Intelligence (IQ) and Schooling
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
How does schooling affect intelligence?
Schooling is an important factor that affects intelligence. By schooling, one
can improve knowledge of specific facts for intelligence tests, familiarity
with testing practices, concentration and attention span, and verbal problem
solving skills. Therefore, there is no doubt that schooling helps raise one's IQ.
On the other hand, research has indicated that children who do not attend
school or who attend intermittently eventually have poorer scores on IQ tests
than those who attend regularly. At the same time, children who move from
low-quality schools to high-quality schools are more likely to show improvements
in IQ scores. Besides transmitting information to students directly, schools
teach problem solving, abstract thinking, and how to sustain attention, which
are all skills required to score well on IQ tests.
A few more truths about schooling and IQ (which may surprise anyone who views
it as a measure of innate intelligence):
Although intelligence does influence the decision to stay in
school, staying in school itself can raise IQ or prevent it from dropping.
IQ is affected by delayed schooling. A drop in IQ is seen when
schooling is delayed.
Each additional month a student remains in school may increase
her/his IQ above what would have been expected had he dropped out.
IQ is affected by remaining in school longer. The longer a
student stays in school, the higher her/his IQ.
Dropping out of school can also decrease IQ.
IQ is affected by vacations. The longer the vacation, especially
when the child's time is spent on least "mind-stimulating" activities, this
decline is evident. (So, parents – make sure your child's holidays are filled
with learning experiences in a fun way; e.g., visiting places of interest,
enrichment programs, family-bonding activities, etc.)
In short, schooling has a long-term effect on the level of intelligence. Education increases a student's capacity to deal with the problem solving tasks typically found in intelligence tests; therefore a student who has mastered those skills at school will inevitably do well on an IQ