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The Interaction between Educational Spending and Intelligence

Aldric Hama


Published: 2007/06/01


Extrinsic factors may modify intellectual development to a certain extent but the effects of costly ¡°enrichment¡± programs for young people have been overstated. The current study evaluated interactions between educational funding and standardized tests, which measure intelligence, of secondary school students. In the United States, a negative correlation was found between dollars spent per students and annual teacher salary and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. The percentage of white students positively correlated with SAT scores, whereas the percentage of black and Hispanic students negatively correlated with SAT scores. A racial difference in spending was apparent, but it does not appear that any particular spending measure positively influences intelligence in American students. Outside of the U.S., positive correlations were found between educational spending, total spending (percentage of gross domestic product), spending per student (percentage of GDP per capita) and teacher salary, and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test scores. Outside the U.S., national intelligence quotients (IQ) also positively correlated with spending; but, similar to the U.S., a significant correlation was observed between percentage of white- Caucasian students and test scores and a negative correlation was found between percentage of non-Caucasian, non-East Asian 'other' races and test scores. The magnitude of the correlations between race and PISA tests scores was either equal to or greater than the correlations between spending and PISA scores. The current results suggest that increased spending will not increase cognitive ability across all racial groups.

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