Friday, December 09, 2011

Differential validity of the SAT

In an earlier comment thread someone asked whether Asian-American college performance is commensurate with their SAT scores. If A-A SAT scores are artificially elevated by cramming then one might expect it to under-predict college GPA. (On the other hand, if Asians are more conscientious and hard working overall, one might* expect that to elevate both SAT scores and college GPA relative to other groups.) This data from the College Board shows that the validity of SAT as a predictor of college GPA is about the same for whites and Asians.

*Regarding cramming, I have yet to see any data which shows that large groups of people can significantly elevate their SAT scores through preparation. Test prep companies will claim this is possible, but detailed studies by ETS suggest otherwise. In our U Oregon data set (covering all students at the university over a 5 year period) it is quite rare to see a change of 1 population SD between max and average score for individual students who take the SAT multiple times.

(Click for larger version. FYGPA = Freshman Year GPA.)


Sonny Uppal said...

Just an insane thought, Steve. I personally improved almost 200 points through preparation. Not statistically significant, I know, but it matches common sense and I've seen it first-hand for multiple people. You are overreaching in trying to undermine conventional wisdom.

steve hsu said...

I'm sure it's possible. But how common is it? Studies I've seen with large sample sizes only show small effects.

goodtaste said...

 An 800 in math isn't even a 99th percentile score among asians anymore, suggesting that many top out the test and are even further along the right tail than the SAT indicates. 

Al_Li said...

It's possible, but not common as it requires hard work. The key is AA needs to be recent immigrants with low verbal score. With good memory and hard work it's possible to raise the verbal score from 400 to 600, by memorizing vocabularies and do tons of practice exams. I live in the San Gabriel Valley. There are tons of Chinese SAT cramming school preparing kids to achieve this goal. 

Yan Shen said...

"An 800 in math isn't even a 99th percentile score among asians anymore,"

For 2011 and 2010, I believe that an 800 on the SAT M has been 96th percentile for Asian American test takers. However, the aggregate Asian American group includes non-East Asians, meaning that amongst East Asians an 800 SAT-M is almost certainly lower than 96th percentile.

Yan Shen said...

The Bell Curve has graphs showing rapidly diminishing returns to extensive hours of prep for both the SAT-M and the SAT-V.

ziel said...

Note that SAT scores over-predict for black test takers. Quite the opposite of the standard narrative we typically hear.

Justin Loe said...

Brief thought:
I wonder if someone took a group of people who improved on the SAT and compared IQ scores taken at the times close to each SAT attempt. My sense is that the SAT is more coachable than an IQ test (I'm referring to a professionally administered IQ test, not in some other setting).

Paul T. Allen said...

I'm not surprised by the College Board results, which reinforces my anecdotal experience that all students with good SAT scores tend to do well in college.

A more nuanced investigation should control for income, how highly skilled (and/or educated) the parents are, etc. Steve, you must have some data which can address this: Does the SAT do better/worse as a predictor for students in various socio-economic tranches?

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

Well, WAIS tests many more facets of human intelligence rather than just verbal, math, & writing.  I also notice IQ tests are a lot more primitive.  They don't even depend much on knowledge as SAT does.  The only sections that depend largely  (perhaps solely) on knowledge in WAIS test are vocabulary and common sense sections. 

Another important thing to note is that your SAT scores aren't age adjusted unlike IQ scores.  Your SAT score is expected to rise when you take practice test in 9th grade compare to your scores in 11th & 12th grade.  IQ score of 120 at age 13 and 17 doesn't demonstrate equal ability.  The raw score in this hypothetical IQ test would have improved quite a bit.

Justin Loe said...

"IQ score of 120 at age 13 and 17 doesn't demonstrate equal ability.  "

Yes it does. IQ scores are age-normed to compare people against their own age groups.  An IQ of 120 at age 13 reflects equivalent ability as an IQ of 120 at age 17.

Yan Shen said...

I wonder why the David Versace's of the blogosphere don't bother commenting for this post.

steve hsu said...

Family SES and parents' education are much weaker predictors of college performance than SAT or HS GPA. Controlling for SES and parental education (i.e., looking at groups of kids with varying SAT but the same SES, or vice versa) has little effect on the correlation between SAT and college GPA. This was established by a huge study using UC data. It is exactly counter to the claim made by most SAT critics.

A few years ago Wake Forest dropped the use of SATs in admissions. At a conference held on the topic, Kuncel pointed out how foolish and misguided they were. See the slide with the words "Minor reduction in test score predictive power when controlling for parental education and income." This is kind of amazing because there certainly must be *some* effect on GPA from SES -- for example, some kids have to work part time jobs during college and others don't.

See also

goodtaste said...

Is there data on writing? That is the only section I observed much improvement when tutoring SAT students.

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

You didn't get the point of my statement.  I explicitly stated they're not a reflection of the same raw score.  If you compare it to SAT, a score of 1400 at age 14 or 17 will reflect same (or very similar) raw scores.
You wouldn't think a 5 year-old with IQ of 140 and an adult with the same IQ to have similar intellectual capacities.

IQ tests like Wechsler estimates up to higher IQ because they have more subjects, while being timed as well.  There's no incentive for finishing each sections of SAT in less than allotted amount of time.  I would guess that the ceiling of each individual section is similar to SAT.  These tests also tend to favor well balanced people because it's fairly easy to top off each individual subsections.

Justin Loe said...

You're simply incorrect. A top SAT score does not reflect an IQ score greater than 145. You're simply wrong.

Commentariat1 said...

True, although they generally reflect age 17 or age 18 scores for the most part.  I wonder what the age distribution is of those who take the SAT.  It's obvious that a 760 math (and ~300 verbal) achieved by an 8-year old represents a much higher level of g -- though not necessarily ability at the time (though this is debatable) -- as a 760 achieved by an 18-year old.  The SMPY is predicated on this.

Yan Shen said...

I haven't seen much data pertaining to the SAT writing, but it would make sense for it to be the most coach-able section, since a lot of it requires knowing grammatical rules, which can be memorized. I never took the new 2400 SAT, so I've never taken the SAT writing for that exam, although I did take the SAT 2 Writing test back in the day.

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

Whatever your interpretation of IQ is seems to differ from what IQ tests such as Wechsler measure.  For example, why do they ask what month the Labor Day lies or who past US Presidents were?  What are the definitions of certain vocabulary terms.  How about memorizing sequences of digits or carrying out simple arithmetical operations.  Is this reasoning?  Do you reason when you add two digit numbers or is it just mental reflex?  The way they're using the term "reasoning" is very broad compare to how it is used in everyday speech.  As I see it, it's more of a comprehensive test that tries to account for different cognitive abilities.  Some remain more constant over the lifetime than others.  Whatever mythical factor, say g, you think or they claim these tests measure, isn't measured by these tests but is only inferred.  Even assuming g stays constant throughout lifetime, the abilities measured in IQ (think raw scores instead of age-adjusted scores) test changes over time.  (Why do you think IQ scores have to be adjusted by age?)  Thus, your assertion that something like g stays constant throuhgout lifetime isn't even relevant in this discussion because that is not what is actually measured in IQ tests (meaning whatever is measured in IQ test doesn't stay constant).


Since when does the word "ability" contains age-adjusted element.  Notice I used the term "ability" instead of "IQ", which contains age-adjusted element as a definition.

Justin Loe said...

" Whatever mythical factor, say g, you think or they claim these tests measure, isn't measured by these tests but is only inferred."

g isn't mythical. It's basic and acknowledged by most professionals in the field. You just don't understand this.

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

Sigh, you keep failing to get my point of argument.  I'm not arguing validity of g or that it remains constant throughout life.  I'm pointing out whatever is measured in IQ test isn't g.  Regarding you 2nd statement, I never made such statement, and I'm pretty familiar with WAIS tests so I don't need a reminder.

Justin Loe said...

You made the statement that an IQ of 120 is not the same as an IQ of 120 at a later age.

That statement is false.

steve hsu said...

The point of the post was to address Thrasymachus' question about whether SAT over-predicts college performance for A-A's, which seemed entirely implausible to me and relatively easy to address statistically.

It's much harder to address whether A-A academic performance translates into high end success later in life. I don't know one way or the other, but I tend to agree with RKU's comments on the previous thread.

If you believe in ethnic affinity operating at any level (including, e.g., subconscious), then it's not surprising that in a majority euro establishment country (Ashkenazi) Jews, S. Asians and E. Asians would have relative advantages in descending order. The degree of similarity (cultural, physical, psychological, genetic, etc.) to the majority population is ordered that way. I mean, who do you think these young IBers are trying to make rain with? (Also, see the charges of outright discrimination alleged by FanHsu -- I doubt he is making things up, no matter how familiar and friendly you personally might be with Asians from your HS experiences. I've encountered many people who just don't like Asians.)

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

I was just using g as a variable, not the common notion of g in cognitive science.  I understand there could have been a confusion.

Assume g is inherent and immune to aging.
IQ scores have to be adjusted by age.
If IQ tests measure solely g, there isn't a need to be age-adjusted because it would remain constant throughout the course of lifetime.
Thus, IQ=g+(alpha)
Alpha is dependent upon age, since IQ is dependent on age and g is not.
Clearly, IQ is subject to change over time unlike g.  This is circular reasoning, but you seemed confused.

IQ is positively correlated with g, but it isn't g.  For example, SAT is positively correlated with g, too.

Yan Shen said...

You seem to be missing the entire point of where many people are coming. You repetitively state that elite institutions will do what is in their best interests prestige wise. What many people are critical of are the very objectives sought out by the very elite institutions themselves.

I'm not sure why you obsess over investment banking, as if it were some profoundly great thing for society as a whole. I'd wager that the STEM fields that East Asian Americans tend to gravitate toward contribute far more tangible value to society than any area of finance. If white Americans had more quantitative chops on average and more of them went into STEM as opposed to the softer business fields, American society would benefit as a whole.

By the way, while it is true that East Asian Americans lag professionally in areas such as business and politics, where most likely they lack the requisite cultural soft skills required to rise to the top, it seems to me that they do quite well in the area of tech entrepreneurship, Steve Hsu himself being a rather salient example. In areas where hard skills are more important, East Asian Americans tend to do well.

Yan Shen said...

"It's much harder to address whether A-A academic performance translates into high end success later in life."

Shouldn't we define more precisely what we mean by success? A lot of areas in business require strong soft skills, which aren't captured by academic performance. Since many of these fields are still dominated by white Americans at the highest managerial levels, one can infer, as David Versace has done, that East Asian American academic performance doesn't translate as highly into real life success. But I think this would be misleading.

If we define success more narrowly in terms of what can be accomplished only with the requisite hard skills, then East Asian Americans fare pretty well. It's not a surprise that the greatest concentration of East Asian American business leaders are in the field of tech entrepreneurship and often these people are the original founders of the company itself.

David Versace said...

"but I tend to agree with RKU's comments on the previous thread."

Tried to find this, couldn't do so that quickly.  Sorry if it addresses something I'm about to talk about.

If you believe that ethnic affinity explains why Asians need higher scores, it really isn't going to change much.  As you said, "who are these people going to make rain with".  This gets back to a point I tried to hammer home in the other thread.  Elite institutions aren't selecting candidates because they think they would make "good" elites.  They select them because they think they will become elites.  I mean, could you think of a worse group of people to be running the country then psychopathic IB types.  I can't.  But they are very good at becomming elite.  If having the same background as people who are currentely elite, and likely to be elite in the next generation, is an important factor in whether you become elite yourself, it seems a perfectely legitimate factor to use to trying to judge who the next generation of elites will be.

As I mentioned in the other thread, elite institutions started accepting Jews not because they all got togethor and decided racism was bad, but because their incredible ability made it impossible to shut them out.  If Harvard didn't take Jews someone else would have, and then that place might be #1 on rankings instead of Harvard.

The same is true of Asians.  If Asians can't connect with whites (the majority in the country and a majority of elites) then they are unlikely to become elite.  Because of this, you need to bring more to the table to have the same chances of success.  Elite institutions answer to the question of how much do you need to bring to the table seems to be 100 SAT points.

The best thing you could do is try to bring that 100 SAT gap down by convincing people that the ethnic affininty problem isn't that big.  You do that by assimilating and developing soft skills (amongst other things).  Those kids I had at the Korean tutoring place, don't you think they could have cut back on the SAT studying to just 100 hours and spent the rest of thier time developing soft skills (and actually enjoying life).  Would do them a lot more in the long run then some really marginal improvement in SAT score.

In the other thread someone suggested that assimilating was "betraying their culture".  Well, betray it a little.  If you are actually an independent person you can learn from the better aspects of other cultures and mix them with your own.  I did it.  If Asian culture was really 100% superior to everyone elses you'd think they'd have conquered the world by now, but they haven't, so lets just go with the assumption that its as flawed as anyone elses culture.

Obama could figure this stuff out, but maybe it was easier for him because black culture is such an abject failure.  Asians are pretty comfortable being IBM middle managers and earning a bit more then whites and living nice but mediocore lives, so its easier to convince yourself that you've got it all figured out and everyone else must be crazy/racist/inferior.

Yan Shen said...

The areas that you seem to focus on, such as business and politics, don't require intelligence as much as they do soft skills. In such a case, it's not a surprise that high East Asian American academic-performance doesn't necessarily translate into high level success in those areas. I'm sure that high East Asian American academic performance also translates very poorly into success as a professional athlete.

So what are you really arguing is that being successful in many areas of life does not require high IQ. Therefore elite institutions are justified in deemphasizing test scores.

A common theme on Steve's blog has been to question they very nature of society itself. Would society be better off if it conferred higher pay and prestige onto the STEM fields as opposed to say business? And if so, shouldn't colleges follow suit in admitting only the most academically qualified individuals?

steve hsu said...

"...elite institutions started accepting Jews ... because their incredible ability made it impossible to shut them out... "
Part of that "incredible ability" was making the general public aware of what was going on -- Jewish quotas, etc. -- and making clear it was reprehensible and unfair. I'm part of the same strategy (blogging, talking to the press) on behalf of A-A's. Amazingly, I seem to be one of very few people pointing out what is going on. Of course, that's consistent with your characterization of Asians as not as aggressive as Jews  :-(

There are several issues being discussed here. One is what elite institutions should do in their self-interest (see link below). Another is what they should be *compelled* to do given that they receive quite a lot of Federal money. One could argue that it's in their narrow institutional interest to cap the number of Asian admits. (See the recent AP article where I mention that >20% Asian fraction on campus might be jarring for older alumni.) But one could also argue that they are violating the civil rights of Asian applicants.

Yan Shen said...

" Asians are pretty comfortable being IBM middle managers"

An IBM middle manger mostly likely contributes far more tangible value to society than say a high level manager of an investment bank.

Yan Shen said...

This blog seems to automatically delete my post, perhaps because it is too lengthy. So I will simply link to the article, rather than paste its contents. But it is clear that the narrative you offer up on the Jews does not accord with reality.

Yan Shen said...

I think Justin and Ju need to get into the middle of a ring and fight one another to the death.

steve hsu said...


Yan Shen said...

I think Ju and Justin need to get into the middle of a ring and fight one another to the death.

David Versace said...

"Part of that "incredible ability" was making the general public aware of what was going on -- Jewish quotas, etc."

Sure, but if I had to put a weighting to it, I'd say that it was a minority of the solution.  I also think its counter productive at this point to make it the main focus.  Most people already buy into the arguement on some level.  King of the Hill had an entire TV episode about Asians being discriminated against in school admissions.  Do you really think this is the main holdup?

I'd say your main problem is that people think certain aspects of Asian culture aren't all that great, so they don't feel a need to admit them in spite of whatever hold ups they have.  If people were more convinced Asians were as good as their test scores say they would find a way to get past their issues.  But self improvement is hard, bitching about discrimination is easy, so there you go.

"Another is what they should be *compelled* to do given that they receive quite a lot of Federal money."

Isn't most of that federal money from white taxpayers.  I'm not convinced Asians would make any better elites for the country then non-Asians would.  If anything Asians seem more clanish and don't really give a shit about whites.  This was a criticism people had of Jews too, but they had better verbal skills to smooth it over, they shared the same basic European background and culture, and there were much fewer of them (less to be afraid of). 

If you talk to a white person in private the general impression they get of Asians is that they only came over here because their own countries were poor and backward, and that they don't really have any allegeance to America or non-Asian Americans.  After all, the biggest racists and xenophobes I've ever met in my life were Asians, and its pretty terrible over in Asian countries themselves (where the entire idea of PC doesn't exist, and people are openly racist all the time).  I got the shit kicked out of me once for going into the Korean stairwell while being not Korean, do I really think those people are going to look out for me and my kind when they are elites?

If Asians became a big part of this countries elite, would it be a net positive for the people of this country (who are overhwlemingly not Asian)?  I'm not convinced of such an arguement, and I don't think only accepting Asians at a rate 3x their % of the population is going to slow down national progress so much as to even notice.  As such any arguement that the government should force these schools to accept more Asians falls on deaf ears.

Yan Shen said...

"But self improvement is hard, bitching... is easy, so there you go."

Hilarious David. The moment you suggest that white Americans should try studying harder, hell might freeze over.

Perhaps you did not read what I posted in an earlier thread. Let me re-post it here.

"First I want everyone to consider this thought experiment. Imagine
that in one of the East Asian countries there suddenly arose a minority
racial group that began to academically dominate the East Asian ethnic
majority. How would most East Asians respond? I can almost guarantee
that the primary response would be millions of East Asian parents
calling out their children for being lazy and unmotivated and millions
of East Asian children taking that criticism to heart and working
even harder than before. Now, in the real world how have white Americans
responded to East Asian American academic excellence? As far as I can
tell, most white Americans have responded by incessantly bashing East
Asians without restraint."

Now tell us David, which group of people, East Asian Americans or white Americans have the superior set of cultural values?

steve hsu said...

Some of us would prefer a nation of laws, not a nation of ethnic interests.

David Versace said...

Yes, IQ after 130 or so is negatively correlated with wealth.  Most wealth in society isn't accumulated through value creation (innovation), but through value transfer (things like most IB).  Value transfer is more about soft skills and can actually be harder to do if you are too smart ("doublethink" is very useful for many value transferance careers but is hard to do if you are smart enough to see your own bullshit).
"Would society be better off if it conferred higher pay and prestige upon the STEM fields as opposed to say business? And if so, shouldn't colleges follow suit in admitting only the most academically qualified individuals? "
These are regulatory and political issues that societies have been struggling with for a long time.  My general answer is "yes", but how you get to that point is very difficult and could be the subject of its own blog.
If Asias way of doing things is better then perhaps long after all of us are dead they will be the superpower and America will be the backwater.  But so far all of the Asian countries that have caught up with the west have stalled.  Who knows what the future holds.

David Versace said...

Value to society is pretty irrelevent to happiness.  There are a lot of happy assholes out there.  The football star will experience a number of exquisite highs of emotion, and has to trudge through far less discomfort then most people.

Is it good?  Is it right?  Does it make for a better society?  These questions are outside the realm of personal happiness for most people.  And way outside the realm of the matter at hand.

I may not be libertine in my own morality, but I certainly view the world as libertine, and unlikely to change.  That's why being moral is a choice, it involves legitimate sacrifice that society will likely not reward you for.

Yan Shen said...

"If Asias way of doing things is better then perhaps long after all of us
are dead they will be the superpower and America will be the
backwater. "

At the national level, meritocracy, where one is judged based on one's ability, is heavily emphasised. [188]
You might not need to wait that long. My understanding is that Singapore embraces a culture of strict meritocracy and selects many of its public officials accordingly. As Christopher Chang mentioned in an earlier thread, there are many areas in public policy where it is clear that Singapore excels.

David Versace said...

You wake me up when the world works that way.  For a guy with a blog that talks about how the world isn't the way we'd like it to be (in your case that IQ is not distributed fairly), you seem to clam up when that fact means your own group loses out.  It kind of gets into my general impression that you advoate on behalf of HBD because you think it will result on Asians being on top, not because of some principals stand for the truth.  I had sort of hoped that wasn't the case, as you seem open minded and not a total Asian supremicist like the commentators, but alas.

For America to be a nation of laws, not an ethnic entity, would require sacrifices on behalf of Asians too.  Are they ready to make those sacrifices?  When I see a department with an Asian boss that has hired all Asian underlings I know the answer, heck no.

steve hsu said...

Not sure what you think I am clamming up about.

Nor why you think I would not apply the same laws or principles equally to all ethnic groups.

David Versace said...

No, they wouldn't.  I know because in Japan this isn't how they acted.  When foriegners outcompeted Japanese at Sumo there was a huge cannip about it.  I know because Koreans in Japan are treated like subhuman garbage and not allowed to rise up.  The list goes on.  Yeah, Asians would yell at thier own kids to study more.  But if that didn't work, they would shut out and shut down the competition.

David Versace said...

Singapore is a tiny city state.  A lot of tiny city states have governing structures that are quite admirable (Switzerland, Singapore, HK, I even think Sweden/Norway aren't bad even though they aren't as good as the former three).  But the issue is scale, I've yet to see a big country adopt the governance they have.  Until I see that, it remains something that can only work in tiny outlier states.

RKU1 said...

There are also lots of additional examples in other eastern Asian countries.  For example, there was a long history of deep hostility in Vietnam between the ethnic Vietnamese and the much more financially and academically successful ethnic Chinese.  Similar hostility to a greater or lesser extent has existed in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.  And the public racial-nationalism exhibited in the societies of Japan and North Korea is exceptionally strong.

However, an important factor to bear in mind is that East Asians tend to have a very high degree of social conformism, leading them to adopt the behavior patterns of the the society or peer-group in which they are raised, with the Japanese being perhaps the most exceptionally conformist.  So young Japanese raised to worship the Emperor tend to worship the Emperor, while young Japanese raised to worship MLK tend to worship MLK.  And since the social/ideological atmosphere of most East Asians growing up in America is usually middle-class/affluent/professional/mainstream, they tend to absorb the dominate ideological values which permeate that sub-culture and its media outlets, which strongly lean toward "non-racialism" and against ethnic chauvinism.  On the empirical level, I've seen very little evidence of strong ethnic focus or "clannishness" on the part of American-raised Asians, indeed less so than many particular white ethnic groups such as Jews, Mormons, Armenians, and Greeks, which is quite different than that of their foreign-raised parents.

Another example of this effect seems to come in the matter of corruption.  My impression is that many East Asian countries including China have a pretty high level of day-to-day corruption, and this is largely semi-tolerated as an normal and inevitable aspect of society.  However, I've seen almost no evidence that American-raised Asians engage in such corrupt behavior.  Presumably, this is because the middle-class/professional American milieu in which they are socialized strongly frowns on corruption.  For example, despite the enormous pressure in Asian families for academic success, I don't think I've ever heard of a major East Asian cheating scandal.

James Choi said...

Steve, I recently came across your blog and find it really interesting.

I had a discussion with a very smart friend of mine (stanford computer science, now working for a high-frequency trading firm in Chicago) about intelligence at the extreme end. He argued that standardized tests are a very poor measure of intelligence because a reasonably smart person can just study his butt off and raise his score dramatically in a short period of time. Yet, no one would argue that such a person got smarter during that period.

His second argument was more interesting. He believes that with very few exceptions, such as winning a Nobel prize in physics or a fields medal, intelligence beyond a certain point just doesn't matter that much. It ultimately boils down to work ethic, ambition, and luck.

Curious to know your thoughts on these points.

LaurentMelchiorTellier said...

A third example, besides the low incidence of what RKU describes as corruption, may be the lower incidence of "face saving" in transplanted EA's. old study looks at face saving, and many other traits. Many studies have documented the high degree of Agreeableness (as a precise, Big Five personality trait term - roughly translating into what RKU1 calls conformism) in EA's which you describe, RKU1 - but also the large differences between Westernized EAs and Native (aboriginal?) EA's, as facets of having high Agreeableness in different cultural contexts, it really produces very different results. I wish I could find a similar study for Easternized NE's, but this dataset seems to never have been collected. :-/ I suspect that NE's Easternize differently.*All Big Five results must be based on a species of self-report, and EA's tend to report modestly. But agreeableness may be the least vulnerable to self-report biases of the Big Five. There is also a case to be made that different EA populations have different degrees of Agreeableness between one another, as appears the case with Euro populations within the US (Chinese may be the Italians of East Asia, in this regard).*AA's and fx. Chinese EA's are very dissimilar in many key ways. I'm sometimes of the impression that ABC's possess the "classical", or old-fashioned American culture traits to a greater extent than post-60s WA's. 

Matthew Carnegie said...

In terms of Jewish aggressiveness, they self rate as more neurotic and extraverted than the majority of Whites and likely more than Whites of a similar IQ level (using Episcopalians as a proxy). They don't self rate as less agreeable (less empathic and/or polite).

That's consistent with them liking other people not more or less - i.e. no higher aggression in the sense of a desire to hurt or attack -, but if they do feel bad about their treatment they will talk about it, and maybe they do feel it more deeply if injustice is prepetrated against them. (Extraversion also tends to be associated with positive emotionality, so it interestingly seems like Jews self rate as just "feeling more" period than typical Whites, and likely Asians - I get the impression a lot of Jewish folks see typical Whites and maybe more so Asians as more like stoic, affectless blobs than they are).

Whereas Asians are from the continent where "Japanese mothers are asked about their expectations for their son or daughter, the mothers often say things like "I want my child to grow up so as not to be a bother to other people." [Source: New York Times]" and where Koreans tested for empathy tend to be more concerned about "burderning the group" than Westerners (of course, necessarily flattering as this could just as likely be a strategy to avoid having to deal with people and avoid being "burdened" with their problems).

Aggression and dominance seeking probably doesn't even come into it (although I know from previous posts you don't really see those as "bad things" in the way some might) - although greater compliance and interdependence in Asians may do.

Matthew Carnegie said...

If A-A SAT scores are artificially elevated by cramming then one might expect it to under-predict college GPA. (On the other hand, if Asians are more conscientious and hard working overall, one might* expect both SAT scores and college GPA to be elevated relative to other groups.)

Seems like it's hard to distinguish between "Never stop cramming for every test" and "More hard working overall", except that presumably one of these mean you get stuck when you can't learn to the test and the other wouldn't. And that would mean that systematic testing wouldn't be able to distinguish between them! (You could still distinguish experimentally, but not through standardised tests the outcomes of which are out in the open).

Of course, there are maybe not that many situations in life where some form of "learning to the test", or more nicely put, preparation, isn't actually helpful or possible. Fewer still (if any) where its harmful.


There's still the harder vs easier courses issue in terms of performance, that you raised earlier as well.

It would be interesting to see if we do get an Asian overperformance if we confined that sample to elite colleges - it might be that there is only an AA effect for Asians at elite schools(?), that they get into schools at the rate that their SAT suggests and that non-elite schools aren't really systematically easier than elite schools (that would be a shocker though). 

steve hsu said...

You need a high ceiling test to differentiate in the tail. See also SMPY, which is SAT administered to 12 year olds. No offense, but in some settings a Stanford CS guy would be the dumbest guy in the group.

For ordinary careers, there are probably diminishing returns to brainpower, and other factors matter more. Of course everyone is affected by luck.

LaurentMelchiorTellier said...

The first link is very apropos some previous topics of discussion. It seems that attaining "eminent scientist" status (or "rock star" status, as I described it in your previous topic) is extremely dependent on V, somewhat less on M, and much less on S. This, and the unfortunately negative effect of high agreeableness upon attainment in the 5th link, might explain part of the eminence gap.

It's hilarious that Neuroticism has no appreciable effect on attainment. :-D

David Versace said...

"An understanding of how the world actually is does not preclude wanting to make it better."

Yes, but some things don't change.  For instance, people thought they could make the world better by convincing everyone that all people are created equal.  But as your HBD blog points out, that isn't the case.  Similairly you can claim that if Asians ran everything their ethnic affinity would melt away and they wouldn't be clanish because of it, but I need to see more evidence of that.

Let's review the situation:
1) Elite institutions have criteria by which they choose candidates.  Asians do very well on this (3x thier population), but not as well as some academic metrics would indicate.

2) In spite of everyone knowing this and "racist" being perhaps the most disgusting word in modern American society that everyone is afraid of being accused of, instititions continue this practice.  Clearly, they must feel there is a reason for it and that accepting fewer Asians has not harmed them so much that they should dismiss those reasons.

3) You believe that the government should interfere with these institutions selection criteria on the basis of the public good so that more Asians are selected.

4) However, you've yet to make a case as to why Asians would make better elites then the current crop.  Would they run the country better?  Would they treat the majority of citizens (average IQ whites) better?  On what grounds do you believe that its in the publics best interest to force more Asians into these institutions?

Personally, I'm not seeing a good reason.  Their post grad real world success isn't that great, so I don't think we are giving up much.  Would they make better elites morally?  Its true that elites in some Asian countries foster good social cohesion with the general populace, but their track record with anyone not of their own race is bad.  Look at ethnic minorities in most Asian countries and what they are put through is terrible.  You can do your own research here.

In a work environment everyone is a bit clanish, but while I see white people being much looser Asians are more clanish.  If there is an Asian department head its never much of a surprise to see the entire department be Asian.  I doubt that came about entirely from merit based recruiting.  And while I've  encountered genuine Nazi style Asian race surpremicists amongst high IQ Asian people, I've encountered zero race surpremicists amongst elite white people.  If Asians became a dominant majority of elites, there is no reason to believe they would be good elites to everyone else.

So they aren't performing that great in the real world and there is no reason to believe they would treat everyone fairly.  So why should the government intervene to force schools to accept more Asians?

steve hsu said...

There are two interpretations. One is that V is useful for self-aggrandizement, or claiming credit. The other is that the V score is correlated with the ability to make the breakthrough, see some conceptual connection, etc. I think both effects are there. Note for some fields a very high M score is a prerequisite to even get started. The only M scores quoted are for non-physicists, and interestingly (IIRC) the high scores belonged to a psychologist (psychometrician?) and a biologist (population genetics?).

LondonYoung said...

I find it strange that nobody commented on "No Response" as the racial grouping with the strongest Critical Reasoning scores.  This alone is enough to convince me of the validity of these tests! 

RKU1 said...

I think someone is missing certain very crucial facts in his understanding of the world.

I really do need to get around to writing up that analysis of mine...

JLOV said...

Besides the SMPY, a recent study by Arneson et al. also showed that there is no threshold above which more ability does not matter. In fact, ability differences seem to become more important at the high end of ability. See here:

Jerry Lin said...

As an Asian I may not agree with what you've said. What you wrote about how Asians would react when outperformed by others was your own belief, not truth. 
I'm personally a Taiwanese Canadian and as long as I can tell, almost all Asian music industries have long suppressed foreigners (especially Caucasians) who have greater talent than most locals. I would like Whites to stop bashing Asians with no reason just because we perform better academically, but saying that Asians are open for competition is just a complete lie. Saying Asian culture is superior only proves your ignorance towards the negative side of our culture.  
I recalled from the previous thread on STEM courses. Well I'm studying in Engineering now, and when it comes to Design courses it is Whites that always top the class. Maybe it's only my experience. But saying that Asians are superior in STEM courses? Not so fast. 

Yan Shen said...

"all Asian music industries have long suppressed foreigners (especially Caucasians) who have greater talent than most locals."

That's funny, because K-pop is huge in Japan and other parts of Asia.

Jerry Lin said...

You're missing my point, I'm talking about Caucasians encountering obstacles in job markets. Japanese, Taiwanese (as far as I can tell) suppress foreigners who try to enter the music market. There are lots of stories my friends lived through and struggled when they were in Asia. 
Bringing up the example of K-Pop only proves that you do not understand my point. K-pop is founded WITHIN Korea, and it has swept across Asia since 2008 because Asians love K-Pop style as an alternative to J-pop while Japanese music industry produces less stars in recent years. But did K-pop develop originally in Japan? The answer is quite obvious. 

Christopher Chang said...

Technical point: expected SAT score rises with a child's age.  In
addition to the selection effect (someone is more likely to talk about
their experience with SAT training if they experienced a large score
improvement than if they weren't noticeably helped), one also has to
correct for the amount of mental development that would have happened
anyway during the training period.

That said,
(i) I'd expect that some people benefit a lot more from training than average, and
(ii) the existence of diminishing returns does not mean the aggregate return can't be high if you put in an incredible amount of effort.  1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + ... still diverges to infinity.

Christopher Chang said...

Sure, my earlier point was just that East Asia is now the world leader in constructive public policy innovation, and this is highly relevant to how the next half-century will play out.

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

You're very wrong in asserting those Caucasians are discriminated based on race.  If you actually bothered to consider what's going on, the Caucasians in East Asia tend to be very bad in the native languages of East Asia.  Obviously, you can't act or sing competently without fluency in the respective language.  Even the ones with relatively fair proficiency in East Asian language exhibit nowhere near the type of mastery in English successful East Asians in America demonstrate.  With English being lingua franca in many sectors around the world, it is obviously easier learn English than East Asian languages, but it is expected of one to exhibit high level of proficiency in the official language of the nation they want to succeed in.  Perhaps Caucasians in East Asia don't feel the same level of urgency to learn the native language that East Asians feel in the US, but this type of conceit only works when you are in superior position.

You also fail to note that Caucasian population in East Asia is very small even compared to the Asian population in the US, which is roughly 4%.  In South Korea, Koreans comprise over 99% of the population.  Even the remaining <1% are largely other Asians.  Subtracting, US military personnel, which make up the bulk of Caucasian population in South Korea, the Caucasian pool any industry draws is miniscule compare to the Korean population.  I'd say Caucasians are over represented in South Korean TV than the demographic suggests.  Many of them don't even speak Korean fluently that they're only on TV by the "merit" of being white.  In addition, there are many half white TV personalities in Japan.  White and half white people are actually considered desirable in Japan that I doubt they're being discriminated against.

Edwin said...

I do not know about you guys,but i have improved my SAT score by 200 points on both the verbal and Math sections.My score was constant on the writing portion solely because i did not do any practice tests in that category.And i have never attended a single test prep class in my life because i could not afford it.

Jerry Lin said...

Nice point. I may have to reconsider the issue a bit more. 

Yan Shen said...

In other words, you had no idea what you were talking about.

Jerry Lin said...

I just want some Asian Americans to stop fantasizing about those Asian countries, just as how some Asians fantasize about the States and got disappointed when they come here.
"We Asian Americans have nothing to learn from our White counterparts"? Wow, maybe you should be less ignorant and start to look at Asian societies more deeply. 
Yes, I admit that I may be wrong in my perception that my friends are being discriminated based on race. Are you willing to admit you're being ignorant to have this "Asian's the best" mentality?  

Michele Kerr said...

The studies I've seen have looked for dramatic improvements, which aren't the point here. Asians (and here I mean Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese)  aren't spending hundreds of hours in test prep to move from 400 to 600 per section, but from 650 to 700, 700 to 750.  Remember that the SAT got shorter in each section, so the impact of one missed question (particularly in math) has a 20-30 point difference in scores. You don't think training gets you an extra question? 

I've read through the comments and the people who talk about "Asian test prep" are absolutely right. It's hard for those who haven't seen it to understand how many hours are spent gaining another 20-40 points. I teach at a place like this, and I find it very hard to believe that this sort of hourly training isn't giving the specified groups a small boost in the top scores, boosts that most white students couldn't be bothered to care about.  At this point in time, I'm reasonably sure that test prep is accounting for a good bit of the unusual dominance of Asians in the PSAT and top SAT scores--keeping in mind, of course, that they'd be overrepresented regardless. 

steve hsu said...

But it apparently doesn't decrease the correlation between their SAT score and college GPA. Does that mean they are also studying much harder in college?

Also, I suspect you work in a place with a concentration of Asians, like Cupertino or San Gabriel Valley. There are plenty of Asians in other parts of the US that don't have access to cram schools. You have to average them in to get to the aggregate numbers.

sineruse said...

>[test prep] apparently doesn't decrease the correlation between their SAT
score and college GPA.

Steve, the study says the exact opposite, if you look more carefully at the tables and explanation of how they were derived.

The correlation was stronger for whites than for Asians, whether SAT or grades or both were used as a predictor.  SAT means trivariate SAT with M/V/W subscores all utilized (i.e., regressed, per institution) with their own weights, or the same with HSGPA added as a predictor variable.  The differences in "variance explained" were large.

The underprediction of grades was also higher for whites than for Asians, both for raw college GPA and college GPA standardized to control for institutional grading characteristics.   

The reason you don't see explicit overprediction, with negative Asian coefficients, in those tables, is that whites were not used as the baseline population.  The over/under prediction in this Kobrin et al paper is assessed relative to the whole student population at each institution.  Asians and whites are both underpredicted, but whites more so. This is consistent with the Espenshade and Duke University (Arcidiacono et al 2011) studies of grades, where white was used as the baseline, and being Asian (American) was a negative predictor for college grades, after accounting in some fashion for choice of major or course difficulty, and socioeconomic characteristics.   The magnitude of the differences in correlation and R^2 (table 2) and the robustness of the result for college GPA (table 3 and appendix B) no matter what predictor is considered, strongly suggests that if the Kobrin study that had been limited to the white and Asian population only, excluding other minorities, the results would have been similar. 

Studies of grades are suspect in any case because students' incentives, goals and resources vary widely and there is enormous variation within and between institutions.  National exam-based measures such as LSAT/MCAT/GRE, bar exams, medical licensing tests, and math competitions are more revealing.

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