Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Intelligence and Education: The Sudan Case

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Intelligence and Education: The Sudan Case

Article excerpt

In a 2011 study, Batterjee (2011) showed that measures of formal schooling are closely related to cognitive ability. The study applied the Standard Progressive Matrices to a sample of 3209 Saudi students from the general education system and found that besides schooling, other socioeconomic factors also influence individual and national IQ. The study also showed that the differences between nations in wealth, health, technological innovation, attitudes and values, economic development and political maturity correlate with differences in the average IQ of the population. In the introduction, Batterjee (2011) reviewed the history of intelligence theory and testing and claimed that it can be divided into six major periods:Historical Foundations(up to 1690),Modern Foundations (up to 1869), The Great Schools (up to 1901), The Great Influences (up to 1937), Contemporary Explorations (up to 1969), and Current Efforts (up to the present). For further details on the historical background and definitions of intelligence, refer to Batterjee (2011).

This review of intelligence history and definitions produces two known schools regarding the origin of intelligence. The first school is based on the old functionalist notion that goes way back to Galton (1869), where human intelligence is seen as a product of biological evolution, and individual differences as being largely genetically determined as well as by formal education and other non-genetic causes. More recently, it was shown that "general" intelligence is more hereditary than the specific abilities that are included in the intelligence construct (Jensen, 1998). The second school considers individual differences in intelligence as influenced very strongly by environmental factors including education and culture.

The controversy over whether intelligence is fixed or malleable, hereditary or influenced by the environment, can be traced to Greek times (Batterjee, 2013). Plato had implied that an individual's reasoning skills, memory, and knowledge are present at birth (Plato, 1974). Since the start of the 19thcentury, psychologists and human biologists have been engaged in debates as to whether heredity or environment should be considered the determining factor in forming human cognitive ability (Chitty, 2009). Spearman conceptualized "general" intelligence (g) as either fixed or at least not monotonically increasing through the lifespan (Nyborg, 2003). Genetic theories about human intelligence prospered throughout the 19th century, and continued to be popular and influential until the very end of the 20th century. These genetic theories were seriously challenged only in the second half of the 20th century, when the work of researchers such as Arthur Jensen (1979), Richard Lynn (Lynn & Vanhanen, 2002, 2006), and Herrnstein and Murray (1994) became the most controversial contributions to the debate about race, class and intelligence. Herrnstein and Murray (1994) reiterated many of Jensen's earlier claims that much of the race differences in intelligence apparently lay in genetic rather than environmental factors (Batterjee, 2011; Chitty, 2009).

Similarly, Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006) found that intelligence differed considerably among nations. In their 2002 study, they presented measured average IQs for 81 nations and described substantial correlations between national IQ and national wealth. They interpreted the positive correlations to indicate that differences in intelligence are an important influence on national wealth. They have extended this interpretation to all 185 nations in the world by using estimated IQs for nations for which no measured IQs were available. They found positive correlations of real GDP with IQ for the complete sample of 185 nations, which were only slightly lower than those for nations with measured IQ. In their 2006 study, Lynn and Vanhanen presented IQ data for 32 additional nations and estimated IQs for 79 others to bring the total number to 192. …

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