Sorry, that's a no-go. Here's what's going on: We can indeed raise IQ in young children because we can totally dominate their environment and so we find that the IQ gains last only so long as that environmental control is maintained. Any parent on this board can tell you that as their children get older the parent has less and less control over how their children lead their lives. By the time that the children become teenagers, parents and educators can never again control so much of the child's environment and all early gains have been completely lost.
Originally Posted by AdamT
Even one of the fiercest critics of the book "The Bell Curve" has had to admit to a change of position. Nobel Prize winner in economics James Heckman wrote in his critique of the Bell Curve:
What little is known indicates that ability–or IQ–is not a fixed trait for the young (persons up to age 8 or so). Herrnstein noted this in IQ and the Meritocracy. Sustained high-intensity investments in the education of young children, including such parental activities as reading and responding to children, stimulate learning and further education. Good environments promote learning for young children at all levels of ability. In this sense, there is fragmentary evidence that enriched education can be a good investment even for children of low initial ability…
Future research should focus on growth and development in measured ability prior to age 15 (the age of the youngest person in the Murray-Herrnstein sample), because existing research indicates that values are formed and cognition is developed prior to that age.
He was so committed to refuting the conclusions of The Bell Curve that he actually set out a research program for himself which followed the outline he described above.
Here is his conclusion after 8 years of studying the issue of early-childhood intervention:
Another continuing blind spot in the vision of most educational planners and policy makers is a preoccupation with achievement tests and measures of cognitive skill as indicators of the success of an educational intervention. By narrowly focusing on cognition, they ignore the full array of socially and economically valuable non-cognitive skills and motivation produced by schools, families and other institutions. This emphasis also critically affects the way certain early intervention programs have been evaluated. For example, while enriched early intervention programs do not substantially alter IQ, they do substantially raise the non-cognitive skills and social competence of participants.
An important lesson to draw from the entire literature on successful early interventions is that it is the social skills and motivation of the child that are more easily altered… not IQ. These social and emotional skills affect performance in school and in the workplace. We too often have a bias toward believing that only cognitive skills are of fundamental importance to success in life.
What Heckman discovered is actually quite well known amongst those who study intelligence. Early childhood gains disappear as the child gets older. Not a surprise.
So, if even a harsh critic of The Bell Curve concedes the following, then those who don't like these results need to up their game or show that Heckman is in error. His conclusions:
-“Their (The Bell Curve) empirical work substantiates the role of IQ in accounting for a considerable portion of ethnic differences in socioeconomic outcomes”
His own independent research designed to overturn the work presented in The Bell Curve finds that IQ is a measure of cognitive ability, that IQ is not easily altered, and that IQ is an important attribute in life.
His new strategy is what many people recognize as "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." He is pushing for the raising of non-cognitive abilities.