Is there a correlation between cognitive skills and academic performance when it comes to standardized test scores? Yes, says a study by John Gabrieli at MIT, published in the journal Psychological Science. Cognitive skills can indeed predict academic performance; however, regarding efforts to boost students’ scores in standardized tests, schools may not be making the direct connection between these two qualities.
The above piece describes how Gabrieli and his team conducted their investigation on whether increased test scores were associated with improved fluid intelligence, which can be measured in terms of cognitive skills such as working memory, processing rate, and the ability to reason abstractly. (Standardized tests, on the other hand, measure crystallized intelligence, or students’ ability to apply the knowledge and skills they have been taught.)
The researchers specifically looked at standardized achievement test scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to measure cognitive skills in a sample of 1,367 students in the 8th grade (equivalent to Year 9). The kids were from traditional, exam, and charter public schools. They compared results from schools with test score increases to schools without increases, and found that fluid intelligence demonstrated no correlation with the school attended, and that students’ cognitive skills did not increase along with test scores.
Meanwhile, the research results offer food for thought, which is of special interest to critics of standardized testing who question whether abilities and qualities not measured by these tests – such as solving novel problems, a cognitive skill – are likely to be as, or more, important in the long run.
While we cannot predict whether our children will have what it takes to perform well at work and handle adult responsibilities in an increasingly complex world, test scores remain a measure of success in schools.
Some researchers, including Gabrieli, surmise that mainstream educators should hone in on fluid intelligence, seeking ways to enhance students’ cognitive abilities. The boost in test scores would ensue, and students would also gain lasting real-world advantages.
Based in Bangkok, BrainFit also subscribes to this belief. The company helps build cognitive skills, including working memory, attention, and processing rate, as well as boost reading and language skills in children and teens. For more information, please contact www.brainfitstudiothailand.com.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored content from BrainFit Studio Bangkok.