Beyond IQ Test Ways to Determining Intelligence

Frances Simon's image for:
"Beyond IQ Test Ways to Determining Intelligence"
Image by: 

Modern IQ tests measure performance on specific tasks. These include puzzles, the ability to remember numbers and recite them back to the examiner, and knowledge of the answers to a few questions. In other words, they are highly specific and relatively brief. While there is some debate on the legitimacy of these tests, experts in the USA still belief they are an excellent way to determine the intelligence of an individual.

The term "IQ" stands for intelligence quotient. Current IQ tests measure the individual's ability to demonstrate success in a number of areas that are considered key to measuring a person's intellectual capacity. To determine the IQ number, individuals are compared to others of their age. An average IQ is 100. The exact number for an individual is computed based on how much more or less competent they are in performing certain tasks. The fewer the number of other people who are able to perform the tasks given, the higher the IQ number is for an individual who is able to complete a greater number.

Controversy over the legitimacy of these tests focuses on a number of different factors. First, the number of tasks and type of tasks used are limited. Secondly, there is a cultural bias in both the items chosen as well as the answers judged to be correct. Thirdly, the nature of intelligence is many faceted, and these tests only look at a few types

Of course, advocates of the current tests believe that these are accurate measures of an individual's intelligence, and that these measures are universally accurate. They believe that the areas measured represent the best measure of an individual's intellectual abilities. Typically these are people who perform well on these tests, or otherwise have an interest in maintaining the status quo. While there have always been many people who have questioned the accuracy and meaning of these tests, there has been an increasing trend in looking at alternative ways of measuring and defining intelligence.

Howard Gardner has been one of the foremost proponents for devising a new and more meaningful way of understanding intelligence. Gardner believes that there are multiple types of intelligence, with IQ tests only looking at two of these. Referred to as the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner's belief is that there are 7 different areas of intelligence. These are: intrapersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, naturalist, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, and interpersonal. Furthermore, he believes that the degree of a child's gift can be evaluated using many different techniques.

While there are people who have global intelligence, there are also people who show a gift in specific areas. Though everyone has their own strengths, people with gifts will perform at a far higher level than their peers. IQ tests greatly restrict how and what is considered, and need to be revised to accurately reflect an individual's overall, multi-faceted abilities.

More about this author: Frances Simon

From Around the Web