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Academic Psychology Appendix:

It is your second year as an assistant professor In a prestigious psychology department. This past year you
published two unrelated empirical articles in established journals. You don't, however, believe there is yet a
research area that can be identified as your own. You believe yourself to be about as productive as others. The
feedback about your first year of teaching has been generally good. You have yet to serve on a university
committee. There is one graduate student who has chosen to work with you. You have no external source of
funding, nor have you applied for any.
Your goals are to become one of the top people in your field and to get tenure in your department. The
following is a list of things you are considering doing in the next two months. You obviously cannot do them ail.
Rate the importance of each by its priority as a means of reaching your goals.

Improve the quality of your teaching.


Write a grant proposal.
Begin a long-term research project that may lead to a major theoretical article.
Concentrate on recruiting more students.
Begin several related short-term research projects, each of which may lead to an
empirical article.
Participate in a series of panel discussions to be shown on the local public television
station.

College Student Life


You are enrolled in a large introductory lecture course. Requirements consist of 3 exams and a final. Please
indicate how characteristic it would be of your behavior to spend time doing each of the following if your goal
were to receive an A in the course.

^ _ _ _ Attend class regularly.


Attend optional weekly review sections with the teaching fellow.
Read assigned text chapters thoroughly.
^ Take comprehensive class notes.
Speak with the professor after class and during office hours.

be engineers and doctors rather than


police officers and meat cutters. But
cognitive intelligence is by no
means the best predictor of occupa-
Intelligence Is Not the tional status. Family advantage is, as
Best Predictor of job Performance jencks'' has conclusively demon-
strated in a review of a number of
David C. McClelland
David McClelland is Professor
Emeritus of Psychology, Harvard
Ree and Earles^ are wrong in im- By job incumbency, they mean oc- University, and Distinguished Re-
plying that cognitive ability as mea- cupational status, and they repeat search Professor of Psychology,
sured by typical intelligence tests is unthinkingly the classic assertion Boston University. Address corre-
spondence to David McClelland,
the best predictor of job incum- commonly made by testers*^ that su-
47 Somerset Rd., Lexington, MA
bency, which they consider "a mea- perior intelligence is responsible for
02173.
sure of level of job performance." the fact that some people turn out to

Copyright 1993 American Pwctioloyical Society


large studies that included controls that the correlations are about .20 seems likely that the achievement
for measured intelligence. Intelli- for similar jobs. motive is a much better predictor of
gence was not oven unequivocally The second Haw lies in the fact entrepreneurial success than is intei-
the second best predictor: Noncog- that to be certain cognitive abilities igence.'' Ree and Earles may have
nitive adolescent traits "explained at are responsible for better on-the-job been primarily interested in showing
least as much of the variance in performance, one must report corre- that general ability tests predict
men's status and earnings as test lations with job performance of school performance better than spe-
scores did" (p. 230). other variables, such as sex, race, cial aptitude tests do, but the title
The evidence Ree and Earies In- education, social class, and noncog- they, the editor, and reviewers ac-
troduce in their article to show that nitive traits. Being white, male, bet- cepted for their article has much
cognitive ability best predicts perfor- ter educated, and from an advan- broader and largely incorrect impli-
mance within a job classification is taged background often correlate cations. Like so many testers, they
flawed on two counts. Cognitive with better job performance, partic- ignore the social factors that contrib-
ability test scores are the best predic- ularly as measured by a supervisor's ute to job performance and to the
tor of academic performance ratings. Any of these correlations, all relationship between intelligence
except probably in schools for the ofwhich are unreported by Ree and and job performance.
performing arts. The first flaw is that Earies, may predict job performance
the validity coefficients reported by better than intelligence. And corre-
Notes
Ree and Earles all involve academic lation does not equal causation:
performanceeven those that mea- Both intelligence and job perfor- 1 M,], Ri'c iTiid |.A Larlrs. Inteiligcnct' .s iho
i)i"it predictor ol |<>b prriorm.ini i\ Cvrrfj::! l)irc<
sure other aspects of "hands-on" mance may be a function of a third Von-, j n P'-vi.hulai'.ii al '-i.ierK.v. I. 'Ab-m '.Vi'il!.

performance. Knowing how t(j do variable, like education, such that 2. Sot' L.K. CJhi'iiiHIi, The V.iluiily oi Ocu/i.i-
baiml Apiilurle Ti-Ms (Wilev. \ t ' w York, 19bhl.
something and doing it well on the when this third variable's infiuence i. ( . lencks. Who (k'b Abcdd-' Ihc Delenni
job are different and not even highly is partialed out, intelligence no ndiijs o( 1 ( onomir bu: (i'-.^ in Amcru .1 iBa^if. Bouks,
\ e w York, 1979)
correlated. Ree and Earles do not longer predicts job performance. 4 Sect L Schmidl, l-t" Hunter, ,ind |.R. Cap-
cite the correlations of test scores to Noninteliectual traits like motiva- Ian, Validity generali/^ation re^ulfs icir two job
groups in the petroleum miiu'^try, /ourna/ 0/ Applies!
purer measures of on-the-job perfor- tion may also be much better predic- P'.ycholoay. hb, 261-273 (19811.
mance like supervisory ratings, but tors of job performance than cogni- i . n,C, MiC'.k'lland, Ci>tir.\c U'nitics of ut ct".s-
ful entrepreneurs, Iht.- jouinji oi i redtiv(- Bfhdvioi,
other investigators'* have reported tive abilities are. For example, it 21, 2]y-253 (1987).

the children of the poor. Current


U.S. policy aims to ensure success
for all students, especially the chil-
dren of the poor. This policy reflects
Paper, Pencil, Potential, and Performance both idealism and pragmatism; our
Robert Calfee nation values equity, but the large
proportion of poor children means
that we also have a practical need.
Educators view intelligence as a
In a Sidney Harris cartoon, an el- chief is right in identifying intel-
unidimensionai factor that can and
egantly attired African chieftain re- ligence with multiple facets of hu-
should be used to shape curriculum
bukes a visiting scholar, "You can't man potential, contrary to the "g-
buiid a hut, you don't know how to ocentric" view.
find edible roots, you know nothing My research^ takes me into
about predicting weather-you do schools-into the trenches, into the Robert Calfee is an experimental
terribly on our IQ test." The chiefs arena where intelligence testing got cognitive psychologist who con-
assessment points up the importance its start when Binet developed meth- ducts research on the acquisition
of context in intelligence. I was sur- ods for selecting students who and assessment of critical literacy.
prised earlier this year when I read would prosper in the Paris schools of Address correspondence to Robert
articles by Ree and Earles^ and the 19th century. The policy then Calfee, School of Education, Stan-
Schmidt and Hunter.^ Like Sternberg ford University, Stanford, CA
was to select the cream of the crop,
94305-3096.
and Wagner (this issue), I think the without any premium on educating

by C ambrJdfic Universitv Press