The gap in IQ scores between black and white Americans has narrowed by at least a quarter since 1972, a pair of researchers contend in a paper that attempts to skewer the argument that intelligence is a mostly inherited trait.
Researchers William T. Dickens, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, and James R. Flynn, a professor of political studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, analyzed 30 years of test-score data from four commonly used intelligence tests.
From 1972 to 2002, they found, IQ scores rose for all groups, but scores for African-Americans rose faster. They gained 5 to 6 IQ score points more than whites did—an improvement the researchers characterize as considerable.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week