Psychology lecturer Susan Engel is clueless, at least to judge by this Boston Globe op-ed.

I have reviewed more than 300 studies of K–12 academic tests. What I have discovered is startling. Most tests used to evaluate students, teachers, and school districts predict almost nothing except the likelihood of achieving similar scores on subsequent tests. I have found virtually no research demonstrating a relationship between those tests and measures of thinking or life outcomes.

That standardized tests, especially well-designed IQ tests, forecast a wide variety of “life outcomes” is one of the most well-established facts in all of psychology. For a useful overview, see Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction.

But Engel does not need to trust me! She can just ask her colleague down the hall, Williams professor Nate Kornell:


Kornell is recently tenured so, with luck, he will feel more comfortable puncturing the PC beliefs of his colleagues in the future. Here’s hoping!

Suggestion for the Ephs behind Uncomfortable Learning: Organize a debate between Engel and Kornel on the predictive abilities of IQ tests like the SAT.

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