Spotted Toad says: • Website
December 6, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT • 300 Words
As Steve has noticed, Chetty’s previous studies have tended to seem dense and unobservant but more or less on the right track; this one just seems wrong headed and destructive.
The way they identify high scoring students (to make the claim that high achieving blacks and women are underrepresented) is just by taking the top 5 percent of scorers on the 3rd grade standardized math test [in New York City public schools]
Chetty assumes that everybody who makes the top 5% cutoff in math test scores on the third grade test in NYC public schools has an equal chance of earning a patent in later life, and then is shocked, shocked to find that Asians and whites and boys and affluent kids actually earn more patents than blacks and Hispanics and girls and poor kids.
Oddly enough, he admits that the power of math scores to accurately predict becoming an inventor with at least one patent increases steadily from 3rd grade to 8th grade, but he insists on using third grade scores.
. That is…not a good way of identifying really smart kids.
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth took kids who scored in the top 3% in 7th grade (by which time IQs are much more stable and predictive of adult ability) and then gave them the SAT. The kids in the top quartile on the SAT were much more likely to get patents later on than the kids in the bottom quartile (out of the top 3% kids, so everyone was pretty smart.) In other words, there’s a big difference between a kid who is in the top 0.75% in math ability in 7th grade and kid who is just in the top 3%, in terms of whether they get a patent eventually or become a published scientist or whatever. But you can’t get a nice diverse group of kids who score in the top 0.75% in 7th grade on a well designed test the way you can for the top 5% in 3rd grade on a really low reliability test.
There’s also the issue of course of mechanical and spatial abilities that are correlated with IQ but aren’t being directly measured, but probably make a difference for inventiveness. But those abilities probably are even more undiverse than math, given everything we know about the world. Tinkering around in your basement and building stuff is pretty much the most white guy thing in the world.