC is only worth it if:

You're in the 1%
You're under 30, no kids, and still working on the perfect sleeve tattoo
You're part of a tight-knit ethnic community

What keeps you in NYC, HS?

[HS: Where do you think I should move? And how would I find a job at this other place that pays $130K plus benefits? (A crappy salary for sure compared to BIGLAW and Investment Banking, but I'm not so sure I would even make $30K in the Sunbelt. I don't do computer programming any more.)]

My wife is Japanese and our three children are therefore half Japanese. I do want to believe that there are uniformly superior genes there, but I have a hard time at it. It's a mix.

Intellegence plus assertiveness, fierceness and maturity seems to result in world-level leadership, something Asians have often not excelled at.

Compare Blacks and Hispanics. Blacks are culturally large and influential and many of the genuinely great orators of history have been black, especially black ministers. Black politicians are common and can be powerful, not mere affirmative action placeholders. Black music, style, dance and entertainment are not merely competitive but leading elements of American culture and have been for generations.

Hispanics, not so much. In terms of Hispanic speakers, political leaders, business leaders stars and trend setters there are very few.

I wonder if there is something similar among Asians vis-a-vis whites. To boil down success to 'g' seems to miss giant pieces of the puzzle. What about emotional and physical and biological maturity? It literally seem like Asians and Hispanics lean more toward juvenile characteristics on average than whites and blacks.

When wolves were domesticated into dogs by taking out the aggression, you somehow ended up with something that resembles juvenile wolves all the way down to head shape. This is true of many domesticated animals.

While I'm at it, I would note that this difference of youthfulness and maturity is also seen between women and men. Women and men score not that far apart on IQ tests, but almost all Fortune 500 CEOs and Presidents and many leaders in the field of (you fill in the blank) are men.

Kevin,

Asians study far harder for standardized tests than the white population. A half sd increase in test scores due to studying, plus the 1/5 to 1/2 innate advantage over whites will explain much of this over representation at low levels and a relative under representation at higher levels.

It also seems to me Asians lack creativity, risk taking, and a willingness to consider heterodox ideas. This would dramatically reduce the representation of Asians among breakthrough thinkers.

Just a thought: could many of the Asian students at Stuyvesant be half-Jewish? Asian-Jewish marriages certainly aren't uncommon, and they've been going on for long enough that some of the children are of high school age. I don't know if the education department statisticians counts these students as Asian, though given political correctness requirements they probably do.

Yes, I am aware that Jewish-Asian people generally do not qualify as Jewish under the strict religious definition because in most cases their mothers are not Jewish.

I like the way you guys argue that the asians cram the SAT and it is therefore not a true measure of IQ and then you turn back and use the same test to prove that you are genetically superior to blacks because the SAT shows genetic iQ.The intellectual dishonesty is remarkable to say the least.

Kevin FTW!

@Ls, yes, the best explanation of the evidence is that Asian representation is a function of studying hard, but many simply do not wish to accept this. If you so much as point out that the modest Asian IQ advantage cannot mathematically account for Asian numbers at elite schools, you are accused of not being willing to accept that the average Asian is smarter than the average white, lol.

Tractal makes an excellent point about the studiability of the SATs - that Asians, with a verbal IQ similar to whites, do significantly better on the verbal SATs provides incredibly strong evidence that the SATs are an extremely inadequate measure of g and can be studied for with dramatic effects. For many people in the HBD community, this is a very frightening and scary train of thought to follow - the g-loading of the SAT is something of a sacred belief amongst HBDers, and not to be questioned. Stray discrepancies in the evidence must be swept under the rug.

I personally do not believe that Asians are less intellectually risk taking or that they are less willing to consider heterodox ideas. I believe that the modern world in general - and American culture in particular - provides incredibly strong incentives for developing novel ideas, and Asians, as passionate social and intellectual strivers, are incredibly motivated to develop new intellectual ideas.

My personal sense is that human intelligence is as yet extremely poorly understood - IQ tests are extremely crude tools whose main value is in making statistical predictions across large population groups - and that eventually the reason for Asian un-creativity will be found to be something not related to their personalities, but to some feature of the Asian cognitive profile. I base this also on my personal interactions with Asians, who seem to be often quite aggressive and ambitious, but to have a curiously limiting *flavor* to their thinking that strikes me as something innate to the Asian intellect.

But this is all speculation at this point. As the science of intelligence progresses, no doubt more light will be shed on this, and I could be completely wrong.

lol, I DID over-react a bit above to HS - I am just so used to the situation over at infoproc where all these Asian nationalists try to bully everyone and shut the conversation down the moment anyone mentions any data that point out that Asians dont achieve very well at high levels, that their numbers at elite unis cannot mathematically be a function of a difference in g, etc.

If you point out that Asian representation cannot be a function of their modest IQ advantage, you are called a White Nationalist (by Asian Nationalists, lol ;)). It gets tiresome, because it really IS an interesting qustion, and it really IS puzzling! And having to deal with pathetic attempts at anti-intellectual intimidation by obvious Asian Supremacists when you are trying to have an adult conversation is just annoying!

@#4

I can't believe there are any prole Jews left at all. I'm one, but I'm much older than the teenagers who might attend Stuyvesant.

@#6

Even back then, it wasn't uncommon for kids already living in the burbs to lie about their residence, claiming a grandparent's or other relative's address in the five boroughs so they could go to Science or Stuyvesant.

"It seems that the new method of getting rich or upper middle class kids into good high schools and Universities is calling easily gamed tests "meritocratic" and then pretending that the kid that paid thousands of dollars in prep for the SAT/ ACT or high school admissions is "smarter" than the kid who didn't have that access."

I was a Kaplan teacher, and my opinion is that the benefit of coaching is slight. The main effect is to reduce anxiety.

"there are Chinese students who are willing to sit around and memorize the idiotic analogies crap, as if that is a measure of "intelligence"."

Stupid people can't memorize anything. You'd have about as much luck trying to get chimps to memorize analogies as a bunch of inner-city NAMs.

"The end result of this rash of standardized tests is that we are selecting not the most intelligent, but the most obedient and unimaginative students."

In the real world work environment, in most cases a less-intelligent (but not completely stupid) conscientious worker is more useful than a more-intelligent but lazy worker.

Asians very well could be smarter, but all the Tiger Mothering and long hours studying probably make a difference. For Asians to be 72.5 percent of Stuyvesant is a vast overperformance of their mean IQ of 103 and might be even better than Jewish overperformance.

HS --

in response to your earlier comment, you only need to make ~ 55k in, say, Kentucky to equal 130k in Manhattan. Contentment is all about relative, not absolute, wealth!

I didn't realize how old, cramped, and well, ugly, much of the Northeast is until work required me to stay for three months in Philadelphia.

I wonder if Asians will still continue to have bad social skills after a few generations have grown up here and start to learn the game. Leaving aside the question of appearance and lineage, you'd have a hard time going to Japan and learning their intricate social protocols.

So whites are ahead, but may not be forever. And Indians (South Asian) appear to do pretty well in the private sector, including in social skills areas.

Now, I know I probably don't have the right technical terms here, but what about the issue of calibrating the test so the median score, maximum possible score, etc., are pitched to a certain level of ability?

I.e., maybe getting 800 on the math SAT is "easy" enough that thousands of people with the right test prep can do it, and these 800s give you no information about who's in the 99th percentile, 99.9th, 99.99th, etc.?

Or, getting an "A" in college classes is easy enough that it doesn't give you that information either?

What's the ethnic breakdown of the Putnam mathematical competition? Of of enrollment in Math 55 at Harvard? And, do these people go on to become world-class achievers?

The point I'm trying to make is, maybe "typical white/Asian IQ + 1000 hours test prep" is enough to get you over the "low bar" of Ivy admission / Stuy admission / 800 SAT score, but not really enough to get you to world-class achievement.

Math 55:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Math_55
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2006/12/6/burden-of-proof-at-1002-am/

I agree that Kevin seems to be having the best of this argument. It makes sense that smart, motivated people (Asians, and upper class whites too) can beat an intelligence test given sufficient prep time and effort. I do not think the SAT is by any means infallible - I know people who increased their scores by over 100 points the second time taking the SAT. How should that be possible on a true test of IQ?. It is also probably true that blacks and hispanics who do not grow up learning standard English do score worse than a white American of the same IQ level. Still, the fact that those blacks and hispanics aren't motivated to study is probably based in more than simply a cultural flaw. As a crude proxy SAT scores are probably indicative of gross trends, but don't get too attached to their accuracy.

"It makes sense that smart, motivated people (Asians, and upper class whites too) can beat an intelligence test given sufficient prep time and effort."

Yes, it makes sense that smart people do well on intelligence tests. They're not "beating" the test - the test is measuring what it's *supposed* to measure!

"I do not think the SAT is by any means infallible - I know people who increased their scores by over 100 points the second time taking the SAT. How should that be possible on a true test of IQ?"

If the test prep place gives you a test that's significantly easier than the real test, then it creates a false appearance that test prep greatly improved your score.

Of course, for-profit test prep centers would neeeever do that. /sarc

To PublicSphere - I believe that Daniel Quillen was a Putnam high-scorer and David Mumford was I
believe a two-time Putnam high scorer.

The notion that people can maximize their physical and mental endowments through practice should not be controversial (how much may be up to argument).

"If the test prep place gives you a test that's significantly easier than the real test, then it creates a false appearance that test prep greatly improved your score."

No, I am talking about the actual test. You can take the SAT more than once, and colleges will ignore the first score. At least in the 1980s it worked that way, and if anything the test appears to have been dumbed down since then.

*Sigh*

I increased my SAT score ~200 points between two tries. I was sick the first time. I am Asian, yet my Critical Reading>Math (700 vs 790). I don't believe for a minute that the SAT is an IQ test. Really, IQ tests themselves are highly gamble.

Of course intelligence exists, but I don't think any psychometric tests really accurately gauge it. I support HBD, but honestly, the reliance on IQ is a bit over the top. Look at real accomplishments. Were there any Bantu civilizations of note? Europeans, Arabs, and Chinese all had their golden ages, the Africans had none.

Honestly, I doubt Asian IQ is any more than 1-2 points above the white average. Asian Americans are hardly representative of the broader Asian population. They are an elite of sorts.

Also, Half Sigma, I'm a Chinese Muslim by culture/ethnicity. I'm not ashamed of my "religion" at all. Maybe your friend didn't want to cause tension, especially if he knew that you were Jewish, since the whole Israel-Palestine thing causes many people to be overly emotional. I have Arab, Pakistani, Malay, and Jewish friends. I leave politics out of my personal life for the most part.

Everyone says there is this RACE problem

The problem is we don’t understand the CARS.

Alvin Leung is white. Come on.

White people panicking?

HS, what are you doing now if not programming? I thought you were still slaving away as a .NET nerd.

My two cents: when I went to public high school in the early 90s, nobody prepped. Only a small handful of kids got over a 1300 (pre-re-centering). Talking to younger folks I work with now who are from similar backgrounds, 1300 is considered a middling score among the high achievers.

Kids prep like mad now, and it makes a huge difference in their scores.

[HS: 1. The test was renormed in 1996 so scores increased by 70 points for that reason; 2. everyone I know studied for the SAT.]

HS, Matt is quite correct. I grew up in Manhattan and would have been grateful for a 500 square foot apartment in a "good" building. I moved West and even though I live in the Bay Area, an expensive market by anyone's standards, I often amuse myself by comparing my quite ordinary 1500 square foot townhouse with its little patio garden to the equivalent in my old home town. "I'm a millionairess, A MILLIONAIRESS!" I watch the real estate and home improvement shows that take place in NYC and gloat :)

On a kind of related note, how come so few Jews on Jeopardy? I'd say you see a Jewish person on the show less often as you see an east Asian or an Asian Indian. And that's not very often.

"Even back then, it wasn't uncommon for kids already living in the burbs to lie about their residence, claiming a grandparent's or other relative's address in the five boroughs so they could go to Science or Stuyvesant."

There's probably stricter enforcement today, including criminal prosecutions, so parents are less willing to lie.

"how come so few Jews on Jeopardy?"

Because they don't watch Jeopardy? Game shows are high prole entertainment. Smart Jews and Episcopalians are just not interested for the most part.

"My two cents: when I went to public high school in the early 90s, nobody prepped."

True at my school as well. I was one of the few kids whose parents cared enough to make me do a practice book first. But in those days getting into UNH pretty much guaranteed you a decent future anyway, so there wasn't a lot of pressure.

No, I just have a grudge against normal Chinese who discriminate against me in Taiwan, where I lived for most of my childhood. After my parents moved to the states, things got better. White people can't tell Asians apart for one. I am only 1/2 Chinese, I'm also 1/2 Indon. Not white, but not pure Chinese.

Maybe my bitter tone is from these experiences.

"I am just so used to the situation over at infoproc where all these Asian nationalists try to bully everyone and shut the conversation down the moment anyone mentions any data that point out that Asians dont achieve very well at high levels, that their numbers at elite unis cannot mathematically be a function of a difference in g, etc."

Heh, I got flamed at Gothamist a week or so ago when I had the audacity to suggest that Asians do well in America. It appears that merely pointing out that poverty among Asians is mainly limited to first-generation immigrants is tantamount to a hate crime.

My guess is that one of two factors is at play. Asians may be a self-effacing group who are too modest to acknowledge that they do well. The other possibility is a fear that doing well makes them vulnerable to criticism and discrimination. Whatever the case, Asians do not like to be reminded of their achievements.

Pure hypothesis here: Could cramming help Asians pass qualifying tests, but also damage the curiosity and initiative needed for high achievement?

There was an African civilization called Kush, south of ancient Egypt and at a similar tech level.

"Because they don't watch Jeopardy? Game shows are high prole entertainment. Smart Jews and Episcopalians are just not interested for the most part."

Wheel of Fortune is high prole entertainment, but definitely not Jeopardy. The contestants are far from proles and the audience is probably similar. I'm reasonably smart but can only answer a handful of the questions.

"When wolves were domesticated into dogs by taking out the aggression, you somehow ended up with something that resembles juvenile wolves all the way down to head shape."

That's a discredited theory:
http://retrieverman.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/the-myth-of-neoteny/
(...)
"In Coppinger’s theory, physical neoteny, which is there at some level, is accompanied by behavioral neoteny. Wags looked like a fully adult wolf, not like a cuddly little puppy, but she acted more or less like a Labrador retriever. Jess’s Azawakh has drop ears and a hound-dog appearance, both of which are manifestations of physical neoteny.

You cannot predict among dog breeds which ones are friendly or not by their appearance. Kuvaszok look like golden retrievers, but they will guard sheep and property just as wild wolves protect their territories and pups from intruders from other packs. German shepherds and Malinois look like wolves, but they are very easy to train.

And then there are the wolves that live by scavenging today.

If Coppinger suggests that all domestication required was for wolves to scavenge off of human settlements, then why aren’t the wolves of Israel and Italy becoming dogs? I’ve never heard of a floppy-eared wolf in Israel or in Italy. Nor have I heard of one with spots on it.

Then, there is the big one.

Last year, Mark Derr sent me an e-mail with the title “neoteny death nell.” In it was an attachment of a study on St. Bernard skulls by Abby Drake and Christian Peter Klingenberg. The authors discovered that over the past 120 years, the St. Bernard’s skull changed to a more rounded and more dome-like shape as the result of selective breeding, not any magical process that was the result of breeding for greater docility or trainability. The results of this study and a full critique of Coppinger’s neotenous dog model can be found in Mark Derr’s forthcoming book, How the Dog Became the Dog"
(...)
" One of the big flaws in Coppinger’s analysis is the reliance upon the Belyaev fox farm experiment to generate most of this theory. I agree that this is an interesting study, but it can’t tell us everything there is to know about dog domestication. It’s not a good 1:1 comparison. In the end, I think the most important thing to come from the experiment is the change in the critical period time between non-selection and selection for tameness foxes. That change in critical periods can have really major effects upon the development of any animal, because a longer period gives an animal much longer time to become social to more creatures. Further, the floppy ears and spots have occurred in farmed foxes for many years, and there is no evidence that these foxes are tame. There are whole strains of non-tame farmed foxes that are spotted. And then, there’s the case of a line of Mexican wolves that were kept at Carlsbad Caverns. After generations of keeping them in captivity, they started to develop dog-like features, even though they had never been selected for tameness. Because of these features, the wolves were thought to be hybrids with dogs and were euthanized. However, the DNA analysis of surviving wolves from this lineage revealed that they were pure Mexican wolves."
(...)

Re: gaming SAT...did you see this article on a Stuy kid who proved that SAT essay score can be gamed (not based on intelligence)? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/05/milo-beckman-new-york-tee_n_779722.htm
Incidentally, I knew this technique in high school in India in 1981... But nice to see a bright kid prove this mathematically anyway.

Sorry...dropped the 'l' in HTML above.
Try
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/05/milo-beckman-new-york-tee_n_779722.html

[HS: It was a really stupid idea to add a written essay to the SAT. The multiple-choice parts of the exam are highly g-loaded.]

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