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Only approximately 1 percent of the world's population scores a 140 or higher on IQ tests.  (Source: Talking Rainbow)
Says lower IQ rates will help it deal with smaller U.S. talent pool

The U.S. has arguably been the most desirable place in the world to get a college education with international students from China, India, Japan, and others all traveling to the U.S. with that express purpose.  However, there's serious signs of trouble; U.S. citizens' college graduation rates are in danger of falling behind China.  Japanese enrollment is down as U.S. universities are slowly falling out of favor.  And at least one executive of an Indian firm complained that American graduates were "unemployable".

Adding to the list of awkward statistics is a recent announcement by Bleum Inc., a Chinese outsourcing company.  In China, with a deluge of available highly-intelligent graduates, Bleum Inc. requires that its workers score over 140 on an IQ test.

When it decided to recruit American computer science graduates, though, it decided that bar was way too high.  It dropped the requirement for the Americans down to 120, a move it says reflects a lower pool of talented college grads in the U.S.

Bleum says the move is meant as no affront to the U.S.  Its founder and CEO Eric Rongley is actually an American himself.  He says that in China his firm gets thousands of applications a week from eager college grads.  With about 1,000 employees, his firm hires less than 1 percent of those who apply.  He states, "It is much harder to get into Bleum than it is to Harvard."

Rongley has been targeting U.S. college grads in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver for positions.  After passing the lower IQ test, U.S. grads must next pass a skills test -- just like their Chinese peers.  The recruiting effort has already yielded its first five employees, who just embarked to Shanghai.  They will spend a year-long stint in China and then return to the U.S.

Dennis Garlick, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of an upcoming book called 
Intelligence and the Brain, says such tests are relatively commonplace, but are a mixed bag.  He states that the difficulty arises "because an IQ test measures abstract reasoning in a general context, and on-the-job performance requires abstract reasoning in a specific context."

But he adds, "[If a candidate scores high,] you can reasonably say that the person is likely to be able to understand typical abstract concepts as they are applied in business, understand instructions, follow them, and then generalize them in a new situation."

Is it a disappointing sign that there's less American grads that meet the IQ requirements (according to Bleum) than Chinese grads?  Or is that merely a sign that few U.S. grads are interested in applying a job overseas?  Either way, Bleum's openness about its hiring policies raises interesting questions about the U.S. and graduation, in a time when that issue remains a key concern.

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US education and specialization
By DesertCat on 7/8/2010 2:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting that a company requires that their Chinese employees have a MENSA level IQ, but they can set whatever rules make them happy. I've often tried to explain to friends that an IQ score is more like a measure of somebody's mental "tool chest", that is, how many tools do they bring to a task. It is, however, what you do with those tools that really matters. Some carpenter sitting around with a large tool collection but only making basic bird houses is kind of a waste. I'd suggest that some of those 120 IQ people could be even better that the 140 IQ people so long as they are motivated and have a passion towards their work.

As far as schooling goes for high IQ people, this is an argument I've had with friends in education. There were a few teachers in my high school that made honors classes enjoyable and not simply a form of punishment for being a good student. They would also set up independent study programs and truly mentor people if they had something they wanted to pursue. My argument is that you need to allow teachers to have the time and resources to help out the smart but easily bored students. If you do not, those kids end up hating school and have to do most of their learning on their own. That can sometimes breed resentment. In the big education system, however, helping high IQ students does not really play into the numbers game. It has been shown time and time again that the most effective way to improve a school's overall report card is to focus on the low achieving students. You'll help your average a lot more that way than concentrating on the high IQ students. In terms of standardized tests, there is something of a ceiling effect going on with the high IQ students but plenty of room to improve with the poor performers. I do think the low achieving students need substantial help and it makes sense to put some resources that way, but it seems a crying shame that some of the real "talent" gets the equivalent of a hearty handshake and a "good luck" wish.

Despite all of that, it seems the U.S. still performs relatively well on producing actual practitioners of science, math, and technology. It's in the overall averages that we fall behind (as discussed in the linked article below). I think that speaks to the individualistic focus of education in the U.S.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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