General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Has human intelligence and academic ability plateaued in the world especially in Canada and U.S.A.?

Asked by talljasperman (21744points) August 31st, 2014

Seeing that so many people are failing out of high school, university and college. Should educators take it easy on the next wave of students and lower the suicide rate and depression and mental illnesses?

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9 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Source: Waiting for Superman.

Haleth's avatar

IQs are actually rising

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Nope . . . Things are going up.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have been a believer in the Flynn effect and could never get the point across when everyone seems to think the average IQ is going down. Technology by nature requires higher intelligence. We are adaptable enough for that to make a measurable difference. IQ by itself is somewhat meaningless without context though. IQ can go up yet we can all still be functionally stupid.

zenvelo's avatar

@talljasperman Your sense of “people falling out” is not what is actually happening. Drop out rates from high school are falling over time and College completion rates are rising.

And high school and college completion rates are not linked to suicide, depression, or mental illness.

JLeslie's avatar

I also am under the impression IQ’s are going up overall.

I do think some school requirements and social pressures can add to the depression of children, and depression contributes to low grades, dropping out, and suicide rates. I’ve said before that I think start times for teens for the school day are a serious reason I hated school and did worse than I would have if school had started later in the day. Some school districts have changed this based on studies. I also think there needs to be a cultural shift in many schools across the country where doing well in school is not something hat makes you less popular. Popular needs to be defined differently somehow. I think grades should be a personal thing, not something announced by teachers or on a bumper sticker on your mom’s car.

We need more good teachers to make sure kids are not falling through the cracks, and we need much better counselors in high schools. I don’t mean counselors to psychoanalyze the kids, I mean counselors to help children find classes that might be interesting and help find their way to a vocation or college that will help them become functioning adults in society. Having something to look forward to helps keep depression away.

I also strongly believe in a class like Home Ec that includes how we typically think of that class and understanding how to handle money and basics regarding finances and some etiquette.

I think all high schools should have study hall available as a school period to get homework done and get help from the teacher who minds the class. If the kid wants to take a nap in that class I am fine with that too.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Canada, maybe. The U.S. (aka The Nation of Boneheads), no.

LostInParadise's avatar

This is a very good TED talk on the Flynn effect given by Flynn. He gives a very clear explanation of what is going on. It is not that our grandparents were comparative morons or that we have become geniuses. It is more that in our highly technological world we have been forced to think more abstractly. In that sense the Flynn effect is more qualitative than quantitative, and I have read that the effect is indeed plateauing. As a side note, Flynn is a moral philosopher and the talk includes a discussion of the moral implications of the greater exercise of abstract reasoning.

As to the problems with the education system, that would require a long explanation. I think that the constant testing in the No Child Left Behind program is not the right way to go. As shown by its own criteria, declining scores on standardized tests, it is failing. The solution so far is to double down on what is not working. At some point, this will have to stop, and a more humane and effective approach to education will have to be adopted.

RocketGuy's avatar

Good answer @SadieMartinPaul ! Sad.

@LostInParadise – good find!

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