IQ started as a measure of mental age. For some reason, this fell out of practice. I see two potential causes for this: first, political correctness. It’s rude to point out that the average black man has a white mental age of 12. Second, what is the mental age of a person with an IQ of 145? Since the brain finishes developing in between 14 and 16, and IQ starts decreasing with aging, it doesn’t make much sense to give the average person a mental age of 16 and a highly intelligent person a mental age of, say, 35.

That said, IQ as mental age still makes sense in some situations. Recently, some educational tracking discourse has been circulating around X.

This raises a question: how inefficient is the current egalitarian education system? How many grades could kids be skipping? This question is answerable with a few simple assumptions.

First, we assume ideal grade level is purely a function of IQ. Second, we assume a grade’s IQ level is the same as the average student currently in it. Third, we assume all kids develop their IQ at the same rate, with their starting points offset according to their deviation from the mean as adults (this is unrealistic but probably doesn’t introduce much error into the analysis).

Now, given these assumptions, we can figure out what grade a 145 IQ 4th grader should be in.

We can see here that from 12 to 15, average adult IQ goes from about 98 to about 110. In other words, it increases by 4 points per year.

If we extrapolate this slope, we can assume that the average 4th grade IQ is 8 points under the average 6th grade IQ. A 145 IQ 4th grader would be 45 points above the average. 45/4 is 11.25, so under this analysis the 4th grader could be in an arbitrarily high grade. Also, if we adjust the 15 year old mean to be 100, the mean 4th grader would have an IQ of 80. Thus, a 3SD 4th grader would have an adult IQ of 125, which is intelligent enough to do post-college work.

Just a 1 SD 4th grader, a member of the top 15%, is predicted to be able to skip 15/4 = 3.75 grades. This is roughly 8th grade level work in 4th grade. By extension, such students could begin high-school level work at the age of 11, and college-level work by the age of 15.

I have argued in my 1st book that only the top 15% or so of intellect need to attend college. This was inferred from labor statistics; only about 15% of jobs truly need a university education. By arguing that high school is redundant and worthless, I advocated that they simply skip it and begin freshman year of university at the age of 15. The analysis in this article is a nice corroboration of that idea.

This analysis also shows how extremely wasteful the current education system is. In fact, we can compute the average number of years wasted given the analysis in this article. If we just take the number of grades you can skip given your IQ and let that be how early you could have graduated school, then your years wasted is equal to the number of grades you could have skipped. So we just compute the average number of grades that could be skipped, assuming all below average people can skip 0 grades. This can be written as follows:

From this I got a waste of 1.5 years per person.

If you exclude below-average people, it goes to 3 years per person.

So essentially above average people pay a progressive tax in terms of their time to below average people when it comes to spending too much time in the education system.

There is an insane amount of repeat teaching in school. When I found that the 6th grade (start of Middle School) was largely repeating her 5th grade math, I had her jumped to 7th grade math. I had to haul her to and from the high school at the beginning of the day (with numerous other parents doing the same) to get her the appropriate math when she was in 7th grade. I had her do Geometry by correspondence over the summer after 7th grade (which meant that I had to answer Geometry questions, something I had not done in 50 years). She skipped 8th grade and went to high school. She did pre-calculus be correspondence over the summer after 9th grade and Calculus in 10th grade. She dropped out of high school after 10th grade and went to the University, where she did her BS and MS in Civil Engineering.

Her younger brother, who was not so mathematically adept still survived engineering Calculus when he did Running Start and started his college work when he would have been in 11th grade. He went the Business - MIS route rather than Engineering. Both completed their MS degrees when they were 21.

IQ is necessary but not sufficient. The University of Washington has an early admission program that has two entering groups - one out of 8th grade, and one out of 10th grade. The 8th graders were given a year of transition schooling before being released to the campus Honors courses. They have recently increased the transition period to 2 years. The 10th graders went straight into the campus Honors courses. The year my daughter went she was one of 4 10th graders in the program from her high school. She had just turned 15 when she started her university classes.

A note - Medical school will not take younger applicants. The early admission candidates tracking for med school would need to take a few years doing research, relevant employment, or relevant schooling before going to med school.

In many states you can reclaim 2 of those years by doing College in High School / Running Start, where students start at the local community college instead of going to 11th grade. But there a few big BUT's that you must be aware of.

1 - this probably only really works for students who then go to the state university

2 - the student needs to have selected the appropriate transfer courses, not the easier high schooly variants. This typically requires good counseling at the school or by the parent.

3 - the student needs to be prepared for the coursework - which may require a year or more of summer or after-school preparation so that the student is ready for college level work in 11th grade. This is particularily an issue in Math, as much math work is consecutive - but you can take Geometry in parallel with algebraic classes. It also helps if the student is used to lots and lots of Reading. Reading speed and comprehension are important.

But if you do the work and take advantage of the opportunity, the student can cut their college cost in half. If they combine it with ROTC (in the States, Reserve Officer Training Corps, grads then go into the armed services), they may get out of college with no debt at all.