Intelligence and LO LO9979

jack hirschfeld (
Sun, 15 Sep 1996 10:37:01 -0400

Replying to LO9949 --

As part of a posting in which he analyzed several statistical phenomena,
Eric Bohlman pointed out that:

>Similarly, the average SAT score for high school students from Iowa is
>considerably higher than it is for most US states. But most Iowa students
>who go to college attend schools in Iowa, which mostly use the ACT
>(developed at the University of Iowa) rather than the SAT as their
>admission test. Therefore, the group of students taking the SAT consists
>mostly of students planning to attend college out-of-state, which means
>that a) they generally come from wealthier backgrounds, since out-of-state
>schools are more expensive and b) the group includes a
>higher-than-expected proportion of students who are applying for admission
>to highly selective schools like the Ivy League schools (both these
>factors also mean that the students in the group are probably more likely
>to have participated in test-prep programs that teach test-taking
>strategies (*not* basic academic content), and these programs do work).

This brief analysis has value much further ranging than the issue of
intelligence testing (few intelligent people, other than those who make
their living by it - and MENSA members - believe in intelligence testing
anymore) in the way it analyzes the cause of observed variation. This
type of understanding was what Deming referred to as "profound knowledge"
and I, for one, am grateful to have such a clear example to use when
discussing variation in processes. Many people believe that a process
"under control" require no further study; after all, what can you do about
common cause variation? Only changing the process helps -- unless, of
course, as Eric has pointed out, a "normal" variation disguises an
unexamined special cause.


Jack Hirschfeld Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

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