Are Americans becoming more or less alike? Trends in race, class, and ability differences in intelligence

  • Williams W
  • Ceci S
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American students' test scores have been slowly but steadily declining for the past half century. Some recent explanations for this decline have focused on dysgenic trends resulting from low-IQ parents outbreeding high- IQ parents. In this article, the authors examined the evi- dence for dysgenic trends by considering race-, class-, and ability-related changes in intelligence test scores over time. They concluded that (a) racial differences in intelligence decreased from 1973 to 1988 and have re- mained fairly constant since, (b) intelligence differences between the upper and lower thirds of social class groups have been decreasing slightly since 1932, and (c) Prelim- inary Scholastic Assessment Test-score differences be- tween the top and bottom quartiles have been relatively stable since 1961. Thus, the authors found no evidence supporting the dysgenic hypothesis. Rather, the combined evidence points to a growing convergence across racial, socioeconomic, and ability-related segments of American society.

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  • Wendy M. Williams

  • Stephen J. Ceci

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