Home > Math Lint Archive Detail

<< Prev 9/8/2013 Next >>

NFL Math

"When a rope is selling 20 cents per 2 feet, how many feet can you buy for 30 dollars?"

This is a question from the Wonderlic Personnel Test, a 12-minute, 50-item quiz used by National Football League execs....to measure the intelligence of college football players trying to become pros.

Though used since the 1970s at the NFL football scouting combine, the test is fading into the past....The claim being it has no value in predicting football success (except for quarterbacks and offensive linemen).

But, the real reason: the test is being discontinued because "its reliance on knowledge taught in school might result in a racial bias."

This is confusing on several accounts. First, how is it that such a math word problem can be predicitive of success for quarterbacks and offensive linemen? I find this observation quite interesting amidst the confusion.

And second, given the claim, does this mean that any test that includes math taught in schools is to be avoided, as it might have racial bias. When looking at the given problem above, how is it racially-biased? I have my suspicions, but they will remain unexpressed.

Source: J. Battista's "NFL Tries New Method for Testing Mental Agility." NYT, Feb. 22, 2013