An Argument against IQ Tests

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In the modern information age the ability to adapt, retain information and understand how to use that information is becoming increasingly important and one of the tools that we have to help us measure a person's ability to do those things is the IQ test. But there are serious problems with the IQ test and our willingness to use it as a determiner of ability and success.

The problem starts with the IQ test as a single number. This does not take into account any of the complexities of the human mind. We all know individuals who are in most things not very bright, but shine in a single area. Perhaps it is the brilliant mechanic who can't balance his own books, or the brilliant scientist who doesn't remember to tie his own shoes. Intelligence is a matter of gifts and no single test will be able to measure all of those gifts, yet telling someone they have a low or even a high IQ can change their own opinion of their gifts.

This is not the only the only problem with the test. One of the major issues of most IQ tests is the argument of bias, this is demonstrated by the generally higher scores by whites than by Black or Latino test takers. There is also a bias towards those with information not provided by the test. Consider a common question on IQ tests which give a jumble of letters and you must determine if it is a river, a city, or a name. This is not simply a test of recognizing the name in the letters but a test to see if you know the name of these places and as such gives a greater advantage to those who have special information. The good news on bias is that the test scores have began to even out as opportunities become more available for minorities.

The final issue with an IQ test is that it fails the most important factor in any endeavor, the desire and willingness to work hard. Even if your IQ is higher than someone else's this does not mean that you will be willing to put in the effort it requires. This is most obvious when you consider the number of people who claim to have poor memories, right up until the point that you begin to talk about sports at which point they are able to tell you the score of every game their team has played for the last twenty years as well as specific statistics, and more. This same person, with the same amount of passion could easily learn something far less complex like the Periodic table of Elements.

IQ tests are a great tool and an interesting way to examine a specific type of intelligence but we must remember that we all have our own individual talents, skills and desires and learning to f allow them is far more useful than relying on the simple ability to see patterns.

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