GSS2012 KAVERAGE & KWSUM Calculated and Validated

I computed an alternative index of cognitive ability for the 2012 General Social Survey. In the 2012 survey, 10 science knowledge questions were asked. An example is:

1044. Now, I would like to ask you a few short questions like
those you might see on a television game show. For each
statement that I read, please tell me if it is true or false. If
you don’t know or aren’t sure, just tell me so, and we will skip
to the next question. Remember true, false, or don’t know. d.
Lasers work by focusing sound waves. (Is that true or false?)

Few people answered all 10 of the questions so the number of correct answers can not simply be summed as is done in the case of wordsum. One can, nonetheless, compute average correct scores by taking the number of correct scores over the total number of questions completed. The KAVERAGE score — or knowledge average score — correlates at 0.39 with wordsum. This is close to the correlation found between wordsum and the 1994 ten question similarities quiz. The KAVERAGE score has reasonable predictive validity as is shown below:


The utility of the KAVERAGE is that it can be averaged with wordsum to produce an expanded index of ability. Some people took the knowledge quiz but not the vocabulary quiz and vice versa. By creating average KAVERAGE/wordsum scores, the total 2012 sample for which there is a cognitive index can be increased without much loss of predictive validity. Below are a few possible uses of the KWSUM:

The association between income and ability for individuals below age 36 in 2012:


(To note, the difference comes out to about 0.6 SD, when taking into account the standard deviations:
2012 GSS race differences)

And the correlation between darkness, measures of ability, and increased involvement with the criminal justice system (arrests, convictions, and incarcerations) with respect to Native, Non-Hispanic African Americans (i.e., race=2 and HISPANIC =1 and parentborn=1, where parentborn = parborn=0 or parborn=3 or parborn=5 or parborn=7 or parborn=9).


Criminal Justice Involvement

If arrest =1 Arrest1 =1.
If arrest =2 Arrest1 =0.
If Arrest1 =1 or CONVICTD1 =1 or LOCKEDUP1 =1 CJ =1.
If Arrest1 =0 or CONVICTD1 =0 or LOCKEDUP1 =0 CJ =0.


if bigbang =1 KQ1=1.
if bigbang =2 or bigbang =8 or bigbang =9 KQ1=0.
if boyorgrl =2 KQ2=1.
if boyorgrl =1 or boyorgrl =8 or boyorgrl =9 KQ2=0.
if earthsun =1 KQ3=1.
if earthsun =2 or earthsun =8 or earthsun =9 KQ3=0.
if electron =1 KQ4=1.
if electron =2 or electron =8 or electron =9 KQ4=0.
if evolved =1 KQ5=1.
if evolved =2 or evolved =8 or evolved =9 KQ5=0.
if hotcore =1 KQ6=1.
if hotcore =2 or hotcore =8 or hotcore =9 KQ6=0.
if lasers =2 KQ7=1.
if lasers =1 or lasers =8 or lasers =9 KQ7=0.
if lasers =2 KQ8=1.
if lasers =1 or lasers =8 or or lasers =9 KQ9 =0.
if solarrev =1 or solarrev =2 or solarrev =4 or solarrev =8 or solarrev =9 KQ9=0.
if viruses =2 KQ10 =1.
if viruses =1 or viruses =8 or viruses = 9 KQ10=0.

Count numberk= KQ1 to KQ10 (0 thru 1).
compute KSCORE = sum(KQ1,KQ2,KQ3,KQ4,KQ5,KQ6,KQ7,KQ8,KQ9,KQ10).
compute KAVERAGE = KSCORE/numberk.
compute KWSUM = sum(ZKAVERAGE,Zwordsum)/2.

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2 Responses to GSS2012 KAVERAGE & KWSUM Calculated and Validated

  1. manta says:

    What about the reasoning questions ALIKE1, ALIKE2, ALIKE3, ALIKE4, ALIKE5, ALIKE6, ALIKE7, ALIKE8.

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