IQ Tests for 4-Year-Olds Reveal Nothing but Wealth

Gifted and talented programs might as well just choose rich kids
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2010 1:32 PM CST
A four-year-old.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A common fear among high school juniors is an SAT score so bad it derails ambitious future plans. A similar fear grips affluent New Yorkers—but the kids in question are 4-year-olds taking IQ tests. The tests are de rigueur for admission to prestigious kindergartens, which feed into top high schools and eventually big-name top colleges. IQs are the “least stable” before the age of 6, Jennifer Senior writes for New York. In fact, just 25% of 17-year-olds who tested about 130 when they were 4 would do so again.

Senior is baffled by the popularity of prepping kids for the tests, “but the truth is, even without coaching, children coming from economically and culturally rich backgrounds do far better on these tests,” she observes. "Early good testers don’t make better students, any more than early walkers make better runners," says one educator. “Rather than promoting a meritocracy,” Senior writes, “these tests instead retard one. They reflect the world as it’s already stratified—and then perpetuate that same stratification.”

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