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Dimming down: How the brainpower of today’s 14-year-olds has slipped ‘radically’ in just one generation

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Laura Clark
UK Daily Mail
Monday, Oct 27, 2008

Bright teenagers are a disappearing breed, an alarming new study has revealed.

The intellectual ability of the country’s cleverest youngsters has declined radically, almost certainly due to the rise of TV and computer games and over-testing in schools.

The ‘high-level thinking’ skills of 14-year-olds are now on a par with those of 12-year-olds in 1976.

The findings contradict national results which have shown a growth in top grades in SATs at 14, GCSEs and A-levels.

(Article continues below)

Dimming down: How the brainpower of todays 14 year olds has slipped radically in just one generation  161008pptv1

But Michael Shayer, the professor of applied psychology who led the study, believes that is the result of exam standards ‘edging down’.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

His team of researchers at London’s King’s College tested 800 13 and 14-year-olds and compared the results with a similar exercise in 1976.

The tests were intended to measure understanding of abstract scientific concepts such as volume, density, quantity and weight, which set pupils up for success not only in maths and science but also in English and history.

One test asked pupils to study a pendulum swinging on a string and investigate the factors that cause it to change speed. A second involved weights on a beam.

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This article was posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 at 4:49 am





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