Twin 1600s

Acing the SATs is not like winning the loterry, despite this story on fraternal twins who both earned 1600 on the SATs.

It seems like the kind of SAT question custom-made for Dillon and Jesse Smith of Long Beach: If one out of every 1,511 students taking the SAT will get a perfect score, what are the odds that twin brothers will both ace the test?

Answer: No one knows for sure. Nevertheless, that’s what the Smith twins have done.

. . . Of the 1.4 million high school seniors who took the test in 2004, only 939 scored a 1600, according to the College Board, which administers the test. With those numbers, the odds of any two people getting that score would be almost 1 in 2.3 million — and that doesn’t even take into account whether those two people are related, never mind twins.

As Kimberly Swygert writes, intelligence and high expectations run in the family.

What are the odds that my friend Brad, who got 1600 on his SATs, would father two children who got 1600s (in different years)? Pretty good. Of course, Brad didn’t take the test till he was a senior. His kids got their perfect scores in eighth or ninth grade.

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  1. That’s right. A given individual’s scoring on an objective test on a subject like math is hardly a random variable, subject to statistical behavior. Either you know the material or you don’t. I took the SAT twice and scored 800 on the math both times, and later scored 800 on the advanced math achievement test. And I scored consistently less well in verbal 🙁 .

  2. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “If one out of every 1,511 students taking the SAT will get a perfect score, what are the odds that twin brothers will both ace the test?…”

    What are the odds a reporter can set a new low in innumeracy, even by reporter’s standards? Low, but probably still doable, even if this raises (lowers?) the bar.

    Not at all funny: In England, Sally Clark lost two children to crib deaths. She was convicted of murdering them on exactly the same reasoning. There was no other real evidence. (In fact, it turned out the expert who presented this brilliant reasoning to the jury had withheld evidence that the children had died natural deaths.)

  3. Gosh-oh-gee. Identical twins having similar intelligence levels just MUST be like their holding winning lottery tickets, because everybody knows that intelligence has no genetic component.

    Now low intelligence is never due to inheritance. It is due to things that happpened hundreds of years ago, or it’s due to lead in the drinking water or something else, or anything else. Just never forget: whatever intelligence is or how it is caused, it can be improved with MORE MONEY FOR TEACHERS.