The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability

By Arthur R. Jensen | Go to book overview

Thus this five-year program of intensive intervention beginning in early infancy increased IQ (at age fifteen years) by about five points. Judging from a comparable gain in scholastic achievement, the effect had broad transfer, suggesting that it probably raised the level of g to some extent. The finding that the T subjects did better than the C subjects on a battery of Piaget's tests of conservation, which reflect important stages in mental development, is further evidence. The Piagetian tests are not only very different in task demands from anything in the conventional IQ tests used in the conventional assessments, but are also highly g loaded.[ 57] The mean T-C difference on the Piagetian conservation tests was equal to 0.33σ (equivalent to five IQ points). Assuming that the instructional materials in the intervention program did not closely resemble Piaget's tests, it is a warranted conclusion that the intervention appreciably raised the level of g.

As in the other studies reviewed here, the specific causal agent has not yet been isolated. Perhaps it never will be, because the intervention effect is most likely the result of a great many small, varied, and unrelated events with beneficial effects that saturate the child's experience throughout an extended period during early development. And perhaps the critical factor is a certain combination of such events. Anything less than very early and intensive intervention, including medical and nutritional advantages, during the preschool years (and also prenatally), is probably inadequate to cause a lasting increase in the child's level of g.


NOTES
1.
A certain type of test, called a criterion-referenced test, which is most often intended to assess specific achievements (usually scholastic or job-related knowledge and skills) does not need to be normed. The subject's performance is described strictly in terms of identifying the types of items that the subject passes or fails. Hence assessment of the subject's performance need make no reference to the level of performance in any reference group (as would a norm-referenced test). A criterion-referenced test of arithmetic, for example, would tell us that a given pupil can solve problems that call for dealing with addition, subtraction, multiplication, or short division of whole numbers, but cannot solve problems that call for dealing with long division, fractions, or decimals.
2.
The technique for equating test scores is fully described by Angoff ( 1984).
3.
Hambleton ( 1989) provides an excellent introduction and extensive references to the literature on item response theory.
4.
A detailed discussion of the stability of test scores is presented in Jensen, 1980a, Chapter 7.
5.
U.S. Department of Labor ( 1970), pp. 251-276.
6.
The eight distinct aptitudes measured by the 16 GATB subtests are Verbal, Numerical, Spatial, Form Perception, Clerical, Motor Coordination, Finger Dexterity, Manual Dexterity.
7.
The mean test-retest increments in the aptitude scores are quite reliable, as indicated by the average correlation of +.73 between the vector of increments on the eight

-344-

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