Myth-Busters: “It’s not what you don’t know that concerns me. It’s what you know that is not true that concerns me.”

Let’s start off on the right foot and destroy a myth.

Myth: IQ Cannot Be Changed… Students are Fixed the Way They Are

Completely false! Brains can change! In fact, the worse students are academically, the greater the upside. There are no credible studies (yet) of raising IQ in kids with high IQ already. But many, many studies show that kids with an IQ in the 70-100 range can have it raised. In study after study, we find that every single component of intelligence can be raised.

In one study (Mackey, et al., 2011) children aged 7 to 9 from poverty participated in one of two cognitive training programs for 60 minutes/day and 2 days/week, for a total of 8 weeks. Children in the reasoning group improved substantially (an average increase of 10 points in Performance IQ.) By contrast, children in the speed group improved substantially in different areas. Counter to widespread mythology, these results indicate that both fluid reasoning and processing speed are modifiable by purposeful training.

What about kids from poverty; can you raise their IQ? Yes, you can. In fact, among the poor, the heritability of IQ is far less than among middle and upper income students. The heritability of IQ among kids from low-income families from their parents is less than 10%. It’s over 60% for middle and upper income families. In other words, don’t blame the parents for a poor child’s low school performance. Before age four, the caregivers ARE the dominant influence. But once in kindergarten, school is the dominant influence.

Kids will spend nearly 13,000 hours in school from K-12. This means the IQ of the parents of poor kids is less of a factor than the environment you create at school. That’s right; it means your staff has NO excuses for students to underperform. Read more