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IQ Tests in Research on Social Stratification: The Cross-Class Validity of the Tests as Measures of Scholastic Aptitude

Stanley S. Guterman
Sociology of Education
Vol. 52, No. 3 (Jul., 1979), pp. 163-173
DOI: 10.2307/2112322
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112322
Page Count: 11
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IQ Tests in Research on Social Stratification: The Cross-Class Validity of the Tests as Measures of Scholastic Aptitude
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Abstract

IQ has come to play an important role in sociological research on stratification. Studies have shown that parental socioeconomic status is modestly related to children's IQ, which, in turn, strongly influences the socioeconomic status attained by the children when they become adults. These studies, however, are open to challenge because they assume that IQ tests are equally valid within different social class categories--an assumption that is debatable. The purpose of this paper is to examine the soundness of this assumption. It critically reviews the major arguments offered by those who reject the assumption and contends that these arguments are fallacious. The paper then presents regression analyses bearing on the construct validity of an IQ measure, the Quick Test, within different social class categories. The data come from a national probability sample of 2,213 tenth grade boys. These data support the hypothesis that the Quick Test is equally valid within the different socioeconomic categories. In conclusion, it seems legitimate for sociologists to use IQ tests in research on stratification.

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