Tuesday, April 2, 2024

So what's YOUR IQ

 So What’s YOUR IQ

What’s your IQ?  You probably don’t know and if you think you know, you are probably wrong. 

IQ, or intelligence quotient, is best determined in your pre-teens or early teens.  It is also best measured by an individual IQ test, either the Stanford-Binet (SB) or one of the Wechsler series tests.   The two tests are similar in that they each yield a rating of a person’s intelligence, but they are very different in outcomes.  The SB test has its roots in France where Theodore Simon and Alfred Binet were commissioned to develop a test to determine which children would benefit from a public school education and who would not.  Later Lewis Terman, working at Stanford University, adapted the test for American children.  Hence we have the Stanford Binet.  Poor Terman gets little credit.  The important things to remember about the Binet test as it is often called, is its original purpose AND that is it very language based.  Therefore, children with good language skills will do better than children whose language skills are not as well developed.

The Wechsler series of tests were developed by David Wechsler.  There are separate tests for very young children, school age children and adults.  The Wechsler tests differentiate between verbal skills and performance skills.  The Wechsler tests deliver better information to inform instruction.  

Both test purport to tell the examiner how smart a student is.

But do they?   Yes and no.  First of all remember the original Binet test was developed to determine who would succeed in a typical French school.  In many ways today, the tests do their best job at determining which kids will do well in a typical American school.  And they are pretty good at that.  What the tests don’t tell us is which students who do poorly in these tests, MAY still do well in school.

Schools today are increasingly trying to provide alternative methods of instruction.  The traditional school is highly verbal.   If you have good language skills you will do well on both the tests and  in school.  However, there are lots of kids who don’t have great verbal skills.  As schools move to provide learning through other channels of input besides language- think digital games, Smartboards, and project based learning- these children can show their “smarts” as well.

The other big question is, does a person’s IQ score change.  Will how well a person scores on the test  change?  The test activities are based on what the vast majority of kids at a particular age can do.  If a child is tested at a young age and doesn’t mature at the expected rate, his/her scores will go down.  On the other hand, if a child has increased environmental experiences and improved language abilities, scores could go up.

Both tests use a 100 score as average.  Deviation from that mid-point measures above average and below average academic ability.  These tests do not, nor were they ever intended to, measure other talents such as art, music, science or personal relations.

The good news is that educators are learning to rely less and less on these scores so we can all relax a bit.

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