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Intelligence and Education: The Saudi Case

Adel A. Batterjee


Published: 2011/12/01


Measures of formal schooling are closely related to cognitive ability. Other socioeconomic factors also influence individual and national IQ, and the differences between nations in wealth, health, technological innovation, attitudes and values, economic development and political maturity are correlated with differences in the average IQ of the population. Using results from the application of the Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) to a sample from the Saudi general education system (N= 3209), the mean IQ for Saudi Arabia is calculated to be 80.6 ± 11.1 according to British norms. The results of this study are compared with those of an earlier study in Saudi Arabia (Abu Hatab et al., 1977). This comparison shows IQ gains (“Flynn effects”) for many of the younger, but not the oldest age groups. Analysis of IQ differences between public and private schools, and comparison of different age groups, indicate that children who are educated in the public school system of Saudi Arabia show an age-related IQ decline relative to children in Britain and the United States, on whom the SPM test was normed for different age groups. The study also shows that the better performance of females, combined with a significant effect of mothers' education on children's IQ, could strengthen the role of females in the society in the near future.

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