Race, class, and cognition in the UK

[Update: Random Human left a comment which sums up my feelings on this matter:

Yeah, the tests seem to discriminate just fine. This is really troubling data for the racial-hereditarian position and has caused me to update away from it to a degree. It’s obviously not a slam dunk that completely does away with the debate but it’s really troubling data. Even more troubling is the “meh, whatever” reaction from the top hereditarians. Reasonable objections have been raised by the commentators here but no-one has really succeeded in explaining this away.

]

In response to my recent posts, I’ve received a salvo of tiresome rationalizations. Here’s a typical one:

“On the other hand, it is not necessary to invoke psychometric alteration in order to suggest that GCSE and other testing regimes have been changed in order to (among other imperatives) minimise the apparent statistical gap between negroes and other ethnic groups. The way in which this has been achieved, it would appear to me, is that the tests have been sufficiently dumbed down and made stultifying, that they do little to discriminate amongst the right-hand side of the bell curve and therefore”

One way to evaluate whether the above is true is to look at the variance in scores and the g-loadings of the tests. Alternatively, we can compare the racial differences to class differences. The latter we know are, in part, due to genetically conditioned differences in intelligence. Below are graphs for indexes of cognition by race and class.


So in the LSYPE data, the the highest 1/5th, in SES, scores about 1 SD above the lowest 1/5th. Which is comparable to the difference in the US. The ethnic differences, however, aren’t.

Just sayin’.

Graph 1 — Goodman et al., 2009. Inequalities in educational outcomes among children aged 3 to 16.
Graph 2 — Goodman et al., 2011. Children’s educational attainment and the aspirations, attitudes and behaviours of parents and children through childhood in the UK

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14 Responses to Race, class, and cognition in the UK

  1. Random human says:

    Yeah, the tests seem to discriminate just fine. This is really troubling data for the racial-hereditarian position and has caused me to update away from it to a degree. It’s obviously not a slam dunk that completely does away with the debate but it’s really troubling data. Even more troubling is the “meh, whatever” reaction from the top hereditarians. Reasonable objections have been raised by the commentators here but no-one has really succeeded in explaining this away.

  2. Chuck says:

    You didn’t find it because the age 11 scores have not been collected, let alone released yet. Here’s the website: http://cls.ioe.ac.uk/page.aspx?&sitesectionid=851&sitesectiontitle=Welcome+to+the+Millennium+Cohort+Study
    When the data’s released –late 2012 -2013 — you’ll find it there.

  3. Chuck says:

    Twin Early Development Study (TEDS) and the data sets here:

    http://www.psy.ed.ac.uk/people/iand/Deary%20(2007)%20Intelligence%20intelligence%20educational%20achievement%20nfer%20cat.pdf

    But I emailed the authors of the latter — and they said that they didn’t have it decomposed by ethnicity.

  4. statsquatch says:

    The graphs are on different scales. I can only compare if I assume the the average of the percentiles is the percentile of the average, which may not be true. Assuming it is then the difference from top to bottom is .6 SD which would look closer on Figure 1.

    • Chuck says:

      Stats,
      I didn’t make the graphs. And I cited the paper so people could check if their assumptions held. By age 14-16, we have the 70th percentile versus the 30th percentile. Where are you getting .6 SD? Eyeballing it, maybe it’s closer to .8. (I agree that the age 5 MCS gap matches what you would expect, but this gap narrows by age 7; we’re interested in determining if it continues to do so — or at least not expand (from the .35 SD)).

      • statsquatch says:

        The .6 is from the 5 year old data. It is odd that a non peer reviewed publication picks a non-standard way to present the data; It smells like data dredging…or something I would do…

        • X says:

          I know this comment is old but you obviously didn’t read the paper. It explicitly states that the different studies aren’t meant to be comparable and they’re clearly labelled on the graph anyway. In any case the general trend is clear.

          • Chuck says:

            What the Fuck.

            The graphs came from two separate papers. I used them to illustrate the minimal ethnic differences in achievement scores, relative to class differences, which are definitely partially genetic. The graphs were comparable for my purposes. The comparison wasn’t between MCS and LSYPE scores but between class and race scores.

            Really annoying comment.

          • X says:

            I don’t know if you’re referring to my comment or to his but I was referring to figure 1 and addressing statsquatcho’s criticism. The studies in the figure are clearly labelled so you can compare performance on the same assessments. I wasn’t even talking about comparing figure 1 to figure 2 is that’s what you meant.

    • Chuck says:

      Stats,
      If you are willing, I’ll pay you $100 (or more) to analyze the UK PISA and TIMSS data. I would but I just don’t have the mental energy right now. You would just have to generate a list of plausible values by ethnicity and nativity, like here:

      This would tell us if the issue is with the UK tests or with the populations themselves.

  5. Chuck says:

    James,
    I have a less aggressive variant of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MELAS_syndrome
    It started showing itself about a decade ago, when I was still in college.

  6. Chuck says:

    I am aware of only one remedy, which I will take when I am ready.

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