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
ental 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.