IQ Testing: Some Concerns


I used to do a lot of cognitive testing, which includes IQ tests.

But over the years the IQ tests alone became the "be-all-end-all" of some school programs and are used in ways I felt were of concern, not fully addressed and not in the best interests of the children.

Here are some of those concerns:

1 – IQ or Intelligent Quotient has no "real" definition

The one used in some textbooks is that an IQ is what the IQ test measures.  Not a great definition but I have never seen a better one.

There are many kinds of intelligences and each test measures only some of them and only at one given point in time.

2 – when reporting IQ scores people tend to ignore the standard deviation [SD]

The standard deviation is the variance around the mean or average.  An IQ score can actual vary by about plus or minus 15 points from the measured and reported score – but we don’t read that.

For example if your score on an IQ test came out to be 110 – your actual IQ could range from 95 to 125.  Yes – it could be anywhere within that 30 points!

3 – IQ scores can vary based on many factors yet they are treated as if they were etched in stone.

4 – IQ scores are used to categorize people; usually in some permanent way, and usually not repeated to see if the score was valid.

5 – IQ scores can be influenced by the person giving the test; by how they interpret the answer given, by tone of voice or by facial expression….

So do I do IQ testing?  Not any more – but over my professional psychology career I have given more IQ tests than I can now recall.

IQ tests give valuable information about the person being tested – the least valuable of which is the "number" one gets…yet this is the one piece of the picture that gets used and abused.

Comments? Questions? Thank you…..






About the author 

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.

  • As Howard Gardner pointed out, there are also “multiple intelligences,” or aptitudes besides the narrow focus of an IQ test.

    • It’s not that IQ tests are narrow – far from it. the Wechsler Scales give so much good info – but all schools and parents want is “THE” score!!

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