Misunderstanding methods and results?

This week, Norwegian newspapers have written much about a study claiming that the IQ levels of teachers have dropped from a 7,3 to a 6,2 on a scale from one to ten. Reading the headlines that seems dramatic. And then.. I glanced at the method the authors of the study had used..

To study the IQ points, the authors had picked objects that had been to the physical and phyciatric examination involved when entering the military who ended up as teachers. Now, during the years more girls attend these examinations (true), but the vast majority of these objects are still male. How many men work in primary school in Norway? Not that many.. The authors state that they “have reason to belive that the trend applies for women as well”. Maybe that is right (maybe this whole study is “right” for all I know), but “believing” has nothing to do with science.

Now, of course.. if our teachers appear to become “dumber” then that is a problem, and I do not disagree with the general summary, that the most talented, clever teachers choose to do something else because of the size of the paycheck they can get in schools, but it seems a little to simple for me. What about what we ask the teachers to do? How do they spend their time? I do not pretend to be a scientist, so I can therefore only say that I have it on good authority that what the teachers do nowadays is trying to keep some sort of order, deal with all the diagnosed kids (ADD, Autists etc.) and trying to tie shoes and get everyone dressed for recess. Now that seems a good reason for not becoming a teacher, if you ask me.

Studies like this, that gets more attention then they are worth annoys me. Much ado about nothing.

One thought on “Misunderstanding methods and results?

  1. Simen Spurkland says:

    It’s liberating and fullfilling when someone can set things straight based on knowledge and a clear mind. I’m a teacher and love mye job, but I get sad everytime things like this happens.
    I can put on my cloak of confidence and tell myself that this doesn’t apply for every teacher – but the general public…
    Thank you!


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