Measuring up

February 19, 1999

Ideological objections to IQ testing are not a result of lack of thinking, as Stevan Harnad suggests ("Why I", THES, February 12). Quite the opposite.

To reach his recommendation of "streamed" education based on IQ tests, he confuses correlation (between high IQ scores and how people perform in life) with causality (that some can be expected to perform better because they have high scores).

A more plausible explanation would be to view them both as consequences of the fact that those designing IQ tests hold the social prejudices that define the spectrum of achievements in life.

Wider access to HE can be achieved only by investing heavily in educational opportunities and resources available to under-represented groups: be they gender, race, social class or postcode based. Misguided belief in IQ measurement can only help decision-makers avoid their responsibilities.

Mahesan Niranjan. University of Sheffield

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