Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Intelligence Testing

Definition of Intelligence
There are many possible definitions of intelligence. There is
cognitive or intellectual intelligence, relating to the mind.
There is also emotional intelligence, how well an individual adapts
to his environment in an emotional sense, communication skills etc.

Basic ability to survive is an important form of intelligence,
as is longevity. Other forms of intelligence at the individual level,
are a person's health or degree of enjoyment of life.

At a broader level, there is intelligence of a group of people,
a community, a society, a whole species or even the intelligence of
an entire biosphere (i.e. the planet Earth).

A subgroup of the possible definitions are the thinking types of
intelligence. Thinking is used in all kinds of human activities, whether
its dancing, laying bricks, painting or whatever. Despite all these
possible definitions, it is still possible to categorize one type of
intelligence as the reading/writing thinking that is helpful in academic
success. IQ or intelligence tests,(or more accurately aptitude tests)
relate to this kind of thinking, and it is this that is the subject of the
current topic.

Intelligence Test
The most well known type of IQ tests are the written tests given to older
children and teenagers in school and the aptitude tests sometimes given to
job applicants. There are similar tests in books and on the net.
Most tests are "speed tests", there are more items than you are expected
to answer, so time is a factor.

The word intelligence evokes a lot of feeling and has many different
meanings, the word aptitude is probably better.

Intelligence tests measure verbal and/or performance(nonverbal) skills. These tests are designed to measure a person's potential or aptitude for intellectual performance. A long-term goal of intelligence testing is the development of a culture-free test that is valid regardless of cultural background. Two examples of popular intelligence tests are the Stanford-Binet Test for children and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale(WAIS).

The Stanford-Binet
Traditionally, the Stanford-Binet contained age-graded items in a variety of skill areas. Items were coded according to the average age at which children succeed on those items.

A child taking the Standford-Binet would be classified be according to age level achieved(mental age or MA). The child's mental age was compared to the child's chronological age(CA) to produce an intelligence quotient or IQ, using the formula: IQ = MA/CA X 100. This procedure set the IQ score of the average child at 100.

Recent revisions of the Stanford-Binet have abandoned this ratio scoring procedure in favour of a point scale similar to that used in Wechsler tests. The average IQ, however, remains at 100.

The WAIS uses 11 subtests -- 6 verbal and 5 performance (nonverbal) to generate 3 IQ scores: a verbal IQ (VIQ), a performance IQ (PIQ), and a full-scale IQ (FSIQ) representing overall level of performance. The WAIS, and Wechsler tests developed for other age groups, use a point scale where points are earned for each correct answer. Standardization of Wechsler tests determines the scale for converting raw score (points earned) to an IQ score. The average IQ arbitrarily is set at 100.

Issues In Intelligence Testing
Years of study indicates that IQ is not necessary constant over the life span. Although infant intelligence tests are available, IQ scores do not begin to distinguish between those likely to be high or low ability until about age 5. Intelligence test score is reasonably stable from age 12 to adulthood, but wide fluctuations in test scores are still possible.

Although IQ tests were designed to predict success in school, school achievement is greatly influenced by other factors such as interest, motivation, family support, and the quality of instruction. Even greater care must be exercised when using IQ score to predict other outcomes, such as occupational success. Occupational success reflects the additional influences of personality and specialized talents. Nevertheless, people in professional or managerial careers traditionally have a higher average IQ than people in unskilled jobs.

Intelligence tests were conceptualized as a pure measure of intellectual potential, free from the influenced by type of upbringing, social background, and education. There is continuing debate over whether these tests measure inherited ability, which is genetically determined or learning, which incorporates the effects of experience. Although there is research to support both points of view, critics contend that intelligence tests have become instruments for discriminating against lower social class or minority group children.

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