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09 December 2017



IQ decline and Piaget: Does the rot start at the top?


The IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered. Losses in Nordic nations after 1995 average at 6.85 IQ points when projected over thirty years. On Piagetian tests, Britain shows decimation among high scorers on three tests and overall losses on one. The US sustained its historic gain (0.3 points per year) through 2014. The Netherlands shows no change in preschoolers, mild losses at high school, and possible gains by adults. Australia and France offer weak evidence of losses at school and by adults respectively. German speakers show verbal gains and spatial losses among adults. South Korea, a latecomer to industrialization, is gaining at twice the historic US rate.

When a later cohort is compared to an earlier cohort, IQ trends vary dramatically by age. Piagetian trends indicate that a decimation of top scores may be accompanied by gains in cognitive ability below the median. They also reveal the existence of factors that have an atypical impact at high levels of cognitive competence. Scandinavian data from conventional tests confirm the decimation of top scorers but not factors of atypical impact. Piagetian tests may be more sensitive to detecting this phenomenon.


Thoughts on the cause of the decline in IQ? Unconstrained immigration?


So Russ, can you describe what a "Piagetian test" or a "Piagetian trend" is? You may be reading too much into the abstract and before I'd invest time in discovering the cause of a decline in IQ I'd want to convince myself the decline was real, not imagined, and whether the fact the authors are from NZ, the birthplace of Whole Language Learning, that the constructivist notions of Piagetian are at the core.

Not wanting to spend $36 for the paper, and not finding a prepublication (i.e. free) copy on the net, I'm reduced to watching a video of Flynn giving a talk, possible on the topic. Tonight, maybe, as a diversion from streaming old Star Trek episodes.



Maybe this will help:


Piaget's theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence. It was first created by the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget (1896–1980). The theory deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans gradually come to acquire, construct, and use it.[1] Piaget's theory is mainly known as a developmental stage theory.

To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes resulting from biological maturation and environmental experience. He believed that children construct an understanding of the world around them, experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment, then adjust their ideas accordingly.[2] Moreover, Piaget claimed that cognitive development is at the center of the human organism, and language is contingent on knowledge and understanding acquired through cognitive development.[3] Piaget's earlier work received the greatest attention.

Child-centered classrooms and "open education" are direct applications of Piaget's views.[4] Despite its huge success, Piaget's theory has some limitations that Piaget recognized himself: for example, the theory supports sharp stages rather than continuous development (décalage).[5]


Can Your Kid Read Graphs and Charts?

The Atlantic, John Tierney 2012


As these visual displays become more and more ubiquitous, it is all the more important that students know how to read, interpret, and summarize the information presented. It's become an essential element of overall literacy.

But instead of working more aggressively to nurture this set of educational skills, we seem to be headed in precisely the opposite direction. The lead writers of the Common Core standards in English/language arts and math, David Coleman and Jason Zimba, dismiss the need to teach 5th graders about data and bar charts and graphs, saying such activities amount to a "fake version of developing young scientists."

Instead, they want elementary-school kids to focus on fractions. Nobody can be opposed to that, but surely there is room for both kinds of emphasis.

As students get older, it's important for them to learn not only how to be intelligent viewers of graphic representations, but wary and cautious viewers. While charts and graphs obviously are a boon to our ability to communicate information about large numbers or complicated relationships, there are also hidden pitfalls.

Statistics, like any other kind of information, are open to manipulation and distortion. We want our kids to be literate in this material so they can avoid being hoodwinked by those who use statistical figures carelessly or unscrupulously. Students need to learn how the creators of charts and graphics can misrepresent the truth: altering the baseline, changing units of analysis and comparison, using averages or means when they are misleading, not using constant dollars, not showing populations as a percentage of the base, or implying causality where none exists.



Russ (1133) I wasn't asking for help, I was wondering if you'd swallowed the abstract's conclusion without having a clue as to what had been said and given you just quoted the Wiki at me, I'm guessing my wondering was correct. New Zealand was the birthplace of Whole Language Learning and given the reverence for Piaget constructivists show (whether it's whole math or whole language), anyone citing the patron saint of modern Educators and Educationists piques my interest.

"One finds frequent reference to Jean Piaget as providing a scientific basis for constructivism. Piaget has had enormous influence on our understanding of cognitive development and indeed was one of the major figures responsible for the emergence of cognitivism from the earlier behaviorist era in psychology. While it is fair to say that many of his specific claims have been seriously questioned, the general influence of his theoretical perspective remains. Key to constructivism is Piaget's distinction between assimilation and accommodation as mechanisms of learning and development. Assimilation is a relatively passive incorporation of experience into a representation already available to the child. However, when the discrepancies between task demands and the child's cognitive structure become too great, the child will reorganize his or her thoughts. This is called accommodation (and often nowadays, "re-representation").

Piaget emphasized how the child internalizes by making changes in mental structure. The constructivists make frequent reference to this analysis, particularly the non-passive accommodation process. (In this respect, constructivism is quite different from situated learning which emphasizes the external bases of cognition.) A more careful understanding of Piaget would have shown that assimilation of knowledge also plays a critical role in setting the stage for accommodation--that the accommodation cannot proceed without assimilation."
Applications and misapplications of cognitive psychology to mathematics education, Anderson, Reder and Simon 2000

I found this when it was new and got it added to the Mathematically Correct website circa 2001... solid research from Carnegie-Mellon. Herbert Simon, one of the authors, was a Nobel Prize winner in the Dismal Sciences, a Turing Award winner and awarded the von Neumann Theory Prize. No slouch... the most cited for AI and Cognitive Psychology on Google Scholar (or at least was last year).

Please, don't quote large swaths of Wikipedia entries at me... shades of Doug Keachie who would do that over and over.


Russ, reading your 1148... Jason Zimba was NEVER +the+ "lead author" of the Common Core math standards development. The initial chair and lead author was Phil Daro (BA English, UC Berkeley) hired to that job soon after checks from Bill Gates started flowing in 2006, and after the CCSS-M were opened to a review in 2011 and a small riot over a "mathematical nothing" was running the show, Daro got a new title of co-chair and co-lead author, as did Zimba, and the chairmanship was given to McCallum who was/is a math professor at a university in Arizona.

It was Phil Daro Math that was poured into California schools in the '90's. That failure led to his being picked to lead the failure that is the Common Core math standards.


Gregory@03:03PM and 03:11

Thanks for the clarification on both points.


Old Star Trek's won over that lecture tonight.

Account Deleted

Well, George - you want comments on Boardman's latest foray into the OpEd page. He's boldly denouncing real-time nut cases. The 'tin foil hat' brigade. Kinda' like shooting fish in a barrel. He did forget to include those fellow travellers that believe that CO2 is a 'pollutant' (not my words) in the atmosphere. The stuff that issues from our mouths and nostrils.
Then he really shows his stripes - "THE DEMOCRATS forced out Rep. John Conyers and Senator Al Franken while the Republicans embrace Roy Moore. What does that tell women? …"
Gee, I dunno Mr Boardman - why don't you step up to the plate and tell us?
Why not ask it this way - "The Dems are using a lot of really shaky accusations from women with axes to grind against Senate hopeful Moore while at the same time completely ignoring credible accusations of forcible rape against left wing hero Bill Clinton?" Just because Bill isn't runnning for anything doesn't mean he's not still a big money raiser for the Dems and always welcomed among women who claim to be against 'abusers'.
You notice Time mag didn't show a single accuser of Bill? And how about ol' Teddy?
Nary a word against any of the Kennedys.
It looks like the Dems were looking for any good reason to get rid of Conyers. Feeble and senile - he had become useless to them. Not sure about Franken, unless there was some really juicy stuff that would have come out if he hadn't done the perp walk. And it's yet to be seen if he really does go. Let's remember the Dems have been pretty damn selective about who stays and who goes. The idea that it's based purely on the amount of actual sin is laughable. Of course the whole idea is that "we got rid of our guys for not much, now Trump has to go 'cause he's worse". Believe it. The Russian deal is falling apart and they just gots to get rid of Trump no matter how or what. Never mind that Bush (either one) was Hitler and certainly Romney was Hitler - now we have Trump and he's really, really Hitler. The Dems know that no matter what Trump actually does, everyone will realize after 4 years, everyone will realize the Trump opposition has been crying wolf all along and the Dems can't have that happen!
This is 3 dimensional chess, folks. It's a shell game. It's a con. I could spend an hour typing all the things I don't like about Moore and Trump - but they're still far better than anything the Dems can come up with. It's not a matter of the lesser evil.
It's the evil that is small and containable vs the evil that will spread like the plague and contaminate the nation and the world.

George Rebane

ScottO 548pm - actually Scott, all I wanted to do was give Mr Boardman an attaboy for highlighting the local Left's looney tunes opposition of bringing crucially needed broadband into western Nevada County. Nothing in his piece or my kudo goes so far as to exonerate him from a comprehensive coverage of the nation's epiphany on sexual assault, especially as its ultimate and obvious target is President Trump. But I'm not sure how your analysis fits into the discussion of popular numeracy and the impact of its deficit on numerous policy issues including the opposition to a technology urgently needed hereabouts.

Account Deleted

Sorry George - I didn't think you were in agreement with Boardman on that topic.
But since you did link the piece here, under this topic, I responded here.
Next time, I'll remember to move the comment to the sand box or other appropriate venue.


Reference to [11dec17 update] Kudos to George Boardman.

I have been following the rural broadband issues at https://ruraleconomytechnology.com including the resistance to G5 implementation for several months. There is federal legislation in the government sausage grinder that could remove all local control over the G5 installations, see FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Here:https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2017/11/broadband-deployment-advisory-committee-meeting

If readers are interested they can sign up for an email link to future blog posts on rural broadband issues at my Rural Economy Technology blog.

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