Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is the typical teacher's IQ? Reader David made an interesting comment on the post about the breadwinner family that with homeschooling your child is taught by someone with a IQ higher than that of the typical teacher (not to mention having the right politics).

What is the level of intelligence of today's high school teacher? Looking at GSS data, I calculated mean IQs for the 1980s and 1990s combined (N = 107) and for this decade (N = 68) . For the early period, the average was 107. Now it's 104. I'm not impressed.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you have standard deviations as well?

Someguy

Jim Bowery said...

No teacher left behind!

TGGP said...

Education administrators have even lower scores.

Anonymous said...

The problem with schools is not the teachers, but the administrators. They are incompetent and drive out the best employees. Focusing on the rank and file is a poor strategic angle.

OneSTDV said...

But what about IQ vs grade level? The kindergarten, preschool, and elementary teachers don't have to be smart.

But if you're teaching high school math (or even middle school math like geometry), you probably need a score over 104. I imagine HS teachers are smart enough and have the knowledge required to provide a better education than a homeschooling mom.

David said...

OneSTDV,
As near as I can tell, homeschool moms seriously outperform nearly all public educational options (a recent study done, with @10k homeschool kids involved and a number of standard issue standardized tests had homeschool kids performing in the 85-90th percentiles with respect to public schooled kids. Amusingly, a teaching certification didn't help any (kids educated where neither parent had a teaching cert averaged 88th percentile, vs 87th for families with neither parent with a cert). When you consider that homeschool kids with at least one parent with a college degree did better than those without one, and that a teaching cert is, last I checked, an actual degree, it is rather damning.
In my experience, a teacher really ought to be no more than a sigma less intelligent than their student, and no more than 2 sigmas more. The US Army's studies back this observation up fairly strongly also. It is also why the optimal IQ for major commercial or political success is in the neighborhood of 130.
A homeschool mom further has the advantage of being able to let their children run at their own pace...it is the reduction to the absurd of class size and 'streaming' arguments. All of the homeschool kids I know that have graduated have done so no later than their 16th birthday, and some sooner than that.

Audacious Epigone said...

Ron,

What variable are you using to identify teachers? The ISCO codes, or something else?

Ron Guhname said...

Audacious,

I used OCC80 and googled the 1980 census code.

RWF said...

Given that teaching is a disproportionately female profession won't a verbal test somewhat overestimate their IQ?

Ron Guhname said...

Someguy: Standard deviations for both periods were 14.6.

Marquis said...

teaching isn't something that comes intuitively. teaching any one subject requires a strong background in the core subject and understanding of pedagogical methods. the notion that you can simply read and learn how to teach and be on par with many teachers, particularly those with experience is absurd.

Marquis said...

good point RWF. they should also break down the scores by gender as well.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I am a licensed middle school teacher (science) and middle/high school teacher (English) pursuing a master's in ESL and my IQ is 140.

joy ous said...

Lol. Teachers average IQ is low. US students are now performing lower than some third world countries. For a gifted child, thinking a person with an IQ 15-40 points lower than the child can even comprehend the way the child processes information let alone teach it at their pace is absurd. Take my 12 year old son. He's over here complaining that trigonometry is "hard" cause he's finally got to put a pencil to paper to calculate things. Yet he went through the first 50% simply by conceptualizing and calculating the solutions in his head. He says he doesn't like physics yet stays awake at night thinking about quantum physics and inventions. He and I discuss how to build solar panels and the possibility of discovering a way to synthesize the organic process of photosynthesis to create more efficient solar technology. Hmmmm.....who's going to provide a better education? A teacher with an embarrassing IQ having to put up with my son schooling them over their outdated textbooks (that's what happened in the 2nd grade) or me with a similar IQ teaching and providing him with a challenging, fast pace education that with value his intelligence rather hold him back, box him in and force him to conform to some subpar mindset. And for what? To raise the test scores so the school can get more funding, teachers get the credit for literally "teaching" him things he already knows? And all this to support the belief that the money that ordinary, run of the mill, hum drum people spent to obtain their degree somehow holds value over those who don't? LOL! Get real!!! Even those who are mentally challenged and have learning disabilities can obtain a degree. That doesn't mean crap. There are two types of people: those with the raw IQ and ability to learn and teach anything themselves and everyone else. Understand that the 98% that fall into the everyone else category don't even have the ability to understand how one could learn trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, computer code, ect without someone telling how to. Talk to my son. It's happening before my eyes, not that I don't get that. I myself learned code at age 12 much like him and did random things such as find a solution to a something that literally said there was no solution for. I recall tutoring a classmate entering chemistry with two weeks left of the semester. I taught the entire semester to him at age 15 and he scored a 98% on the final. That's because the way I see the world was different than even the teachers so I could teach the material more efficiently. People use their degrees like status currency. I just roll my eyes. The degree did now raise their raw IQ any significant amount. But if it makes them feel special, go for it. Note: There are some higher degrees obtained only by the intellectually gifted. Most however, are not special.