Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finally! My thoughts on IQ Tests

A few days ago I posted a blog about the "waning of IQ". It's pretty interesting to me, as a former teacher, to see a discussion about IQ and how it's not actual intelligence that's waning, but the tests that supposedly measure intelligence.

I'm not a big believer in tests as measurements of ability. We're tested daily to show our knowledge about topics taught in schools-- math, reading, social interaction, geography (reading a map), culture, and so on--some of us know things, some of us don't. Does that mean people are lacking in intelligence? Probably not. I won't go into detail about the supposed socio-economic bias exhibited by many so-called "Intelligence Tests"...

Anyway, I've always done fairly well on tests- especially multiple choice tests and essays--so I'm not against them for the reason others might be (that they don't do well, or are stressed out by them). I just feel that tests specifically used to measure intelligence are flawed in their development. By their nature, they are going to measure intelligence that is important who whatever company is creating them or whatever company is paying to get them made.

Additionally, due to the massive increase in readily-available information, intelligence measures are going to continuously fall behind the information that is available to the average person. As such, by the time the questions are written, edited, then published and disseminated, they may be antiquated or no longer valid based on new findings. As a current editor in an educational publishing company, I can tell you that this is often the case.

Rather than trying to measure what people can memorize, it's much more important to measure what is truly necessary information in the current society. Whether it's American middle-class consumerism society or third-world agricultural society, information needs differ based on cultural, socio-political, and personal needs; thereby making an accurate measure of one's intellectual prowess nearly impossible.

I feel better now!

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