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IQ Testing

If you could re-write history, what would you like to have seen as the development process of IQ testing? Why?

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In support of your thesis consider this by one of the most eminent psychologists and famous educative theorists Howard Gardner," The tale describing the rise of the I.Q. test, and the various debates that have raged about it, has been retold so many times that I am relieved of the necessity to relate the sound and fury once again. Most scholars within psychology, and nearly all scholars outside the field, are now convinced that enthusiasm over intelligence tests has been excessive, and that there are numerous limitations in the instruments themselves and in the uses to which they can (and should) be put. Among other considerations, the tasks are definitely skewed in favor of individuals in societies with schooling and particularly in favor of individuals who are accustomed to taking paper-and-pencil tests, featuring clearly delineated answers. As I have noted, the tests have predictive power for success in schooling, but relatively little predictive power outside the school context, especially when more potent factors like social and economic background have been taken into account. Too much of a hullabaloo over the possible heritability of I.Q. has been sustained over the past few decades; and while few authorities would go so far as to claim that the I.Q. is ...

Solution Summary

Once again Howard Gardner explains "First of all, the I.Q. movement is blindly empirical. It is based simply on tests with some predictive power about success in school and, only marginally, on a theory of how the mind works. There is no view of process, of how one goes about solving a problem: there is simply the issue of whether one arrives at a correct answer. For another thing, the tasks featured in the I.Q. test are decidedly microscopic, are often unrelated to one another, and seemingly represent a "shotgun" approach to the assessment of human intellect. The tasks are remote, in many cases, from everyday life. They rely heavily upon language and upon a person's skill in defining words, in knowing facts about the world, in finding connections (and differences) among verbal concepts." (2) Gardner continues "Much of the information probed for in intelligence tests reflects knowledge gained from living in a specific social and educational milieu. For instance, the ability to define tort or to identify the author of the Iliad is highly reflective of the kind of school one attends or the tastes of one's family. In contrast, intelligence tests rarely assess skill in assimilating new information or in solving new problems. This bias toward "crystallized" rather than "fluid" knowledge can have astounding consequences. An individual can lose his entire frontal lobes, in the process becoming a radically different person, unable to display any initiative or to solve new problems--and yet may continue to exhibit an I.Q. close to genius level. Moreover, the intelligence test reveals little about an individual's potential for further growth. Two individuals can receive the same I.Q. score; yet one may turn out to be capable of a tremendous spurt in intellectual attainment, while another may be displaying the very height of his intellectual powers. To put it in the terms of the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, intelligence tests fail to yield any indication of an individual's "zone of potential [or, "proximal"] development." (3)