I keep reading articles about new research (published in Nature last month) finding that IQ is malleable. The sample size of the study (33 British students) was quite small, which means that outlier findings need to be taken with a grain of salt. One student's IQ rose from 107 to 128, and another's fell from 114 to 96. The trumpeted finding is that 9% of students showed a change of 15 points or more, but of course 9% of 33 is 3 kids. The most interesting finding is that MRI scans showed actual brain changes in the kids with the big IQ changes, which suggest that it might not be total measurement error. The idea is that one can possibly change IQ, on the margins, through certain brain exercises.
Some people will no doubt trumpet this as evidence that giftedness is some sort of made up concept, just capturing a snapshot in time among kids whose parents have trained them more than others. But one certainly doesn't have to draw this conclusion. I am comfortable believing these two things at once:
1. I am not nearly as athletically gifted as many other people and never will be and
2. If I practiced hard in any given sport, I could become better at it over time in a way my body might actually physically reflect.
These two beliefs also do not lead me to believe that we should get rid of varsity basketball teams, or camps for children who've shown promise in basketball or that athletic ability is some sort of social construct. So I'm not sure why the idea that IQ might change by one standard deviation in a small number of children would lead anyone to believe that there aren't children who learn differently and need more challenge than others of the same age.