LAT: Achievement gaps widen for California’s black and Latino students

I wonder if IQ has anything to do with this? The average East Asian IQ is 105, white IQ is 100, hispanic American IQ is 90 and African-American IQ is 85.

Howard Blume writes:

For more than a decade, state educators have focused intensely on helping black and Latino students perform as well in school as their white and Asian peers, calling the issue a social and economic imperative.

Data from new state tests suggests that they still have a long way to go.

The gap in academic achievement between different ethnicities and family income levels is worse than previously reported, based on a Los Angeles Times analysis of results from new state tests given this year in California.

A troubling pattern emerges when the scores are compared with those from the prior tests, which were last given to public school students two years ago.

While scores declined for all students, black and Latino students saw significantly greater drops than whites and Asians, widening the already large gap that was evident in scores from earlier years.

Under the previous test, for example, the gap separating Asian and black students was 35 percentile points. The gap increased to 44 percentile points under the new test.

Asian students’ results dropped the least on the new tests, which widened the gap between them and those who are white, black or Latino, a Times analysis showed.

White students also maintained higher relative scores than their black and Latino peers.

J. Philippe Rushton wrote in the second abridged edition of his book Race, Evolution & Behavior:

IQ tests measure intelligence and predict real life success. The races differ in brain size and on IQ tests. On average Orientals have the largest brains and highest IQs. Blacks average the lowest, and Whites fall in between. The brain size differences explain the IQ differences both within groups and between groups.

Psychologists use IQ tests to measure what we call “intelligence” or “mental ability.” Brighter people score higher on IQ tests than most people. Less bright people score lower. IQ tests are not perfect, but they are useful and tell us a lot.

IQ tests are made to have an average of 100. The “normal” range goes from “dull” (IQ around 85) to “bright” (IQ around 115). IQs of 70 suggest handicap, while IQs of 130 and above predict giftedness.

The average Oriental IQ is about 106, the White IQ about 100, and the Black IQ about 85. This pattern is found around the world, with Blacks in Africa having a lower IQ than Blacks in America.

The 1994 best seller The Bell Curve shows how IQ predicts success in education, jobs, and training. Low IQ predicts child abuse, crime and delinquency, health, accident proneness, having a child out of wedlock, getting a divorce before five years of marriage, and even smoking during pregnancy.

Groups with higher IQs have more gifted people. While Orientals developed complex societies in Asia, and Whites produced complex civilizations in Europe, Black Africans did not.

The Black-White difference in IQ appears as early as three years of age. If the races are matched for education and income, the gap only goes down by 4 IQ points. So, Black-White differences are not due only to social class. It is less well known that Orientals have a higher IQ than Whites.

The Bell Curve highlighted British psychologist Richard Lynn’s 20 year survey of the global pattern of IQ scores. He found Orientals in the Pacific Rim to have IQs in the 101 to 111 range, Whites in Europe to have IQs of 100 to 103, and Blacks in Africa to have IQs of around 70 (see Chart 6).

The average IQ of 70 for Blacks living in Africa is the lowest ever recorded. The Raven’s Progressive Matrices measures reasoning, not culturally specific information. Using this test, Kenneth Owen found a Black African IQ of 70 for 13-year-olds in the South African school system. So did Fred Zindi, a Black Zimbabwean, in a study of 12-to 14-year-olds in his country. Interestingly, the Mixed-Race students in South Africa had an IQ of 85 — the same as Blacks in the United States, Britain, and the Caribbean. Genetic methods (like those used in paternity tests) show that Mixed-Race Blacks have about 25% White ancestry. Their IQs fall half way between pure Blacks (70) and pure Whites (100).

Black-White differences are greatest on tests of reasoning and logic. Blacks do best on tests of simple memory. For example, Blacks do almost as well as Whites on tests of Forward Digit Span, in which people repeat a series of digits in the same order as they have heard them. Blacks do much poorer than Whites, however, on tests of Backward Digit Span, in which people repeat the digits back in reverse order. Hundreds of studies reviewed in Arthur Jensen’s book The g Factor show how hard it is to explain race differences in IQ just in terms of cultural bias.

Probably reaction time is the simplest culture free mental test. In the “odd-man-out” test, 9- to 12-year-old children look at a set of lights. They have to decide which one goes on, and then press the button closest to that light.

The test is so easy that all children can do it in less than one second. Even here, children with higher IQ scores are faster than lower IQ children. Around the world, Oriental children are faster than White children who are faster than Black children.

Intelligence and Brain Size

My article with C. D. Ankney “Brain Size and Cognitive Ability” in the 1996 issue of the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review surveyed all the published research on this topic. It included studies that used the state-of-the-art technique known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which gives a very good image of the human brain. There were eight of these studies with a total sample size of 381 adults.

The overall correlation between IQ and brain size measured by MRI is 0.44. This is much higher than the 0.20 correlation found in earlier research using simple head size measures (though 0.20 is still significant). The MRI brain size/IQ correlation of 0.44 is as high as the correlation between social class at birth and adult IQ.

Race Differences in Brain Size

Chart 7 shows that there are race differences in brain size. Orientals average 1 cubic inch more brain matter than Whites, and Whites average a very large 5 cubic inches more than Blacks. Since one cubic inch of brain matter contains millions of brain cells and hundreds of millions of connections, brain size differences help to explain why the races differ in IQ.

About Luke Ford

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