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School Academics Enhance Crystalline Intelligence But Not Fluid Intelligence

If we agree that fluid intelligence is important for our children’s future success, then this article is going to be an eye-opener…

To evaluate school quality, states require students to take standardized tests; in many cases, passing those tests is necessary to receive a high-school diploma. These high-stakes tests have also been shown to predict students’ future educational attainment and adult employment and income.

Such tests are designed to measure the knowledge and skills that students have acquired in school — what psychologists call “crystallized intelligence.” However, schools whose students have the highest gains on test scores do not produce similar gains in “fluid intelligence” — the ability to analyze abstract problems and think logically — according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists working with education researchers at Harvard University and Brown University. – MIT

School Academics - Fluid Intelligence
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In a nutshell, the educational practices that are designed to raise knowledge and boost test scores in schools do not improve fluid intelligence. Before you start protesting, let’s be clear here… We’re not knocking the value of improving your child’s crystalline intelligence because there’s a lot of good in that, too, but if you want to work on developing your child’s fluid intelligence (which will be important for his future success), you’re going to have to dig deeper than regular academic methods.

The results from the study are clear:

“[the] study is not about comparing charter schools and district schools. Rather, the study showed that while schools of both types varied in their impact on test scores, they did not vary in their impact on fluid cognitive skills.” – MIT

It’s has been said again and again – don’t get too bogged down focusing solely on your child’s academic track record and forget to develop your child in other ways. If you really want what’s best for your child, it is important to look into other areas of development, such as sports, art, and music.

School Academics - Smarter
Image Source: Pinterest


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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