What is it about?
Lewis Terman is widely seen as the father of gifted education and a pioneer in intelligence testing. But his work is sometimes viewed as controversial today. In this article, I examine his scholarly writings and show that traditional criticisms--that he was racist, over-obsessed with IQ, or ignorant of environmental influences on intelligence--are oversimplified. On the other hand, critics have generally overlooked his tendency to form strong opinions on the basis of weak data. I also discuss his Genetic Studies of Genius at length.
Photo by João Silas on Unsplash
Why is it important?
It is impossible to overstate the importance of Lewis Terman to gifted education. However, in recent decades many people have criticized his work and tried to minimize his influence. I show in this article that many of his ideas--though not always based on the best data at the time--are actually scientifically supported today. I also explore the strengths and flaws of his famous longitudinal study, the Genetic Studies of Genius.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: An Evaluation (and Vindication?) of Lewis Terman: What the Father of Gifted Education Can Teach the 21st Century, Gifted Child Quarterly, October 2018, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0016986218799433.
You can read the full text:
Word cloud illustrating the most common words in the article.
Study using the Terman longitudinal data
Open access study on the income differences between grade skippers and non-grade skippers in Terman's Genetic Studies of Genius.
Article on the importance of intelligence in gifted education
This is a theoretical article arguing that the construct of intelligence should have a more prominent place in gifted education.
Blog post by Emil Kirkegaard disputing some of my interpretations of Terman's opinions about heritability. Kirkegaard is correct about the data that existed when Terman formed his beliefs, but I think that strong data at the time was still wanting. Kirkegaard has a reasonable argument, though, and I recommend that people investigate his opinion.
My 4-minute video summarizing the article.
Simulation study on Terman's likelihood of identifying future Nobelists
This is a follow-up study to Warne's (2019, p. 16) claims about Terman being unlikely to identify future Nobelists. The follow-up study uses simulation data to show that Terman always had a low probability of identifying future Nobelists, though my earlier belief that test score reliability would be an important influence was not supported.
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