Friday, September 9, 2016

Fostering Genius or Inclusion?

"What can be gleaned about the nature of intelligence from tracking 5,000 child prodigies over 45 years?" asks Arts & Letters Daily, answering itself: "That the 10,000-hour rule is bunk" — How to raise a genius: lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children. This excerpt is telling:
    Although studies such as SMPY have given educators the ability to identify and support gifted youngsters, worldwide interest in this population is uneven. In the Middle East and east Asia, high-performing STEM students have received significant attention over the past decade. South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore screen children for giftedness and steer high performers into innovative programmes. In 2010, China launched a ten-year National Talent Development Plan to support and guide top students into science, technology and other high-demand fields.

    In Europe, support for research and educational programmes for gifted children has ebbed, as the focus has moved more towards inclusion. England decided in 2010 to scrap the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, and redirected funds towards an effort to get more poor students into leading universities.
Those three countries (one half-country and two Chinese city-states, really) that "screen children for giftedness and steer high performers into innovative programmes" happen to top this list (and others) of Average IQ by Country, whereas the country that "redirected funds towards an effort to get more poor students into leading universities" is just average:
    Hong Kong 109
    Singapore 109
    North Korea 106
    South Korea 106

    [....]

    United Kingdom 100
I suppose these numbers mean that intelligence people promote more intelligence while mediocre people promote more mediocrity. But these numbers, which are corroborated elsewhere, are interesting in other ways, too.

Singaporean Chinese must be super-smart as that average must also take into account not negligible Tamil and Malay populations. And what does it say about ethnicity and intelligence (and about nature vs. nurture) that the two Koreas, separated for more than six decades in totally opposing political economies with a vast material imbalance, should come out equal(ly high); this could be one giant separated twins study.

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