EDST 391 Intelligence in Everyday Life


P/F Writing Assignment for Day 4

Public controversy

 about IQ tests and intelligence


  • Jensen's Straight Talk, pp. ix-xiv (preface), 1-13 (part of Chapter 1)
  • Think Tank video on The Bell Curve, part 1 (shown in class)


To be completed before class:

  1. We have already talked about Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Why do you think it is so popular?
  2. Based on your readings for today, what makes IQ tests so unpopular? Be specific, and try to "read behind the lines" about what really bothers many people about IQ tests and the theory(s) of intelligence they embody.


To be completed during class:

  1. You will watch a 25-minute video in class. It is the 2nd part of a 3-part TV panel discussion held just after publication of The Bell Curve book in 1994. The 5 scholars represent different points of view. As you watch the video, ask yourself the following questions. After the video, pick one specific fact and write your answers below.


    • What major facts are being contested? (As a guide, note that your reading distinguished 4 major categories of public controversy: validity of IQ tests (for  measuring “intelligence”), test fairness, genetic heritability of intelligence, and group differences in intelligence)



    • What kinds of evidence (if any) do the scholars present for their differing views about what they facts are?



    • To what extent do they appeal to feelings or emotions to argue for their view?



  1. Share your assessments of the panel discussion/debate, first in small groups (5 minutes) and then as a whole class. I will ask you on Thursday for your general reactions to the video.


Turn in your answers to 1-3 above at the end of class. Thank you.