Even though cognitive ability and academic achievement are distinct constructs and specific cognitive factors are important to explain specific aspects of achievement, it is unquestionable that measures of reading comprehension and mathematical achievement offer good approximations of the individual’s intelligence levels. Recent results of international assessment programs (e.g., PISA) have shown a large difference in high school students’ performance between northern and southern Italy. On this basis, it has been argued that the discrepancy reflects differences in average intelligence of the inhabitants of regions and is associated with genetic factors (Lynn, 2010a; 2012). This paper provides evidence in contrast of this conclusion by arguing that the use of PISA data to make inferences about regional differences in intelligence is questionable, and in any case, both PISA and other recent surveys on achievement of North and South Italy students offer some results that do not support Lynn’s conclusions. In particular, a 2006-2009 PISA data comparison shows a relevant decrease in the North-South difference in only three years, particularly evident in the case of a single region (Apulia), that cannot accounted by the Lynn’s theory. Furthermore, other large surveys (including INVALSI-2011) offer different results and age differences suggest that schooling could have an important role.

Problems in deriving Italian Regional Differences in Intelligence from 2009 PISA data

GIOFRE', DAVID;CORNOLDI, CESARE;
2012

Abstract

Even though cognitive ability and academic achievement are distinct constructs and specific cognitive factors are important to explain specific aspects of achievement, it is unquestionable that measures of reading comprehension and mathematical achievement offer good approximations of the individual’s intelligence levels. Recent results of international assessment programs (e.g., PISA) have shown a large difference in high school students’ performance between northern and southern Italy. On this basis, it has been argued that the discrepancy reflects differences in average intelligence of the inhabitants of regions and is associated with genetic factors (Lynn, 2010a; 2012). This paper provides evidence in contrast of this conclusion by arguing that the use of PISA data to make inferences about regional differences in intelligence is questionable, and in any case, both PISA and other recent surveys on achievement of North and South Italy students offer some results that do not support Lynn’s conclusions. In particular, a 2006-2009 PISA data comparison shows a relevant decrease in the North-South difference in only three years, particularly evident in the case of a single region (Apulia), that cannot accounted by the Lynn’s theory. Furthermore, other large surveys (including INVALSI-2011) offer different results and age differences suggest that schooling could have an important role.
Thirteenth Annual Conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3105936
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