WP: ‘U-Md. Latino students described as ‘mediocre’ and ‘pretty bad’ in mass email’

Washington Post:

Latino students were described as “mediocre” and “pretty bad” in an email that was accidentally sent by a professor to students registering for a mock trial class at the University of Maryland.

Mark Graber sent the missive Thursday to students in the class, inadvertently including remarks from Abigail Graber, identified by the Diamondback student newspaper as his daughter and a lawyer who volunteered as an assistant coach for the team. The university then asked the two to resign, which they did, according to an email sent to students…

In the email to students, Abigail Graber wrote that she had a question about diversity. While lamenting that they had “almost no Latino students on team,” she proceeded to say that the Latino students were not very qualified for the class.

“If I were to rank purely on performance, I would probably only take 1 of them. Should I take 2? All three? None have mock trial experience,” Abigail Graber wrote. “The mediocre one is extremely involved in community activism/organizing (she’s the one I would probably take no matter what, what she lacks in skill she makes up in confidence, although she may be too busy for this commitment).”

Are latino students, by and large, “mediocre” and “pretty bad”? The Washington Post does not investigate this but the facts are easy to come by.

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* The most liked comment provides a glimmer of hope (remember, this is the WaPo readership):

9/2/2017 12:21 AM PDT

Please, please, please stop confusing valid, contextual assessments for bias or racism. It undermines real issues of inequality and bias and adds support to those who criticize valuable programs such as affirmative action. I am a woman and minority who has understands these challenges but this is not the case. This is a private conversation that was actually trying to provide greater consideration for diversity despite, what seems to be, an honest assessment that for convenience sake, was categorized. Like saying those “short kids aren’t really good at basketball but they play hard and should we consider other things as part of eligibility of the fitness program.” It is unfortunate that these two were fired instead of the school using this issue as an opportunity for dialogue since this is a real life example of how so much of how we are understood is based on the good intentions we project on the speaker.

Steve Sailer wrote in 2013:

Another point from my new FAQ on the Richwine whoop-tee-doo in Taki’s Magazine.

Q. Who cares about test scores besides the Ivy League?

A. The military. A disproportionate number of Hispanics don’t qualify to enlist. A 2009 RAND Corporation report for the National Defense Research Institute to look into this sizable problem, Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth: Obstacles and Opportunities, found that “Hispanics are underrepresented among military recruits.”

A major reason for this is that to get into the military these days, you have to score on the Pentagon’s entrance exam (the AFQT) at least at the 31st percentile (what the Pentagon calls Category IIIB). RAND reported:

Only 36 percent of young Hispanic high school graduates would score in AFQT Category IIIB [31st percentile] or above, compared with 68 percent of white high school graduates. A key implication of this result is that increasing the high school graduation rate among Hispanic youth may not lead to comparable increases in enlistment eligibility.

Note that this comparison excludes the large percentage of young Hispanic high school dropouts. So, 64% of Hispanic high school graduates (in the major 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth study funded by the federal government) score in the bottom 30% of the AFQT, versus 32% of white high school graduates. Now, problems with the English language are an issue that sap Hispanic performance on the AFQT to some extent, but we’re still talking about Hispanic high school graduates here, not dropouts. 

Also, the NLSY97′s sample consisted of 9,000 kids from 12 to 16 on 12/31/96. So, it doesn’t include immigrants who arrived after that age, and, I suspect, it would be light on illegal immigrants and even children of illegal immigrants, whose parents probably wouldn’t be as quick to volunteer them for a study where the federal government tracks how they are doing each years for the rest of their lives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues annual reports on how its NLSY97 sample is doing in life as they reach each additional year of age. The 2013 report looked at progress by age 25:

“At age 25, there was a large difference in educational attainment among racial and ethnic groups. Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to be high school dropouts in the October they were age 25. In comparison, whites were more than twice as likely as blacks or Hispanics to have received their bachelor’s degree by this age. Thirty percent of whites had received their bachelor’s degree, compared with 14 percent of blacks and 12 percent of Hispanics.”

That’s not horrible, but getting slightly less education than African-Americans isn’t good, either. As I point out in my FAQ in Taki’s, because Hispanics average higher overall on IQ tests than blacks, they ought to be getting more years of education than blacks get. Thus, IQ testing implies that Hispanic educational achievement is being depressed by the Hispanic culture of apathy toward education, which is something that could be fixed in the very long run — an insight for which everybody ought to thank the IQ testing experts, not sneer at them.

There’s no mention of IQ in this New York Times article. When you account for IQ, there’s no significant under-representation for blacks and latinos in America’s top universities and in high IQ occupations. The average African-American IQ in America is 85, the average latino IQ is 90, the average white IQ is 100, the average East Asian IQ is about 105 and the average Ashkenazi IQ is between 105-115.

Does affirmative action make people more or less likely to hire a black professional?

Steve Sailer writes:

It’s almost as if 45 to 50 years of affirmative action haven’t succeeded in making blacks and Hispanics smarter …

Here’s the 1996-2011 trends in SAT Math scores from Unsilenced Science:

Not much is happening other than Asians are scoring higher.

Similarly, here’s Unsilenced Science’s graph of trends on the composite SAT and ACT college admission test scores:

Asians are pulling away from pack, while blacks are lagging. (The number of blacks taking these tests has been going up, so that performance isn&#821#8217;t all that bad.)

– And it’s almost as if the massive increase in Asian-American and foreign Asian enrollment in colleges had to hurt other groups’ numbers due to simple arithmetic.

Here’s a recent Brookings Institution graph:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.56.56

Blacks make up only 2% of those scoring on the math SAT 650 to 700, 2% of 700 to 750, and 2% of 750 to 800. In contrast Asians make up 27% of 650 to 700, 39% of 700 to 750, and 60% of 750 to 800.

A 650 on math is a good score, but not amazing: it’s at the 86th percentile of those who take the SAT and the 90th percentile of a nationally representative sample (including those who missed out on taking the SAT because they were in Juvy Hall). So blacks make up 6% of elite college freshmen but only 2% among those scoring at the 86th percentile or higher on the Math SAT. Of course, blacks don’t benefit from White Privilege.

Here’s the Brookings article on how test score gaps aren’t closing much.

Professor Linda Gottfredson wrote:

1. IQ (as long as it's a good measure of g) predicts a broad range of life outcomes better than does SES [socio-economic status], from GPA to longevity. Corollary: You can wash out IQ's apparent predictive superiority only if you load your SES battery with additional surrogates for parents' or own g.

2. The phenotypic correlations between IQ and measures of social class (education, occupational prestige, income) are from a half to two-thirds genetic in origin.

3. SES cannot explain the big IQ differences among siblings growing up in the same household: They differ two-thirds as much in IQ, on the average (11-12 points), as do any two random strangers (~17 points). This is a glaring fact that SES enthusiasts have studiously ignored.

4. Adult functional literacy (e.g., see the fed's NALS survey) predicts life outcomes in exactly the same pattern as does IQ, though they won't tell you that. Functional literacy is measured by having subjects carry out everyday life tasks, such as using a menu to figure out the price for something. Persons scoring at levels 1-2 (out of 5) have been described as not having the ability to use their rights or meet their responsibilities in the modern world (40% of whites, 80% of blacks). Pick out a few NALS tasks at various levels and ask your critic what % of adults s/he thinks can perform them. They will be shocked and so will you when you see the data–go to my 1997 "Why g matters" article for NALS, or my 2002 "highly general and highly practical" chapter for health literacy items–e.g., on diabetes.

5. IQ predicts on-the-job performance better overall than any other single predictor (SES isn't even in the running), it predicts better when performance is objectively rather than subjectively measured, and when the tasks/occupations are more complex in what they require workers to do. At the same cognitive complexity level, IQ predicts job performance equally well in manual and non-manual jobs (e.g., trades vs. clerical. The exact same complexity pattern is found with functional literacy–the hardest items are the most complex (require more inference, are abstract rather than concrete, contain more distracting irrelevant information, etc.)

6. A large followup of Australian veterans found that IQ was the best predictor of death by age 40 (had 50+ predictors). Vehicle fatalities were the biggest cause (as is typical), and, compared to men with IQs of 100+, men of IQ85-100 had twice the rate and men IQ 80-85 had three times the rate. (Remember, SES could not explain this.) The US (and apparently Australia) forbid induction of persons below IQ 80 because they are not sufficiently trainable–found out the hard way.

7. Finally, if you succeed in describing g as a general learning and reasoning ability (one that gives high g people an increasing edge when tasks are more complex), then it is easy to show g's life and death relevance when you describe how health self-care and accident prevention are highly dependent on learning and reasoning. Consider what it takes to be an effective diabetic–lots and lots of judgment on a daily basis, or you're likely to lose your sight, your limbs, etc.

Gottfredson wrote:

Of all human traits, variation in general intelligence (g) is the functionally most important in modern life. The first question that behavior genetics tackled was ‘‘how heritable are within-group differences in intelligence?’’—the answer: ‘‘very.’’

Gottfredson said: "Keep in mind that false belief in infinite human malleability led to some of the worst horrors of the 20th century. I also think it is patronizing and usually self-serving when elites contend that the American public cannot be trusted with certain facts."

Gottfredson wrote:

If all 13‐year‐olds took the same 15‐minute test (WASI), I could give you each child’s odds for all these adult outcomes without knowing anything else about them.
– Drops out of high school,
– Holds mostly unskilled jobs, skilled jobs vs. professional jobs
– Performs those jobs well
– Lives in poverty AND
– Can find a particular intersection on a map, or grams of carbohydrate per serving on a food label
– Adheres to a medical treatment regimen for diabetes or other chronic illness
– Dies prematurely

Gottfredson wrote:

The first step in assessing the real-life importance of g/IQ is to determine whether scores on highly g-loaded tests (tests that measure g well) predict differences in valued life outcomes. Correlations do not prove causation, but they are a first step in doing so. The most studied outcomes are performance in school (such as school marks and achievement test scores), performance on the job (mostly supervisor ratings), socioeconomic advancement (level of education, occupation, and income), and social pathology (adult criminality, poverty, unemployment, dependence on welfare, children outside of marriage). The relations of intelligence to health, health behavior, resilience in the face of extreme adversity, longevity (length of life), and functional literacy (the ability to do routine reading, writing, and arithmetic tasks in modern societies) have also begun to draw much attention. Thousands of studies have looked at the impact of mental abilities on school and job performance, and large national longitudinal studies in both Europe and the United States have shown that IQ is related to various forms of socioeconomic success and failure. Here are their most general findings about g’s association with life outcomes.

Correlations with IQ are pervasive. IQ predicts all the foregoing outcomes to some degree. Subjective well-being (happiness) is the rare exception: it is regularly found not to correlate meaningfully with IQ level. In general, g relates more to instrumental behavior than emotional reactions.

Correlations with IQ vary systematically by type of outcome. IQ’s predictive value ranges widely, depending on the outcome in question. For example, when averaged over several years, performance on standardized tests of academic achievement correlates about as highly with IQ as two IQ tests do with each other (over .8 on a scale of -1.0 to 1.0). In contrast, correlations with IQ are closer to .6-.7 for school marks, years of education completed, and longevity. They are about .5 with prestige level of occupation, .3 to .4 with income (the correlations rising with age), and .2 with law-abidingness.

Correlations with IQ are higher when tasks are more complex. To illustrate, when jobs are ranked in overall complexity of work, the correlations between IQ and job performance rise from .2 for simple, unskilled jobs, to .5 in middle-level jobs (skilled trades, most clerical work), to .8 in the most complex (doctors, engineers, top executives). Stated another way, it matters little how intelligent workers are in low-level jobs, but it matters a great deal in high-level jobs, regardless of whether the job seems academic or not.

IQ/g is best single predictor, mental or non-mental. IQ/g usually predicts major life outcomes better than does any other single predictor in broad samples of individuals. For example, whether IQ predicts strongly (educational performance) or weakly (law-abidingness), it predicts better than does social class background…

Social privilege theory also predicts that the impact of environmental conditions will accumulate with age, but longitudinal studies show that IQ actually becomes more heritable over the life span (from 40% before entering elementary school to 80% by mid-adulthood). Perhaps most surprising of all, differences in family advantage have no lasting effect on IQ by adolescence, at least in the U.S. and Europe, so family members are no more alike in IQ by adulthood than their genetic relatedness would predict…To take one example, the post-World War II communist government of Warsaw, Poland, assigned families of all social classes to the same housing, schools, and health services, but this social leveling failed to narrow intelligence differences in the next generation…

The pattern is that, when two groups differ in average IQ, the proportions of their populations found at each point on the IQ distribution differ most at the extremes, or tails, of the IQ distribution. This is seen most clearly by looking at the ratios in the bottom three rows of Figure 3. Take, for example, blacks and whites above IQ 100. Blacks become progressively rarer, relative to whites, at higher IQ levels: 1:3 above IQ 100, 1:7 above IQ 110, and only 1:30 above IQ 125…

IQ 75 signals the ability level below which individuals are not likely to master the elementary school curriculum or function independently in adulthood in modern societies. They are likely to be eligible for special educational services in school and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the U.S. government, which is financial support provided to mentally and physically disabled adults. Of course, many do marry, hold a job, raise children, and otherwise function adequately as adults. However, their independence is precarious because they have difficulty getting and keeping jobs that pay a living wage. They are difficult to train except for the simplest tasks, so they are fortunate in industrialized nations to get any paying job at all. While only 1 out of 50 Asian-Americans faces such risk, Figure 3 shows that 1 out of 6 black- Americans does.

IQ 85 is a second important minimum threshold because the U.S. military sets its minimum enlistment standards at about this level. Although the military is often viewed as the employer of last resort, this minimum standard rules out almost half of blacks (44%) and a third of Hispanics (34%), but far fewer whites (13%) and Asians (8%). The U.S. military has twice experimented with recruiting men of IQ 80-85 (the first time on purpose and the second time by accident), but both times it found that such men could not master soldiering well enough to justify their costs. Individuals in this IQ range are not considered mentally retarded and they therefore receive no special educational or social services, but their poor learning and reasoning abilities mean that they are not competitive for many jobs, if any, in the civilian economy. They live at the edge of unemployability in modern nations, and the jobs they do get are typically the least prestigious and lowest paying: for example, janitor, food service worker, hospital orderly, or parts assembler in a factory.

IQ 85 is also close to the upper boundary for Level 1 functional literacy, the lowest of five levels in the U.S. government’s 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). Adults at this literacy level are typically able to carry out only very simple tasks, such as locating the expiration date on a driver’s license or totaling a bank deposit slip, but they typically cannot perform more difficult tasks, such as locating two particular pieces of information in a sports article (Level 2), writing a brief letter explaining an error in a credit card bill (Level 3), determining correct change using information in a menu (Level 4), or determining shipping and total costs on an order form for items in a catalog (Level 5). Most routine communications with businesses and social service agencies, including job applications, are thus beyond the capabilities of persons with only Level 1 literacy. Their problem is not that they cannot read the words, but that they are not able to understand or use the ideas that the words convey…

IQ 105 can be viewed as the minimum threshold for achieving moderately high levels of success. It has been estimated to be the point at which individuals have a 50-50 chance of doing well enough in secondary school to be admitted to a four-year university in the United States. People above this level are highly competitive for middle-level jobs (clerical, crafts and repair, sales, police and firefighting), and they are good contenders for the lower tiers of managerial and professional work (supervisory, technical, accounting, nursing, teaching). Figure 3 shows that Asian-Americans are 6-7 times more likely than blacks to exceed the IQ 105 threshold. The percentages are 53%, 40%, 27%, and 8%, respectively, for Asians, whites, Hispanics, and blacks.

IQ 115 marks the ability threshold for being competitive as a candidate for graduate or professional school in the U.S. and thus for high levels of socioeconomic success. Partly because of their higher educational promise, individuals above this IQ level have the best prospects for gaining the most coveted occupational positions in a society. This is the IQ range in which individuals can be self-instructing and are, in fact, expected to instruct, advise, and supervise others in their community and work environments. This is therefore the IQ range from which cultural leaders tend to emerge and be recruited. The percentages exceeding this threshold are, respectively, 40% (Asians), 28% (whites), 10% (Hispanics), and 4% (blacks).

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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