As the annual publication of exam results leads to another round of congratulatory backslapping counterbalanced by troubled minds is it time to examine secondary and tertiary education in more detail?
For example, the relationship between education and IQ is often cited in research, e.g. Torsten Bell, Nature plays its part, but school nurtures your brain even better, referenced by The Observer (December 12, 2021), which often relies heavily on ‘quasiexperimental methods’.
However, firstly, there is a valuable resource freely available that provides both direct and indirect access to those said to have tested with an IQ among the top 2% of British and American society.
In the UK the Mensa Register was published in 1962, 1963/4 and 1966, and later retitled as The Mensa Yearbook that was published 1989/90, 1990/91, 1994/95, 1996, and 1999-2000 (for other sources see: Mulholland, ‘the man from MENSA’ – 1 of 600 – Mensa research, 2016).
And so it provides a list of most Mensa members over a period of some forty years.
The data published in the 1962 register included name, address, tel. no., married/single, religion, DoB and where, no. of children, religion, occupation, formal qualifications, club and society membership, and a brief synopsis.
In the United States a similar register was also published, and so these publications together probably list some 200,000-plus members of Mensa, many of whom are still alive, and certain key data about them.
The importance of this resource lies not in the data set itself, which is quite limited in modern terms, but more so in that armed with just the name, address and DoB researchers can cross-reference these against NHS databases, such as the Trusted Research Environment and NHS Digital, and also social media databases, such as Providers of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOP), to provide a very detailed and up-to-date data set.
In short, it is now possible to perform very detailed research into the effects of a high IQ and then compare and contrast this against non-Mensans.
Secondly, is it now time to question the relationship between secondary and tertiary education given that there is now firm evidence that the Higher Education sector (universities) appear to evolving away from purely charitable status towards a business model (see: Mulholland, Ratio Analysis of Financial KPI in the Higher Education Sector, 2021).
More research into this phenomenon is clearly required so that schoolchildren and their parents can make an informed decision about whether to go to university and, if so, what subjects to study.
Dr. Bernard Mulholland
Author of the debut novel Nazareth Quest (2022).