IQ Predicts Academic Achievement


The impact of IQ level on educational achievement can be understood in terms of a useful statistic called a correlation (r) -a measure from 0 to 1.0 of the ‘link’ or strength of a relationship between two variables – e.g. IQ level and combined SAT score. A correlation of r = 0 means there is no link. If the correlation between IQ and SAT was zero, it would mean that knowing someone’s IQ would give you no clue as to how well they will do on their SATs – the one doesn’t predict the other. This scenario can be seen in the left plot below. Each point in this imaginary case is an individual’s scores on IQ and SAT combined. A correlation of >.50 is considered a moderate to strong link. A correlation of r > .70 is considered very strong. Knowing a person’s IQ with a correlation this strong would strongly predict how they will do on their SATs. This kind of relationship is shown on the right plot below.



There are correlations between IQ level every key measure of educational & academic achievement.


What is the correlation between IQ and GPA scores and SAT scores?

Let’s look at a recent study by Treena Rohde and Lee Anne Thompson that examines this relationship directly. They used different IQ tests for the two main factors of intelligence: (1) Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) which is a very good measure of ‘fluid intelligence’ – our problem solving ability in novel situations, and (2) the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scales which is a good measure of crystallized intelligence – our verbal intelligence. The correlations they found between these two IQ tests and GPA and SAT scores is shown here:


iq and academic achievement

While many factors besides fluid and crystallized intelligence influence broad areas of academic achievement, fluid and crystallized intelligence are by far the most predictive of academic achievement.


The link between fluid intelligence, SAT scores and GPA

While the link between crystallized intelligence and SAT combined scores is obviously very striking, crystallized intelligence is not significantly linked to GPA. And we are more interested here in the link between fluid intelligence and SAT and GPA, since our HighIQPro training causes fluid intelligence to improve substantially.  The correlation of SAT combined performance and fluid intelligence is close to 0.40 for both SAT combined and GPA. Here is a plot that shows what this degree of correlation looks like – you can see there is quite a close link. If you know that someone has a certain Gf score, you know they are likely to do better in their SAT score and their GPA.

iq predicts academic

This data suggests that if you can improve your fluid intelligence , this will translate  into higher SAT scores. Or put it another way, if you could supplement your SAT practice question training with one other type of preparation, improving your fluid intelligence through HighIQPro working memory training would be a recommended strategy.



Treena Eileen Rohde, Lee Anne Thompson, Predicting academic achievement with cognitive ability, Intelligence, Volume 35, Issue 1, January-February 2007, Pages 83-92


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