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Does Education Really Improve Intelligence?

Posted on: January 14th, 2020

Different people have different opinions about the nexus existing between education and intelligence. It is difficult to find the exact meaning of intelligence in psychology and biology because of its dubious nature. In the field of science, any workable definition is formulated after a series of experiments and observations. But the definition of intelligence has been subjected to various transformations over the past years. Before we dive deep into this connection, let me introduce you to the literal meanings of both the terms.

Understand Education

Education can be defined as the knowledge procured by instruction and learning over a time frame. It empowers an individual with some crucial perceptions to confer extensive grooming.

Intelligence is the capacity of a person to adjust themselves adequately to new circumstances in life. Such cognitive abilities, i.e., problem-solving, critical thinking, memory, and retrieval, enable him to thrive in any given environment.

While examining the correlation between the two, one can observe extraordinary contrasts. The real purpose of education in today’s modern world is to acquire the necessary skills, while intelligence is considered as intrinsic quality. Almost more than a century ago, Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, introduced an IQ test to evaluate the level of intelligence possessed by an individual. The IQ scores can vary depending upon various factors such as parental societal position, prenatal IQ, and other environment-related factors.

Does Education Really Improve Intelligence?

One group of people truly believes that education can improve intelligence. They believe that schooling plays a vital role in enhancing their kid’s IQ test results. We can explore some intriguing research in this regard.

Intelligence is Actually Inborn Ability

A study conducted by psychological scientist Stuart J. Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh found out that a year of schooling incorporates a student’s mind with new information, and also contributes to a small but observable increase in IQ level.

Taryn Ann Galloway, an analyst at the University of Oslo along with her co-workers, directed an investigation comprising of youngsters of Norway, who need to undergo an IQ test for the military draft. She analyzed the information of 107,000 draft-age young men and acutely observed the connection between their acquired IQ scores and years of education. So based on the observation, Galloway says, increasing mandatory schooling did affect their intellectual abilities. Furthermore, she concluded that students who got an entire two years of additional tutoring demonstrated an IQ increase of more than 7 points. Those who obtained only one year of obligatory education gained approximately 3.7 points.

The above reports indicate that motivating oneself towards learning and gaining adequate knowledge can significantly improve his intellect By gaining compulsory education, one can expand his horizon of knowledge to pass intelligence tests, can increase cognitive abilities, and enhance his problem-solving skills.

Education Enhances The Intelligence

There is a separate group of people who support a different school of thought. They believe that intelligence is an inborn trait and is not much influenced by the level of education a student might obtain throughout his life. We can explore another side of this skeptical link by looking at the definition of intelligence proposed by Legg and Hutter in 2007. They infer that “Intelligence is someone’s ability to accomplish goals”. So the poor and the disabled are just dim-witted? This definition excludes needy and unfortunate people out of the circle of intelligence.

On the contrary, some people are born with a golden spoon in their mouth, have attended top schools and universities but still lack intellectual prowess. It is absurd to consider “goal achievement” as a sheer factor to evaluate someone’s intelligence level. It should be kept in mind that continuous progression in the direction of your objective is a must. Surely, consistent efforts make big differences!

A vast majority of psychologists believe that intelligence is a fixed value. You are born with a certain amount of it, which can be increased or decreased by only a few points contingent upon your life experiences. After going through all the perspectives, here is the true essence of the article: Intelligence can be raised with comprehensive training. Ritchie and Tucker-Drob (2018) did a meta-analysis of almost 600,000 individuals and studied their IQ levels in comparison to their education levels. They affirmed the results of previously collected data that individuals who score higher on IQ tests have completed more years of education. Why? Is it because profoundly insightful individuals like to learn more or because more extended training builds high IQ? However, this topic will remain a subject of debate among the general population.

In conclusion, education is something that values expansion to one’s persona, nature, character, and impacts positively on his lifestyle. While IQ portrays, how efficiently and promptly one can conform to evolving conditions, can identify the problem, figure out the solution or act in urgency. Additionally, if our society gets benefited from an increasing number of intelligent people, then we should bolster free access to a good education.

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