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The Relation Between I Q And Grade Progress

This comparison, which was made for the entire 1000 children, showed a fairly
high correlation, but also some astonishing disagreements. Nine-year intelligence
was found all the way from grade 1 to grade 7, inclusive; 10-year intelligence all
the way from grade 2 to grade 7; and 12-year intelligence all the way
from grade 3 to grade 8. Plainly the school's efforts at grading fail to
give homogeneous groups of children as regards mental ability. On the
whole, the grade location of the children did not fit their mental ages
much better than it did their chronological ages.

When the data were examined, it was found that practically every child
whose grade failed to correspond fairly closely with his mental age was
either exceptionally bright or exceptionally dull. Those who tested
between 96 and 105 I Q were never seriously misplaced in school. The
very dull children, however, were usually located from one to three
grades above where they belonged by mental age, and the duller the
child the more serious, as a rule, was the misplacement. On the other
hand, the very bright children were nearly always located from one to
three grades below where they belonged by mental age, and the brighter
the child the more serious the school's mistake. The child of 10-year
mental age in the second grade, for example, is almost certain to be
about 7 or 8 years old; the child of 10-year intelligence in the sixth
grade is almost certain to be 13 to 15 years of age.

All this is due to one fact, and one alone: _the school tends to promote
children by age rather than ability_. The bright children are held back,
while the dull children are promoted beyond their mental ability. The
retardation problem is exactly the reverse of what we have thought it to
be. It is the bright children who are retarded, and the dull children
who are accelerated.

The remedy is to be sought in differentiated courses (special classes)
for both kinds of mentally exceptional children. Just as many special
classes are needed for superior children as for the inferior. The social
consequences of suitable educational advantages for children of superior
ability would no doubt greatly exceed anything that could possibly
result from the special instruction of dullards and border-line

Special study of the I Q's between 70 and 79 revealed the fact that a
child of this grade of intelligence _never_ does satisfactory work in
the grade where he belongs by chronological age. By the time he has
attended school four or five years, such a child is usually found doing
"very inferior" to "average" work in a grade from two to four years
below his age.

On the other hand, the child with an I Q of 120 or above is almost never
found below the grade for his chronological age, and occasionally he is
one or two grades above. Wherever located, his work is always "superior"
or "very superior," and the evidence suggests strongly that it would
probably remain so even if extra promotions were granted.

Next: Correlation Between I Q And The Teachers' Estimates Of The Children's Intelligence

Previous: The Relation Of The I Q To The Quality Of The Child's School Work

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