'Separating children according to perceived academic talent won't address the inequalities in education'

Comprehensives are not filled with less able or talented children – the only advantage grammar school pupils have is that those around them believe they are special.

 

In the summer of 1964, psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson visited a primary school in San Francisco to perform an IQ test on pupils. Teachers and parents were told that the test was designed to identify children who would perform particularly well academically over the coming years – so-called "academic bloomers".

 

After analysing the results of the test, Professor Rosenthal and Ms Jacobson acknowledged a handful of these "academic bloomers" and went on their way.

 

In the autumn, the class was assigned a new teacher: one who did not know the pupils personally, but was aware who had been given the academic bloomer label. Professor Rosenthal and Ms Jacobson returned the following summer with another IQ test. As predicted, the academic bloomers had outscored their peers by between 10-15 IQ points.

 

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