Letter IQ tests measure potential, not accomplishment

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The Independent Online
From Mrs Pam Jarvis

Sir: Even if we were to disregard years of well-supported research documenting the environmental influences upon IQ levels, and accept the postulation that IQ levels are decided by genetics, surely all IQ test scores would reflect is such "unborn potential. This is the way they were used by the old 11+ examination.

Dr John Tooley has obviously recognised this point and attempted to gloss over it, suggesting that vital factors such as self-motivation and diligence should be covered by "letters of recommendation". However, he does not make it clear from which non-class motivated, non-sexist, non-racist, completely impartial source such letters should emanate.

People with high IQs stemming from either genetic or environmental influence, or a mixture of the two, who are diligent and self-motivated will do well by the current examination systems. As such, this system, with all its imperfections, works far better than one which attempts, under the guise of a simple test of genetic aptitude, to set up an old boys' club of "recommendation letters".

Yours faithfully,

Pam Jarvis


26 June