Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Issues In Intelligence Testing

With the advent of intelligence testing, the theories of Thurstone and Guilford defined intelligence in terms of test performance. Thurstone conceived of primary mental abilites, while Guildford proposed a three-dimensional model of intellectual abilities. More recently Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence argues that intelligence has practical, real-world manifestations as well as consequences for test-performance.

Intelligence testing began with educational placement tests developed by Binet and Simon. Their test was later revised by Terman as the Stanford-Binet scale. Their test was later revised by Terman as the Stanford-Binet scale. The concept of IQ was introduced as more sensitive to intelligence than a mere comparison of mental with chronological age. The tests developed by Wechsler include both performance and verbal subscales. Group tests are more expedient than individual tests but not as comprehensive or detailed.

Modern intelligence testing is evaluated in terms of its cultural fairness, as well as assumptions about the heritability of IQ.

Because intelligence, though not well-understood, is considered important in education and employment, the assumptions and uses of intelligence testing are often controversial. One issue concerns whether intelligence, as a human trait, is more a product of heredity or environment. The so-called heritability factor(inherited degree) of intelligence is of concern in determining the fair use of tests for educational and employment advancement.

Related to heritability is the question of the relation between race and intelligence. Research to date is inconclusive about the degree to which one's race or ethnicity "determines" one's possible intelligence.

Culture and Fairness
Regardless of whether intelligence is influenced by inherited traits or race, there is no doubt that culture influences what is considered to be intelligent, at least among laypersons.

One problem with traditional intelligence tests may be their reliance on verbal items and measures. If a test is written in English, a non-native speaker of English may be disadvantaged in that evaluation.

In response to the concern that intelligence tests be "culture-fair", psychologists have developed and used nonverbal measures of performance that are less affected by a particular language. Such culture-fair tests include the progressive Matrices test, the Goodenough-Harris Drawing Test, and Cattell's Culture-Fair Intelligence Test.

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