Your Lying Eyes

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14 June 2005

Mexican-American IQ

Steve Sailer alludes to new studies on ethnic IQ and finds the news on Mexican-Americans predictably pessimistic - which conforms with my own view expressed a few weeks ago.
But it's amazing how the SAT, whose statistics are readily available at the College Board website, is sufficient to draw these same obvious (to those who believe their lying eyes) conclusions - specifically on page 6 of the 2004 National Report, SAT scores by ethnic group are laid out quite nicely. To summarize:

On the verbal test:
White Mean = 528 (Std Dev = 100)
Mexican-American Mean = 451
So, 528 – 451 = 77 = .77 sd

On math:
White Mean = 550 (Std Dev = 102)
Mex-Am Mean = 458
So, 550 – 458 = 92 = .92 sd

Average them together, you get around .85 standard deviation difference in cognitive ability – pretty close to this study’s .77.

The SAT is usually dismissed as a test of intelligence because it only measures college bound students and it has questions on it designed to test learning in school, not just raw intelligence. But for college bound students, the questions are so fundamental that it really suffices as an intelligence test - at least among people taking the same test.
Some other notable observations from this data: Mexican ethnics scored lowest among Hispanics, followed by Puerto Ricans then by "other", which includes a wide array of ethnicities. Asians score highest in math but lower than whites in verbal. In fact, the math vs. verbal score discrepancy is dramatic among Asians - .57 sd's. This could be language-barrier induced, but the much closer agreeement in the verbal and math scores among Hispanics casts that in doubt. IQ scores generally show a larger gap in verbal vs. non-verbal intelligence among Asians than non-Asians. Also, the standard deviation among Asians is significantly higher than other ethnic groups. This could be due to the group "Asian" including a very wide variety of people from highly intelligent Koreans to less than stellar Hmong refugees and even lower performing Polynesians.
And, finally, the much vaunted superior achievement of black females over black males is highlighted by blacks being the only group where females outscore males - but it only happens in the verbal test. Even among black students, the males outpace the females on the math test by 0.2 standard deviations.


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