Social mobility | influence of intelligence and education

Influence of intelligence and education

Social status attainment and therefore social mobility in adulthood are of interest to psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, epidemiologists and many more. The reason behind the interest is because it indicates access to material goods, educational opportunities, healthy environments, and nonetheless the economic growth.[41][42][43][44][45][46]

Researchers did a study that encompassed a wide range of data of individuals in lifetime (in childhood and during mid-adulthood). Most of the Scottish children which were born in 1921 participated in the Scottish Mental Survey 1932, which was conducted under the auspices of the Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE)[47] and obtained the data of psychometric intelligence of Scottish pupils. The number of children who took the mental ability test (based on the Moray House tests) was 87,498. They were between age 10 and 11. The tests covered general, spatial and numerical reasoning.[41][42]

At mid-life period, a subset of the subjects participated in one of the studies, which were large health studies of adults and were carried out in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s.[41] The particular study they took part in was the collaborative study of 6022 men and 1006 women, conducted between 1970 and 1973 in Scotland. Participants completed a questionnaire (participant's address, father's occupation, the participant's own first regular occupation, the age of finishing full-time education, number of siblings, and if the participant was a regular car driver) and attended a physical examination (measurement of height). Social class was coded according to the Registrar General's Classification for the participant's occupation at the time of screening, his first occupation and his father's occupation. Researchers separated into six social classes were used.[48]

A correlation and structural equation model analysis was conducted.[41] In the structural equation models, social status in the 1970s was the main outcome variable. The main contributors to education (and first social class) were father's social class and IQ at age 11, which was also found in a Scandinavian study.[49] This effect was direct and also mediated via education and the participant's first job.[41]

Participants at midlife did not necessarily end up in the same social class as their fathers.[41] There was social mobility in the sample: 45% of men were upwardly mobile, 14% were downward mobile and 41% were socially stable. IQ at age 11 had a graded relationship with participant's social class. The same effect was seen for father's occupation. Men at midlife social class I and II (the highest, more professional) also had the highest IQ at age 11. Height at midlife, years of education and childhood IQ were significantly positively related to upward social mobility, while number of siblings had no significant effect. For each standard deviation increase in IQ score at the age 11, the chances of upward social mobility increases by 69% (with a 95% confidence). After controlling the effect of independent variables, only IQ at age 11 was significantly inversely related to downward movement in social mobility. More years of education increase the chance that a father's son will surpass his social class, whereas low IQ makes a father's son prone to falling behind his father's social class.

Structural equation model of the direct and indirect influence of childhood position and IQ upon social status attainment at mid-life.All parameters significant (p<.05)[41]

Higher IQ at age 11 was also significantly related to higher social class at midlife, higher likelihood car driving at midlife, higher first social class, higher father's social class, fewer siblings, higher age of education, being taller and living in a less deprived neighbourhood at midlife.[41] IQ was significantly more strongly related to the social class in midlife than the social class of the first job.

Finally, height, education and IQ at age 11 were predictors of upward social mobility and only IQ at age 11 and height were significant predictors of downward social mobility.[41] Number of siblings was not significant in neither of the models.

Another research[43] looked into the pivotal role of education in association between ability and social class attainment through three generations (fathers, participants and offspring) using the SMS1932[42] (Lothian Birth Cohort 1921) educational data, childhood ability and late life intellectual function data. It was proposed that social class of origin acts as a ballast[43] restraining otherwise meritocratic social class movement, and that education is the primary means through which social class movement is both restrained and facilitated—therefore acting in a pivotal role.

It was found that social class of origin predicts educational attainment in both the participant's and offspring generations.[43] Father's social class and participant's social class held the same importance in predicting offspring educational attainment—effect across two generations. Educational attainment mediated the association of social class attainments across generations (father's and participants social class, participant's and offspring's social class). There was no direct link social classes across generations, but in each generation educational attainment was a predictor of social class, which is consistent with other studies.[50][51] Also, participant's childhood ability moderately predicted their educational and social class attainment (.31 and .38). Participant's educational attainment was strongly linked with the odds of moving downward or upward on the social class ladder. For each SD increase in education, the odds of moving upward on the social class spectrum were 2.58 times greater (the downward ones were .26 times greater). Offspring's educational attainment was also strongly linked with the odds of moving upward or downward on the social class ladder. For each SD increase in education, the odds of moving upward were 3.54 times greater (the downward ones were .40 times greater). In conclusion, education is very important, because it is the fundamental mechanism functioning both to hold individuals in their social class of origin and to make it possible for their movement upward or downward on the social class ladder.[43]

In the Cohort 1936 it was found that regarding whole generations (not individuals)[44] the social mobility between father's and participant's generation is: 50.7% of the participant generation have moved upward in relation to their fathers, 22.1% had moved downwards, and 27.2% had remained stable in their social class. There was a lack of social mobility in the offspring generation as a whole. However, there was definitely individual offspring movement on the social class ladder: 31.4% had higher social class attainment than their participant parents (grandparents), 33.7% moved downward, and 33.9% stayed stable. Participant's childhood mental ability was linked to social class in all three generations. A very important pattern has also been confirmed: average years of education increased with social class and IQ.

There were some great contributors to social class attainment and social class mobility in the twentieth century: Both social class attainment and social mobility are influenced by pre-existing levels of mental ability,[44] which was in consistence with other studies.[50][52][53][54] So, the role of individual level mental ability in pursuit of educational attainment—professional positions require specific educational credentials. Furthermore, educational attainment contributes to social class attainment through the contribution of mental ability to educational attainment. Even further, mental ability can contribute to social class attainment independent of actual educational attainment, as in when the educational attainment is prevented, individuals with higher mental ability manage to make use of the mental ability to work their way up on the social ladder. This study made clear that intergenerational transmission of educational attainment is one of the key ways in which social class was maintained within family, and there was also evidence that education attainment was increasing over time. Finally, the results suggest that social mobility (moving upward and downward) has increased in recent years in Britain. Which according to one researcher is important because an overall mobility of about 22% is needed to keep the distribution of intelligence relatively constant from one generation to the other within each occupational category.[54]

Researchers looked into the effects elitist and non-elitist education systems have on social mobility. Education policies are often critiqued based on their impact on a single generation, but it is important to look at education policies and the effects they have on social mobility. In the research, elitist schools are defined as schools that focus on providing its best students with the tools to succeed, whereas an egalitarian school is one that predicates itself on giving equal opportunity to all its students to achieve academic success.[55]

When private education supplements were not considered, it was found that the greatest amount of social mobility was derived from a system with the least elitist public education system. It was also discovered that the system with the most elitist policies produced the greatest amount of utilitarian welfare. Logically, social mobility decreases with more elitist education systems and utilitarian welfare decreases with less elitist public education policies.[55]

When private education supplements are introduced, it becomes clear that some elitist policies promote some social mobility and that an egalitarian system is the most successful at creating the maximum amount of welfare. These discoveries were justified from the reasoning that elitist education systems discourage skilled workers from supplementing their children's educations with private expenditures.[55]

The authors of the report showed that they can challenge conventional beliefs that elitist and regressive educational policy is the ideal system. This is explained as the researchers found that education has multiple benefits. It brings more productivity and has a value, which was a new thought for education. This shows that the arguments for the regressive model should not be without qualifications. Furthermore, in the elitist system, the effect of earnings distribution on growth is negatively impacted due to the polarizing social class structure with individuals at the top with all the capital and individuals at the bottom with nothing.[55]

Education is very important in determining the outcome of one's future. It is almost impossible to achieve upward mobility without education. Education is frequently seen as a strong driver of social mobility.[56] The quality of one's education varies depending on the social class that they are in. The higher the family income the better opportunities one is given to get a good education. The inequality in education makes it harder for low-income families to achieve social mobility. Research has indicated that inequality is connected to the deficiency of social mobility. In a period of growing inequality and low social mobility, fixing the quality of and access to education has the possibility to increase equality of opportunity for all Americans.[57]

"One significant consequence of growing income inequality is that, by historical standards, high-income households are spending much more on their children's education than low-income households."[57] With the lack of total income, low-income families can't afford to spend money on their children's education. Research has shown that over the past few years, families with high income has increased their spending on their children's education. High income families were paying $3,500 per year and now it has increased up to nearly $9,000, which is seven times more than what low income families pay for their kids' education.[57] The increase in money spent on education has caused an increase in college graduation rates for the families with high income. The increase in graduation rates is causing an even bigger gap between high income children and low-income children. Given the significance of a college degree in today's labor market, rising differences in college completion signify rising differences in outcomes in the future.[57]

Family income is one of the most important factors in determining the mental ability(intelligence) of their children. With such bad education that urban school are offering, parents of high income are moving out of these areas to give their children a better opportunity to succeed. As urban school systems worsen, high income families move to rich suburbs because that is where they feel better education is; if they do stay in the city, they put their children to private schools.[58] Low income families don't have a choice but to settle for the bad education because they cannot afford to relocate to rich suburbs. The more money and time parents invest in their child plays a huge role in determining their success in school. Research has showed that higher mobility levels are perceived for locations where there are better schools.[58]

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