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Does Science Say Smart People Are


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Dr. KH Kim

ByDr.KHKim|Oct17,2016
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Dr.KimisaprofessorofInnovation&
CreativityattheCollegeofWilliam&
Mary.Sheistheauthorof"The
CreativityChallenge:HowWeCan
RecaptureAmericanInnovation,"
whichwas...
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Synopsis
WhenImovedtoAmerica,Iwashappythatmychildrenwouldnot
experiencethe"examhell"thatAsianchildrenendure.Alas,theyhadto
experiencestandardizedtesting"nightmares"becauseoftheNoChildLeft
BehindAct(NCLB).TheintentionbehindNCLBwastomakeallchildren
smart,butinstead,itleftnochildahead,curious,orcreative.Itresultedin
smarttesttakingskills,notworthwhileskills.Collegesandgraduateschools
increasinglyadmitsmarttesttakers,leavingfutureinnovatorsbehind.

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Meanwhile,testingcompaniesincreasinglygetricher.

SchoolsuseIQscoresandstandardizedtestscores(whichalsocorrelatetoIQs)to

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identifygiftedchildren,favoringacademicachieversandteacherpleasers.This
identificationsystemeliminates70to80percentofthetopcreativechildren,whotend
tobenonconformistsbutarepotentialinnovators.IQscoresarealsooftenusedto
predictfuturepotential,butthisprocessalsoeliminatesmostfutureinnovators,
includingNobelPrizewinnerssuchasWilliamShockleyandLuisAlvarez.
ManypeoplebelievethatIQandcreativityaresynonymous.Manyscholars,for
example,believeinthethresholdtheory,whichsuggeststhatonlythesmartest

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peoplelessthantop10percentofthepopulation,withanIQabove120canbe

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creative.Thisassertion,however,isnotsupportedbymyresearch.Instead,Ihave
discoveredthefollowingsurprisingresults:
Get in Shape

1.MetaanalyticstudiesshowthatIQandcreativityareweaklyrelatedatanylevel,

OCTOBER13,2016

suggestingthethresholddoesnotexist.Also,IQdatafrom108countriesshowthat
highnationalIQscorrelatetohighinternationaltestscoresbutnottoahighnumberof
innovators.

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2.ManyofthegreatestinnovatorsinhistorydidnothavehighIQs.Infact,innovators

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whoearnedlowgradesinschoolachievedmorerevolutionaryinnovationthanthose
whoearnedhighgrades.

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3.AmericansIQsandstandardizedtestscoreshavesteadilyincreasedovertime,but
since1990theircreativity,especiallychildrenscreativity,hasdecreased.This
divergencewouldnotoccurifIQandcreativityweresynonymous.
4.PeoplewithhighIQsexhibitadequateinboxthinking,buttheyareoftenconformists
whoexhibitinadequateoutboxthinking.Creativityismakingsomethinguniqueand
useful,thereforeoutboxthinkingisnecessaryforuniqueideas(inadditiontoinbox
thinkingforusefulideas).
5.Acreationmustbepromotedtoberecognizedasaninnovationbysociety,and
peoplewithhighIQsfindthisendeavordifficult.Promotionrequiresoutboxthinkingto
developauniquewaytoattractattention.Italsorequiresunderstandingothers
emotions(includingtheirwantsandneeds)andcommunicatingfeaturesandbenefits

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ofthecreationinaclearandmeaningfulwaythishelpsothersreadilyrecognizethe
valueofthecreation.
6.InsteadofemphasizinghighIQsorotherstandardizedtestscores,theaimshould
betodevelopchildren'ssubjectofCuriosity,Preference,orInterest(CPI)subject
areasthatinspirecuriosity,preference,orenjoymentasearlyaspossible.Children

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shouldthenbeencouragedtodevelopexpertiseintheirCPI(athoroughmasteryof

September,2016

knowledgeandskillsofaspecificsubject).Thefoundationofcreativethinking

August,2016

requiresdevelopingexpertiseforatleast10yearsinone'ssubjectofCPI.
SinceNCLBwaspassed,schoolshaveincreasinglycreatedstandardizedtesting
nightmaresbroughtonbystatemandatedtests.TheEveryStudentSucceedsAct
(ESSA)thatwasrecentlypassedalsorequiresmandatorystatetesting.TheseActs
havebeensuccessfulinproducingsmarttesttakersratherthansmartchildren
whilesquashingtheircuriosity.Furthermore,collegeandgraduateschooladmission
proceduresworsenstudents'nightmaresbyheavilyrelyingonstandardizedtestssuch
astheSAT,ACT,GRE,GMAT,MCAT,andLSAT.Theseexamsreinforcestudents'
testtakingskillsbyselectingsmarttesttakers,insteadoffutureinnovators.Addingto
theproblem,thesetestsmeasurestudentslowerorderthinkingskillssuchas
memorizationandcomprehension.Althoughmemorizationandcomprehensionskills
arenecessaryfordevelopinginitialexpertiseinstudents'CPI,furtherdevelopment
requiresapplicationskillssothatstudentscanapplylearnedmaterialstoneworreal
worldsituationsandsolvethemappropriately.Mostoftheaforementionedtestsdonot
measureapplicationskills.Furthermore,standardizedtestingnightmaresstifle
students'higherorderinboxthinking(criticalthinking)andoutboxandnewbox

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thinking.Studentsareconditionedtopicktherightanswer,insteadofexploringall
anglesofafutureproblemtosolveit.
Themorehighlyselectivecollegesare,themoretheyaredependentonstudentstest
scoresintheiradmissiondecision.However,students'scoreshighlycorrelatetotheir
IQandtheirfamilyincome,whichisdisadvantageoustostudentsfromlowerincome
backgrounds.Higherincomefamilieshavethemoneytopayformultipletesttaking
sessions,expensivecollegeprephighschools,andtestprepclassesortutoring.
Americanparentspaytestingcompanieshundredsofmillionsofdollarsfortestsand
testprepmaterialseachyear.TestingcompaniessuchastheEducationalTesting
Service(ETS),theCollegeBoard,andtheACT,Inc.havereapedenormousfinancial
benefitsfromthestandardizedtestingnightmares.Manytopexecutivesofthese
companiesmakemoremoneythanthepresidentsofmanyprestigiousuniversitiesdo,
andthecompaniesdonothavetopayfederaltaxesbecausetheyarenonprofit
organizations.
Insteadofhelpingtestingcompaniesgetincreasinglyricher,Americashouldinvest
moneyindevelopingchildrensCPIandcorrespondingexpertiseasearlyaspossible,
alongwiththepromotionofoutboxthinkingskills.Allchildrenareborncuriousand
withnaturaloutboxthinkingskills.Priorto1990,Americanparentsandeducators
providedchildrenwithopportunitiestoexerciseoutboxthinkingskills,theexploration
ofCPI,andvariouscareeravenuesforcreativitydevelopment.Itwasunderstoodthat
notallanswerscanbefoundonstandardizedtests.Americacultivatedthe4S(soil,
sun,storm,andspace)climatesforchildren,whichnurturedtheir4Sattitudes.
Americaproducedresourcefulcrosspollinators(inthesoilclimate),curiousoptimists
(inthesunclimate),resilienthardworkers(inthestormclimate),anddefiantdreamers
(inthespaceclimate)whoappliedIONthinkingskillsforinnovation.Thedefiantspirit
whichisreflectedinneithertesttakingskillsnorIQsiswhatresultedin
generationsofAmericaninnovators,scientificdiscoveryandinvention,technology,
business,entrepreneurship,sports,leadership,education,andthearts.
Parentsandeducatorsmustcultivatethe4Sclimatesforallchildren,notjustfor
academicachieversorteacherpleasers,torecapturetheinnovationthatisbeing
testedoutofthem.Discoverhowtocultivatethe4Sclimatesnurturethe4SAttitudes
andapplyIONthinkingskillsinTheCreativityChallenge:HowWeCanRecapture
AmericanInnovation.
(ThisarticleisanexcerptoftheChapter1ofthebook,TheCreativityChallenge:How
WeCanRecaptureAmericanInnovation,whichisasynthesisofresearchfindings
notapersonalopinionandalloftheoriginalsourcesarefoundinthebook.)

Visittheauthor'swebsite,followKHKimonTwitter,andjointheconversation
onFacebook.

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KH Kim - The Creativity Challenge/...

KH Kim: Crisis in creativity

Tags:act,americaneducation,andnewboxthinking,asianeducation,creativeattitudes,creativeclimates,
creativethinking,creativethinkingskills,curiosity,disadvantagedstudents,essa,everystudentsucceedsact,
examhell,gmat,gre,inbox,innovation,innovator,lsat,mact,nclb,nochildbehind,outbox,sat,standardizedtest,
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Jointhediscussion
Sandhya(Sandy) 17daysago

"Studentsareconditionedtopicktherightanswerinsteadofexploringafuture
problemandsolvingit',particularlyringstruetomeinthebusiness/corp
environment.Atendencytoreducerisk(e.g.beingfired)soherdsformaroundan
acceptedoutboxresultdrivenbygroupthink,wisdomofthecrowdsoranexternal
consultancy.

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