We’re going theoretical again…

I don’t believe in IQ tests. I’ve never had my daughter tested because I think there can be a lot of false assumptions made because of them. I’m not saying that the results are false, I’m just saying there’s a lot more to a child than a three digit number. But for today, we are going to use IQ as a predictor of ability to learn. For this and only this, we will assume that the higher the IQ, the easier the child understands academic material.

Again- this is similar to the widget and just an exercise in thought, not practical application.

Child X has an IQ of 140.

Child Y has an IQ of 120.

Child Z has an IQ of 100.

(none of these children has an IEP or learning issue. The only difference is IQ)

Do you teach all of these children the same subject matter in the same way? Like, everyone learns common core?

Do you spend the same amount of time teaching each of these children the same thing? For example, do you spend three weeks with each child teaching them basic addition?

Now, keep in mind your answerer as we change the parameters:

Does your opinion change if you find out all the children are from high income homes?

Middle income homes?

Low income homes?

Think if any factors change the way you think about the basic problem, which is if you think all children should learn the same way.

56 thoughts on “The Same or Different

      1. My son was a great example of a smart but under challenged kid at school. I remember thinking he’s either going to be president or I’ll be visiting him in the slammer..HAHA!! Happily, he isn’t a politician or a prisoner. 👍

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    1. I’ve seen incredible success in public schools with students at both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes it’s the average kids who are left to their own devices. Not special enough to receive extra attention.

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  1. You and your cans of worms….

    IQ is a good predictor of a person’s ability to grasp concepts, but (as you said) difficult to measure -especially in children.

    For me, income is only a factor because a higher-income home *may* mean that child gets more support from his or her parents.

    What I see happening, whether acknowledged or not, is all students being taught how the teacher can handle it. The SpEd kids are given extra help because they get federal funding to do so. The bright kids get bored and often fall on drugs in their teens but some get through that and fund Tesla and SpaceX in their adult years…

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      1. I persist that trying to reach the lower-performing kids in this manner is not as beneficial as incentivising the highers. In both cases, however, well-meaning organizers go about the thing incorrectly. Instead of sending everyone to college; we need trade schools and community service for those who do not do well academically. We need internships, research opportunities, and leadership courses for those who really excel.

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  2. I’m not an educator but I believe children should be taught based on their abilities. When I was in elementary school, eons ago, we would read a short story on a machine. The words would come across the screen like a ticker tape at different speeds. After, we would take a quiz to see if we comprehended what we read. If so, we moved up to a higher speed. If not, we stayed at the same speed until we could pass the quiz.
    We should also teach life skills in schools. Courses like handling finances, self-confidence, interview techniques would all come in handy in our ever changing world.
    Thank you for you thought-provoking question. Take care.

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  3. I agree with Chel. BIG pet peeve of mine is that they stopped teaching home ec, auto/wood shop, etc. in high school. Not everyone is college material. In a perfect world it would be tailored to the child because I do think that kids with lower IQs could get frustrated and those with higher IQs could get bored. Finances, if they are all going to the same school, shouldn’t matter.

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  4. I was just thinking about how we teach our kids and why in the world we are still trying to shove this one size fits all kind of education down their throats. IQ doesn’t mean squat on a larger scale. You can have a high IQ and zero common sense or a not so great IQ but phenomenal common sense and street smarts. Both have their strengths that allow a person to learn in different ways. Some kids pick up material quickly, others don’t and need more time. IQ may play some part in that, but it isn’t the only factor. Kids that pick up material quickly in one subject may struggle in another. My daughter is a great example. She can fly through most math, science, and structural/technical English kinds of work with no problem, but ask her to pull the nuances out of text or add it to her writing and it takes her a whole lot longer. Even with her dance, she needs to see the steps multiple times before she really gets it where other kids pick it up after seeing it once. Some of that is also impacted by how interested in subject a person is. No matter how smart they are, if they don’t like a subject, they won’t necessarily spend the brain power to learn it. The only reason income level ever really plays a part in any of this is being able to access the same resources as those in a higher income bracket. Whether those resources are books and supplies or personal support and assistance. Those kinds of things do impact someone’s ability to learn, but have nothing to do with IQ.

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  5. Having taught children from across all socio-economic backgrounds, I never, ever knew their respective I.Q.s. I never wanted to know. Often, because we were transferred regularly, I knew very little about a kiddo or his/her background going in, and that suited me just fine.

    No two kids learn at the same rate or in the same way, and the best teachers find ways to meet each student’s needs. I was just okay at that, but I was never shy about asking for advice. I believe some of my students learned in spite of me. Some because of me. And a few would’ve fared better with a different teacher. But I tried harder with those. I truly did. I haven’t taught in over a decade, but those few still haunt me. I’m not sure I answered your question, but you made me think.

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      1. That’s the thing. When I hear people talk about running schools like a business all I can think is that children aren’t products. We can’t use a mold or a blueprint to manufacture successful students. And they come to school with such a smorgasbord of abilities or lack thereof, and needs.

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      2. It’s frustrating for teachers. So many of the big decisions are handed down by folks who’ve either never taught or who taught so long ago they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in a classroom.

        And these folks are always looking for THE BIG ANSWER, so there’s little continuity. I worked for an outstanding education non-profit for a couple of years. They offered a solid, research-based curriculum that had been wildly successful in low income schools. It was widely implemented across the country and then it fell out of favor (even though test scores had risen by leaps and bounds in schools where it was properly implemented) when No Child Left Behind was mandated. Argh.

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      3. Unfortunately parents don’t help the situation. I was on school leadership team (which is an nyc thing) all through my daughters schooling, and some of the parents… we had parents mad that the kids didn’t learn table manners….

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  6. Regardless of IQ, I would think each child learns in their own way. Rote memorization can have benefits, but if someone doesn’t memorize well, they will be lost. I learned when I was in my 30s that when I was in elementary school, our classes were “tracked.” This means kids with like abilities (IQs) were grouped together into different classes; high, medium and low. The teachers would then teach to that ability level, allowing extra time or different teaching methods to help kids master the academic skills. This is considered a “no-no” in academic circles now, but I can see definite advantages in that a teacher didn’t need to worry about some getting lost while others were bored. A common objection was that the kids would figure it out and make fun of the “dumb” class. All I can say is I never knew in the six years I attended the school that this was going on. All I knew was I had roughly the same kids in my classes every year!

    My pet peeve is that there are few “life skill” courses included in today’s curriculum. It sounds outdated, but I so appreciate the “home economics” classes I had to take during junior high and high school. I also took Algebra II/Trigonometry. Guess which class I’ve used most often in life? Personal finance is another class that should be taught to high school students. I could go on and on and on………….😜

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    1. I’m totally with you on home ec type classes(I wrote a blog awhile back about bringing back home ec) kids have no clue about life skills. Personally, I’m in favor of grouping kids by ability. In nyc kids apply to high school and my daughter went to a school of highly motivated intelligent kids, and I think she learned far more than she might have in a different atmosphere. When a class grasps a concept at the same time it makes it way easier for the teacher to move ahead

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  7. Apparently Adolf Hitler had an outstandingly high IQ………….. nah I just made that up, but I’d guess for a non second lol you’d thought to yourself hmm 😀 ……………… I couldn’t agree people make false assumptions if they hear so and so has I high IQ or member of Mensa while I’m here! BS.

    (Mind you I’ve always wondered what mine is?)

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  8. I taught in schools with students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and I’m sure an equally varied level of IQs. There’s so much more to take into account. Children from the same family, while being in the same SEL don’t necessarily have the same learning styles. It’s important to consider if a student is a kinesthetic learner, an auditory learner, a visual learner, etc and differentiate that way. In addition, you have to meet them where they are. As a teacher with masters credentials, reading specialist with experience in language acquisition and child development, your question isn’t really framed in a way that can be answered.

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  9. Learning is a journey,not only do they not all start in the same place, but they are also going to different destinations. High IQ’s do not mean that you are great in every subject either. I have known certified geniuses that do a simple balance sheet but can do complicated scientific equations another that can speak multiple languages but cannot write a cohesive paragraph. I do believe that every child should know the basics so that they can continue their journey with all 4 wheels on the ground. Okay I have exhausted that metaphor!

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  10. We all learn differently. The same basic material can be taught using a variety of learning styles. Even in my music classes, I try to make sure there’s opportunities to see, hear, feel and create. So many factors are involved, that’s for certain.

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  11. Parents and family play such a strong role. You often discover when speaking with the highly motivated students that their parents have jobs on the high end like working at the embassy, diplomats, professionals and they speak more than one language. They may have a family with parents from different cultures but the one factor they share is a love of reading and a conservative or protective home environment which enables them to excel/

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  12. As a former educator, I retired because after 34 years, most of which were wonderful, I could not adapt to the “every child on the same page on the same day” mentality of common core and high stakes testing. No person deserves a label or to be put in a box. Ironically, creativity is being destroyed in the name of achievement.

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  13. I also don’t believe IQ is especially useful for a number of reasons (and knowing it can also be bad for you) but I’ve definitely also found that at a lot of kids in state schools in the UK aren’t challenged enough (obviously this isn’t all schools or even all subjects in schools- because a lot can come down to individual teachers). This is especially a problem as in the UK schools have to get kids what’s effectively a passing grade, so a lot of stretched schools may focus more on that (in one of the state schools I went to, they gave all the lower sets the best teachers to pull their grades up and the top sets got all the dross, because they could get decent grades regardless).

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