The Rising Curve: Long-Term Gains in IQ and Related Measures
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For a long time now, intelligence and achievement tests have been cast as the bearers of bad news. In The Bell Curve, for example, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray argued that there are sharp limits on the intelligence of most of the population; they also noted that the test scores of several minority groups have been chronically low. But the trends documented here, in The Rising Curve, tell a very different story. The fact is intelligence test scores are going up everywhere in the world; what's more, the Black–White gap in the school achievement of American children has closed substantially in recent years. These encouraging trends have been established beyond any doubt; this book is about what they mean.
In The Rising Curve, leading experts in psychology, sociology, psychometrics, and nutrition present and defend different interpretations of these findings. Do the IQ gains reflect genuine gains in intelligence? Are they due to cultural changes, better schools, increased test sophistication, or improved diet and health? Were the government programs established during the "War on Poverty" partly responsible for the school gains of minority children in the 1970s? A final section addresses another much-debated issue: Will the different birth rates of different social classes inevitably produce a "dysgenic trend," as Herrnstein and Murray have claimed? This book is a must read for all those interested in questions of intelligence, schooling, and social policy.