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Math Education Responsible for Rising IQ in U.S.

The headline in Dienekes blog (10/6/2004) caught my attention. Now, as step one, you should be aware that Dienekes Pontikos is an anthropologist and highly-respected in his field.

Dienekes is referring to the paper "Rising Mean IQ: Cognitive Demand of Mathematics Education for Young Children, Population Exposure to Formal Schooling, and the Neurobiology of the Prefrontal Cortex," written by researchers Clancy Blair et al and published in Intelligence (2005, pp. 93-106). Though astounding, the results have somehow not been spread widely....maybe they have been suppressed, because some people (e.g. Where's the Math? group) in this world could not handle such a connection.

Consider the Abstract for the article: "This paper proposes one potential explanation for 100 years of rising population mean IQ in the United States associated with historical changes in access to schooling and educational practice. A neurodevelopmental-schooling hypothesis is forwarded based on evidence of growth in the population's access to schooling early in the last century and the increasing cognitive demands of mathematical curricula from mid-century onward. The fact that these educational changes have been widespread, affect individuals early in the lifespan, and are uncorrelated with genetic propensity for IQ makes them particularly well suited to produce large environmentally driven gains in intelligence between generations in the face of high heritability for intelligence. Future directions for research that would test the neurodevelopment-schooling hypothesis are described."

Wow....doing and learning mathematics within the math ed reform framework...actually makes you smarter! And in another article, Elizabeth Jin explains how Blair et al argued for a postive correlation between IQ increases and increased cognitive complexity of mathematics textbooks.

So, jump on the band wagon.....other people are. But, you might want to carefully read the original article by Clancy Blair et al.