IQ Testing: Some Concerns

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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…..

 

 

 

 

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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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