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Spoiler Alert: Smart Kids Become Successful Adults

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the revenge-of-the-nerds dept.

Education 256

itwbennett writes "Researchers from the University of Edinburgh set out to test the long-held assumption that kids who performed well in school at a young age carried that early success through to adulthood. And prove it they did! Specifically, 'Math and reading ability at age 7 may be linked with socioeconomic status several decades later.' Early success even correlates 'over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.'"

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256 comments

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687509)

Well, yeah, clearly! I mean, just look at me...

Correlations (5, Interesting)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#43687555)

Also correlated:

Math and reading ability at age 7 and socioeconomic status of the parents.

Socioeconomic status and socioeconomic status of the parents.

So has this study really shown anything other than the transitive property [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Correlations (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43687593)

Open articles.
Ctrl-F "Controling"
No results.
Close tab.

Nothing of value.

(They did start another study for control for genetic factors, but those aren't the most important)

Re:Correlations (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687685)

Well if you are expecting to find a word that you didn't even spell right you might as well just skip the first four steps and go straight to "nothing of value"...

Re:Correlations (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43687739)

Oh, well the truth is I got as far as "contr" before finding nothing(save for the one reference).

Re:Correlations (4, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#43688097)

Although the third-party blurb suggests some interesting conjectures, the article itself is hidden behind a paywall [sagepub.com]. It's hardly worth speculating on its content or statistical robustness or experimental rigor - other than noting that the social sciences tend to be less robust in their methods and mathematics than the physical sciences and engineering.

Re:Correlations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688113)

The sad thing is if you'd actually read the article, they did control for socioeconomic status.

Re:Correlations (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43688149)

That... doesn't seem to be true. I couldn't actually find that explicitly spelled out at all. Which article are you referring to, and are you just referring to the

over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.

Because that doesn't necessarily refer to controls.

Re:Correlations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688251)

Except that is exactly what it refers to in this case, that the correlations with later success are still there when accounting for and removing correlations with family's socioeconomic status.

Re:Correlations (5, Funny)

jon3k (691256) | about a year ago | (#43687925)

The best part is his username. Really makes the whole thing that much more hilarious.

Re:Correlations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687797)

I didn't find "Controling" either. Probably because it isn't spelled correctly. You may not be succeeding as an adult.

Re:Correlations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687807)

Please edit your post and correct the misspelling above.

Oh I forgot. This is slashdot. Editing "technology" hasn't made it here. And of course, it is the users fault. S/he should have typed it perfectly to begin with, and then spell checked it perfectly afterwards too.

Re:Correlations (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43687841)

As a programmer, I fully expect to be rightfully chastised for any string literal I mistype, even if the mistake was a typo I didn't make when relevant. Enclosing something in quotes magically makes the importance of spelling increase 10fold.

Re:Correlations (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a year ago | (#43688229)

Just imagine how stupid you would look if he was able to edit his post. You would be complaining about spelling that was correct.

I do think we should have 10 or 15 minutes to edit formatting or spelling mistakes that we didn't notice before hitting the wrong button or whatever.

Re:Correlations (5, Informative)

robbyjo (315601) | about a year ago | (#43688191)

> Open articles. Ctrl-F "Controling" No results. Close tab. Nothing of value.

It does. It is abbreviated as "RGSC" on the article [sagepub.com]. Look at Figure 2 to see the model graphically and you see that RGSC is featured prominently on the top. Also, if you look at Table 2, the authors acknowledge the link between SES of origin AND math / reading abilities. But this paper shows that the math & reading abilities at 7 years old do predict mid-life SES above AND beyond the SES of origin.

Re:Correlations (4, Informative)

Ioldanach (88584) | about a year ago | (#43688291)

Open articles. Ctrl-F "Controling" No results. Close tab.

Nothing of value.

(They did start another study for control for genetic factors, but those aren't the most important)

Article says

The long-term associations held even after the researchers took other common factors into account. "These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," say Ritchie and Bates.

Which implies that they controlled for socioeconomic status. However, the actual paper appears to be behind a paywall. Therefore I don't know what's in it, beyond what this article tells me.

Re:Correlations (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#43688303)

You didn't have to search, you only had to read the second sentence of the article.

Your post had nothing of value.

Re:Correlations (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43687653)

'over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood

Sounds like even when accounting their socioeconomic status when they were a child, having good grades was still a really good indicator. However, there still is a big problem with kids in lower socioeconomic status obtaining higher grades, those that are able to seem to do better later in life.

Re:Correlations (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#43687673)

From TFA:

The long-term associations held even after the researchers took other common factors into account.

"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," say Ritchie and Bates.

So, assuming they did their research right, nope. The results have little or nothing to do with the socioeconomic status of the parents.

Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687787)

I don't believe this study proves anything. My parents made a comfortable middle-class living, and I nearly aced the math part of my SAT back in the early nineties. Yet here I am at 38 making $18/hour, which is below the national average salary. Where did I go wrong? Social skills.

I will propose that social skills have a much higher correlation to financial success than intelligence OR the "socioeconomic status" of one's parents.

Re:Agreed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687885)

yep, you can be really smart, but if you can't sell yourself well and are insecure, you won't go too far. Networking in general is much more important than raw brainpower once the baseline requirements are met.

On the other hand... (5, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43687563)

...does being smart lead to a more stressful life? Realizing how much you still don't understand, grasping the bad state of some things in world, feeling the general existential pain and philosophizing things, and so on.

Re:On the other hand... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43687677)

"If the purpose of our life is not suffering then our existence is the most ill-adapted to its purpose in the world."

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687887)

Credit to Schopenhauer, not sure about the translator.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43687755)

This is a #firstworldproblem, those who are worrying if they will find food tomorrow have no time to worry about existential pain and philosophy. No, you still have to learn to be happy, even if you're smart.

One might suggest as the purpose of life, to learn to be happy even when all external circumstances are miserable. Because they will be; if nothing else you'll feel existential pain.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43687897)

It's not existential pain and philosophy. It's hard to watch the world as it is, and the direction it's heading and realize that most things are beyond your control. Yes, there are people starving and there shouldn't be. Corrupt governments and religious leaders abuse people and make things worse rather than helping, and there's very little that only a few people can do to affect change. Being smart and happy means that you're probably ignoring the plight of others. I think that people of below average intelligence in first world countries are probably the happiest.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | about a year ago | (#43687963)

This is a #firstworldproblem, those who are worrying if they will find food tomorrow have no time to worry about existential pain and philosophy.

I'm going to have to disagree with that one, depending upon who you talk to, one of the arguments why religion was developed was to explain to people why their lives sucked. Hunter-gather societies where you spend a fair amount time looking for food still gave rise to philosophical explanations for the big "Why?" question. Ultimately, the evidence seems to be that if you are alive long enough eventually you are going to ask yourself the question.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#43687987)

This is a #firstworldproblem, those who are worrying if they will find food tomorrow have no time to worry about

Then the USA is not a "First World" country. About a sixth of all residents [feedingamerica.org] don't get enough food. Particularly heartbreaking is that the numbers tend to get worse when you start talking about just kids. In my hometown the percentage of kids on meal assistance at their schools is so high, I'm too embarrassed to quote it here. These are the kids who are supposed to grow up and run the country.

Re:On the other hand... (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43688315)

In my hometown the percentage of kids on meal assistance at their schools is so high ...

Sorry, but "being on meal assistance" does not in any way whatsoever imply "does not get enough to eat."

In fact the opposite is true: obesity rates are negatively correlated with income, and kids at the very bottom of the poverty scale are the fattest.

America has a serious nutrition problem, but we certainly do not have a systematic hunger problem, and claiming or implying that we do is just diverting attention from the actual problem.

The world's not as bad as you think... (1)

komodo685 (2920329) | about a year ago | (#43687951)

We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism? Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED)

Re:On the other hand... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43688177)

Yes, as a smart person you think about those things when you're an adolescent. Then you grow up.

Successful adults? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687587)

First define successful adult. Success means different things to different people. I know a lot of people with no more than an 8th grade education that are successfully supporting their families and are genuinely happy people.

False. Intelligence is a myth. (0, Troll)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year ago | (#43687595)

Correlation != causation.

People only succeed because of privilege. If they read well at age seven, it is because of privilege.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year ago | (#43687645)

Privileged kids do have advantages. There's no doubt about it. I think examples abound of people succeeding in spite of adversity though.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43687659)

Far more examples of kids not succeeding partly due to it as well.

Either way, too many factors to just tie it to one thing.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687747)

I could read at age 3 - privilege isn't relevant. It's the time and attention of the parents that get things started.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (2)

m3000 (46427) | about a year ago | (#43687853)

It's a lot easier to get the time and attention of a parent if they're not working two crappy minimum wage jobs to try and make ends meet. Privilege is incredibly relevant.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43687801)

Intelligence isn't a myth, it's a real thing. The myth is that intelligence is static, that nothing can be done to improve your intelligence.

You could start your journey to intelligence by becoming more knowledgeable: read the article and learn that the researchers adjusted for socioeconomic status and privilege.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43687959)

Yeah, the most annoying thing about discussions about intelligence is that everyone just assumes that Intelligence = F(x), then argue for an hour about what x is. The obvious reality that bypasses this whole argument is that Intelligence=F(x,y,z,m,n,a,b,c,d,e,f,g...), and that success is another function G(F(x),a,b,c,d,e,g...).

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#43687827)

I can't quite go that far with you. There is no doubt that everybody's brain is built differently, and this can greatly affect what is easy for that person and what is difficult. An extreme example would be someone who has dyslexia. It is no myth that such a person has much more trouble reading at age 7, and this (probably) has nothing to do with their socioeconomic status.

However, as someone with a graduate degree who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, it is quite true that some of the smartest, most driven people I grew up with had trouble just getting out of the old neighborhood. Meanwhile some of the stupidest people I have ever met were PhDs and program managers (nothing against those folks. The smart ones can indeed be brilliant). I can't vouch for the family backgrounds of the stupid people (because I try to avoid them), but from my old neighborhood it was 100% the case that friends of mine growing up in the projects and/or in really rough neighborhoods had the most trouble moving on to college.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687933)

Yeah cuz all those Asian kids that study their asses off are all driving Beemers to preschool.

Go snivel somewhere else vermin.

Re:False. Intelligence is a myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687979)

Intelligence is a story with religious significance (not necessarily true or false)? I take it you mean that intelligence is not real.
Stupidity is quite real. Some people are more stupid than others. That variation in stupidity is what we refer to as intelligence.

Government Money for Studies (0)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | about a year ago | (#43687615)

It really took a pile of government money to fund some geniuses at a university to figure that out, huh? And people wonder why the planet is going broke!

Re:Government Money for Studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687705)

The planet is not going broke. I think it is still like it has always been. The vast majority of money is held by a minority of people.

Re:Government Money for Studies (1)

lancelotlink (958750) | about a year ago | (#43687717)

Well, People generally comment on this site that basic research can lead to unexpected outcomes, new questions. It's entirely possible that all of this data can help support something new that we haven't thought of yet. I understand that this isn't basic research, but I feel that it could be applied here.

Measure for Success? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687623)

Success like food, shelter and passing on your genes?

Or success like a big house, fancy car and a vapid meaningless life?

Who is writing this crap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687631)

I thought this was slash dot? I somehow stumbled onto Oprah's website?

totally true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687639)

sh*t i'm 30 and was smart at school i believe the study, it just means i'm not an adult yet

I thought successful people weren't smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687643)

Wait. I've been told rich people are just evil and greedy not smarter.

Re:I thought successful people weren't smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687901)

What does being rich have to do with being successful?

No shit sherlock. (0)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year ago | (#43687667)

Move along.

Everyone knows that trust fund kids are better educated and therefore more successful.

Re:No shit sherlock. (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43687779)

Dumb people tend not to stay rich for very long.

Re:No shit sherlock. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687949)

That depends on how their grandfather's accountants set up the trust fund. Mega rich trust-fundies can't pull the money out and piss it away like lottery winners.

Performing well in school... (5, Informative)

poor_boi (548340) | about a year ago | (#43687669)

I've always felt that performing well in school is less a measure of intelligence and more a measure of one's ability to follow rules, complete assigned tasks, get along with teachers and classmates, and behave in socially acceptable ways. It even seems like highly intelligent people often perform worse-than-average in school because high intelligence often comes along with lower-than-average social skills (or a disinterest in adhering to social norms).

Re: Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687745)

Your comments are crappola.

Re:Performing well in school... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687753)

I did only what I needed to do to maintain a B average so that my parent's would pay for car insurance. Other than that my mind was elsewhere, I didn't go to college, and lo and behold; I'm very successful and I did it my way. Imagine that.

Re:Performing well in school... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688043)

Maybe if you focused better in school you wouldn't mix up your possesives and plurals.

Re:Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688217)

yes, which would make him a better office drone like you.. you go girl!

Re:Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688269)

He's crying about his bad grammar all the way to the bank.

Re:Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687817)

I did what I needed to maintain a B average so my parent's would pay for car insurance. Could do quadratic equations in my head, but generally my mind was elsewhere in school. I didn't go to college and am very successful in technology. I did it my way, imagine that. Nobody pinned me as being very smart but I guess that's the case.

Re:Performing well in school... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688017)

You still haven't figured out the comment system here, though. So there's that.

Re:Performing well in school... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687855)

If you want to justify it that way.

I knew people who were crazy smart. They always had 100's on their assignments. Even 'the outcasts'. I also saw 'popular' people tank test after test...

High school (and life for that matter) is what you decide to get out of it. You want more you have to take it. It will not be given to you. A lesson I unfortunately learned too late in life...

My bad grades were directly correlated to the fact I never bothered to read the material or do the homework. This was due to bad habits I picked up early on (1st 2nd grade). If I had done that I would have probably done MUCH better. But I was too busy memorizing the 80 TV cable schedule (which I can scarily tell you today, even what would be on right now if it was 1983).

Re:Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687985)

performing well in school is less a measure of intelligence and more a measure of one's ability to follow rules, complete assigned tasks, get along with teachers and classmates, and behave in socially acceptable ways

And, 98% of the time, that's what it takes to be successful in business too. How's that for a correlation? :P

Re:Performing well in school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688133)

highly intelligent - get along fine in school because they are smart enough to figure out to play 'dumb' and merely be average to fit in.
it's the slightly higher than average but not the former group who believe they are smarter than they really are who come to grief.

Re:Performing well in school... (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about a year ago | (#43688273)

I've always felt that performing well in school is less a measure of intelligence and more a measure of one's ability to follow rules, complete assigned tasks, get along with teachers and classmates, and behave in socially acceptable ways. It even seems like highly intelligent people often perform worse-than-average in school because high intelligence often comes along with lower-than-average social skills (or a disinterest in adhering to social norms).

Naah. Intelligence is often coupled to solving mathematic problems. I claim that social skills also take intelligence. A less measurable one perhaps but still.

Need for good teachers (5, Insightful)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43687687)

And this is why we need good teachers in the school system when the kids are at a young age. This is how I would re-organize the Canadian school system in Ontario:

1) Religion in schools need to be cut. Replace Religion with math and science, math and science promote logic, God promotes making up stories because we want to.

2) Teach math and science harder, really push them as corner stones of education, if students aren't getting the concepts increase class length. I would say by grade 5 you should be comfortable with variables.

3) Every day should have a gym component where kids are FORCED to participate,

4) Science class should contain hands on experiments and labs. If you can't test it, don't teach it.

5) Find a way to make homework interactive, not just copy question out of a book.

6) Computer Programming should become a mandatory class starting in grade 4, get kids playing with visual languages, they massively help you learn and work out logical problems that be applied in other areas.

7) Music class, make kids learn instruments or at least get involved with Music, this will allow there creative abilities to expand.


8) Don't let the kids sit more then 1 hour at a time, make sure they're moving around and getting involved in the class.

Those would be the initial adjustments I would make, I'm sure it's not perfect but it's a FAR better system then one currently in place.

Need for good parents (3, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#43687803)

I agree with you but more importantly we need good parents. Less babysitters, less nannies, less ipad, less facebook, less drinking and drugs.

Parents should spend time with their kids and be available to help.

Re:Need for good parents (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43687867)

I would of brought up parents, but the parents all my friends and I grew up with were great parents.

Re:Need for good parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687981)

"would of"?

Come on, you should know better than to use "of" where "have" is used. 99.999% chance that you are English. Pity your great parents didn't know their own language and correct this "of" fixation you Limeys suffer with.

Re:Need for good parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687871)

I agree with you but more importantly we need good parents. Less babysitters, less nannies, less ipad, less facebook, less drinking and drugs.

Parents should spend time with their kids and be available to help.

With both parents having to work to support a family these days, that's easier said than done.

Re:Need for good parents (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | about a year ago | (#43687939)

Less babysitters, less nannies, less ipad, less facebook, less drinking and drugs.

You forgot less commenting on Slashdot.

Re:Need for good teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687917)

No, we need to get kids out of schools that try to teach them to become obsolete factory drones.

Re:Need for good teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688029)

No surprise...

I'm not surprised that you failed to list any language arts in your list. Judging by your poor sentence structure and spelling, it is quite obvious that you place little to no importance on communication skills.

Re:Need for good teachers (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43688301)

Just for the people who don't get it, Add in English, History and Comm courses where you can.

Is right if you ignore dyslexics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687695)

When I was 7 I was a math and english idiot. I was told by my maths teacher I would be a refuse collector.
At age 40 I am doing extremely well.

At age 20 something dyslexics learn to play the system in which they fail and generally out perform many others.... We have skills others don't.

Re:Is right if you ignore dyslexics... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43688247)

It's still right. If you show that people who perform well at age 7 are likely to perform well as an adult is says absolutely nothing about if you perform poorly at age 7. It's also statistics. Even if the relationship were true in the negative, anecdotes like yours are merely parts of the sample which have high deviations from the mean.

"Successful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43687781)

What the fuck is a "successful adult"? Someone who succeeds at reaching adulthood? An adult who is, at the time, succeeding at not dying?

Re:"Successful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688295)

Income. The answer is income. You can argue that income divided by a standard of living for your region and factoring in services somehow, but honestly it's all just splitting hairs.

And, like most things, it's not a discreet on/off status. Your success is relative to everyone else. You could be scrapping by earning a half-burnt rat and a couple bottle-caps at the end of the day and be considered fantastically successful if you're in a post-apocalyptic scenario and everyone around you is dying. You could be earning 6 figures, buying a new house, and vacationing to the Alps, but if all your friends are millionaires, you won't be as successful as them.

Welcome to relativity.

Bad headline, as usual (4, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year ago | (#43687821)

Headline: ...Smart Kids Become Successful Adults.
Article: Math and reading skills correlate with success even more strongly than intelligence.

Any word on the edges of the distribution? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43687865)

It seems pretty unsurprising that superior academic achievement in childhood would, on average, lead to somewhat better professional outcomes, at least within the "what part of 'middle class' does your salary put you in" band of professional wage labor.

I'd be curious to know what the data look like at the extremes of the distribution, though: "The data suggest, for example, that going up one reading level at age 7 was associated with a £5,000, or roughly $7,750, increase in income at age 42." So, people who earn, say £60,000 probably had better average performance at school age than the £50k or £40k tiers. What about the people who earn £600,000? There aren't even enough reading levels available to explain that. Is the relationship nonlinear(with each incremental increase in early performance carrying a greater incremental increase in outcome?), does correlation simply break down above(and possibly below) a certain adulthood salary band?

Re:Any word on the edges of the distribution? (1)

stymy (1223496) | about a year ago | (#43688077)

You can't get rich on skills alone, you also need some luck. So of course such linear relationships don't hold at tail ends. In all likelihood, no one in the sample made that much money, so it's ridiculous to extrapolate that far from the data.

Correction to Title (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#43687899)

Actually, the article says the exact opposite of the title. The title should say

Spoiler Alert: *SUCCESSFUL* Kids Become Successful Adults

because the article says:

These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," say Ritchie and Bates.

Causal Link? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#43687941)

When you come up with an answer like this, it raises the question, "What is the causal link?"

They dismiss both intelligence and socioeconomic status, and yet I would guess that there's some connection between reading/math ability and intelligence/socioeconomic status. Dumb children with poor uneducated parents are probably not doing well on these tests. Also they seem dismissive of the role of later education, though I'm sure that early test performance affects subsequent educational opportunities.

It seems like they may have found a statistical correlation without explaining what it actually means.

Re:Causal Link? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43688287)

Of course I didn't RTFA, but it sounds like - when "intelligence" and socioeconomic status are filtered, there is still a correlation, which means a poor kid who does well is still more likely to "succeed."

It's a study of the system which produces certain outputs. I would expect the next step would be to find the causes. Depending on your particular funding source, that would mean being able to either evaluate how to change the system to increase success of those who are not excelling by age 7, or ensuring that those of higher socioeconomic status succeed regardless of 7 yo performance standards.

Pending (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43687983)

My very personal experiment is still pending any tangible proof of success.

In a related 'duh' study: public education can be rather shit - even in low student count, rural settings.

Smart and grades not related (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#43688019)

Grades are mostly a sign of being socially integrated/assimilated and stupid memorization instead of smarts, at least in my experience. We had some teachers who went for one or two "combine your knowledge/derive your own" questions at least in some tests and these were usually the ones where the "good" students all failed miserably and complained afterwards that it was not in scope ;)

Lower the "average" so everyone is smart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688021)

We should make the reading and math tests easier so that more kids have above average math and reading skills.

Seriously, the study did not go into why the kids were better at math and reading. You can't teach math and reading to a pile of bricks...no matter how much money we pour into education.

Re:Lower the "average" so everyone is smart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688323)

We should make the reading and math tests easier so that more kids have above average math and reading skills.

Seriously, the study did not go into why the kids were better at math and reading. You can't teach math and reading to a pile of bricks...no matter how much money we pour into education.

You are obviously prejudiced against bricks. To the reeducation camp with you!!

Also, also.. (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about a year ago | (#43688047)

This is true for developed countries where the children who excel in those subjects can find a job where that matter. Whoops! Forgot to include most of the population in the world where this study will fall apart due to opportunities.

Americans will be smarter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688085)

If every American was a Christian conservative Tea Partier.

1) â¦There would be fewer regulations, lower taxes, a business-friendly environment, and a much smaller government that would lead to considerably stronger economic growth and job creation. In fact, we'd probably have to dramatically increase the number of work permits we hand out to foreign workers, not because there are "jobs Americans won't do" (which don't actually exist), but because so many Americans would be employed that we'd have to bring in more people to do all of the available work.

2) ...The richest Americans would have more money. Of course, so would the middle class and the poor. In fact, the only Americans who wouldn't benefit economically would be the Americans who spend their lives relying on the government, instead of their own effort, to pay their bills.

3) ...We'd have some form of a Balanced Budget Amendment to insure that we don't have a deficit or a debt.

4) ...We'd have a much flatter, simpler tax code that you could fill out on a single sheet of paper.

5) ...Welfare and food stamps would still exist, but there wouldn't be as much need for them, it would be considered shameful to take either, and you can be sure that people would have to work for every hand-out they receive.

6) ...Social Security would be privatized and invested. That means the people who put nothing in would have nothing to take out, but the people who do pay in would have a lot more money to withdraw.

7) ...We'd still put some research money into alternative energy, but we'd also work to build a lot more nuclear power plants and we'd encourage private industry to produce more clean coal and natural gas. Oil would also be much cheaper because we'd have already drilled ANWR, the keystone pipeline would be built, and we'd be opening up federal land to environmentally responsible drilling at every opportunity. This would lead to much lower energy bills for the average American.

8) ...We'd have the same sort of "loser pays" legal system thatâ(TM)s practiced in much of the rest of the civilized world. That would dramatically reduce the number of lawsuits and the cost of legal insurance.

9) ...There would be a lot less government workers and the ones weâ(TM)d have would make less on average than the taxpayers paying their salary.

10) ...Health care would be much cheaper and more efficient because you could buy insurance across state lines; we'd have tort reform, health care savings accounts, and tax credits for health care would go to individuals instead of companies, which means that you wouldn't lose your insurance if you lose your job.

11) ...The fence would be built, the border would be secure, anyone who overstayed his VISA would be tracked down and deported, and illegal aliens who did make it into the country would be forever barred from visiting here legally or becoming citizens.

12) ...Legal immigration would be faster, cheaper, and much more efficient. We'd also be selecting new American immigrants based on merit instead of rewarding people for breaking our laws or allowing them to come here because their son or cousin already managed to become a citizen.

13) ...English would be the national language.

14) ...People would look at you like youâ(TM)re an idiot, as they should today, if you suggest that the Constitution is a living document. You'd also see a lot more Constitutional amendments because the Supreme Court would stick to the law as written unless it was amended.

15) ...The crime rate would be so low because of the lack of criminals and the prevalence of guns that in much of the country, people wouldn't bother to lock their doors.

16) ...The death penalty would be applied much more liberally for terrible crimes and it wouldn't take 15 years of appeals to carry it out.

17) ...All people would be welcome to practice their religious faith with no official state-run religion, just as the Founding Fathers intended. So, yes, you could have a manger in front of the town hall at Christmas and the Ten Commandments on a court house wall, and teachers in public school could teach from the Bible in class when it was appropriate.

18) ...Not only would there be no gay marriage, we'd be taking steps to strengthen marriage -- like getting rid of no-fault divorce and it would be acknowledged that a mother and a father would do a better job of raising kids than any other combination.

19) ....Children would be taught abstinence in school, having kids out of wedlock would be frowned upon, and abortion would be legal only in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

20) ...Kids would start out school with the Pledge of Allegiance and a daily prayer.

21) ...We'd have school vouchers so that we could introduce competition into our school systems and allow all parents to send their kids to the same kind of schools that the rich do today. We'd also spend a lot more time teaching kids reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and economics and spend a lot less time worrying about their self-esteem.

22) ...You wouldn't have terrorists, communists, and people who hate America teaching at our universities.

23) ...Racism would practically be non-existent, there would be no need for the NAACP, LA RAZA, or Affirmative Action and people would, "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

24) ...We'd have safe water, safe food, clean air, and a clean environment, but we'd put an end to the years of legal challenges to new building projects and people having their land declared a "wetland" because the ground gets soggy for a few days a year.

25) ...There would be no public unions. Private unions would, of course, still exist, but no one would be forced to join and employers, if they so desire, would be able to fire everyone in the union and get a new work force.

Controlled for socioeconomic status/intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688157)

OK, it claims reading/math ability at age 7 is a stronger predictor than socioeconomic status and intelligence. Socioeconomic status should be pretty easy to control, you just compare within a group. But I am very skeptical of any intelligence testing independent of reading and math abilities. Oh, I'm sure that someone will say there is a way, I'm just not sure I would believe it.

growing up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688169)

A the age of 7 the young mind is pure. Just slightly disconnected from only following parents, and not yet distracted by the opposite (or same) sex, no competition with others. At this age, the inherent aptitude for general skills shows.

Later, in the phase for mostly factual learning, this no longer holds true. This is where most "relevant" tests are held. After that, calming down, the purity returns. At the age of wikipedia, memorized facts don't matter. Aptitude is.

Hence, child-hood abilities correlate to those of the grown-up person.

Hope this did not stand up to peer review (1)

mordred99 (895063) | about a year ago | (#43688195)

Everyone is asking "what is a successful adult" and that is valid as that was not presented in the case study. However I am also wondering what is determined as "successful" in terms of schooling? Are you talking arbitrarily the grades someone made? Are you talking scores on standardized tests?

All I can say is that people who do well in school at a young age tend to do well as an adult. That is what the study states. However I would also add that it is not necessarily all inclusive as many people don't do well in school (at a young age) but succeed in life as well as academically.

The Matthew Effect (0)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#43688209)

He who has much will be given more. [wikipedia.org]
Teachers encourage students who they believe are smart and discourage students who they believe aren't smart. Double blind studies have shown that if you tell a teacher that a student is smart, then that student will probably do better.

Re:The Matthew Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688325)

Imagine that you're a teacher.

Like every other human being, you have limited time, energy, resources and motivation.

Sure, you're being paid to show up and do the job of teaching. And you do. You stand up in front of a class of misfits every day explaining the material, assigning homework, and grading assignments. After putting in more than most 9-to-5ers, you also grade homework at home. Now, you're not getting paid any extra, you're actually doing unpaid work on your own time.

So, during this unpaid work, who gets the last vestiges of the energy and effort you have left to put into the labor of love that is your profession?
The stupid, nose-picking, gangsta thug wannabe who counts impregnanting two different girls in the same month as his highest achivement in life.
Or, the intelligent girl with good prospects for a full ride scholarship and a great career in STEM?

Don't even waste my time with "I'd give my attention to both equally." because we both know that's bulls***.

Pertinent anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43688253)

This study is BS. I was a child prodigy, yet I'm lying in a ditch right now!

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