LONDON: The number of exceptionally bright teenagers is significantly
lower than a generation ago, a new study claims.
The most intelligent 14-year-old in 2008 is now only on par with the brightest 12-year-old in 1976, according to the findings. Researchers at King’s College, London, asked 800 children aged 13 and 14 to take a series of tests which measured their
understanding of abstract scientific concepts such as volume, density, quantity and weight.
The results were compared with a similar exercise in 1976. In a test known as the pendulum test just over 1 in 10 were found to have reached top grades which demanded a ‘higher level of thinking’, a significant drop from the 1976 result of 1 in 4.
Professor Michael Shayar, who led the study, believes that the decline in brainpower has happened over the last 10 to 15 years and could be a result of national curriculum targets which drill children for tests as well as changes in children’s leisure activities, such as increase in computer games and television watching.
6 months ago