IQ Tests Unlock Potential and Improve Delivery of Education

The use of intelligence tests to measure a person’s intellectual capabilities has been practiced for many decades. First performed by Alfred Binet in the early 1900s, standardized intelligence tests helped identify children in Paris who had learning disabilities and mental retardation. The US military also used these tests to appoint new recruits in positions that suit their abilities and skills. Over the years, IQ tests influenced how students make their education choices by assessing learning abilities and strengths.

Limitations

Although these tests were recognized as tools to identify the learning abilities of both children and adults, there were some controversies surrounding their efficacy and accuracy. Critics contend that intelligence testing stratifies test takers by race, religion, gender and class. It failed to include creativity & practicality and promoted the idea that people are born with abilities that cannot be changed which in turn determine their success in life.

Development

To this end, intelligence tests researchers have addressed the limitations and concerns of standardized tests and at the same time, protect the integrity and usefulness of assessments. New IQ tests measure intelligence levels and accommodate the concerns outlined by critics. For example, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) has been updated to cover the abilities of test-takers from all sorts of backgrounds. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale has also been revised using sophisticated ways of interpreting results as well as the application of new theories that developed the concept of intelligence beyond traditional perceptions.

In short, new tests were formulated based on ‘modern theories of brain function’ such as the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC). Gardner’s intelligence tests measured ‘multiple intelligences’ covering verbal, mathematical, mechanical, physical, social and musical skills.  Sternberg established the ‘three component theory’ of intelligence (analytical, creative and practical). Psychologist Aronson et al developed cooperative learning techniques for children that encourage the use of intellectual skills in a social setting.

Role in Education

Intelligence tests have an important role to play in education. For one, they help identify kids with special needs. Through objective assessments, gifted and special needs children can benefit from specific education services. Tests can also determine structural inequalities that may affect the development of a child such as exposure to hazardous substances or malnutrition effects. Early interventions can correct these inequalities or mitigate the consequences. Testing for substance exposure or improving diets can help kids raise their IQ levels. These evaluations also assist in the diagnosis of an adult’s intellectual abilities and potential. Assessments are going to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of an individual as they pertain to education choices.

On the other hand, the level of education also affects how well a student performs on IQ tests. By staying in school, IQ levels are raised when time is spent on improving cognitive and mind-stimulating activities. This was validated by the Brinch and Galloway study which studied the effect of schooling in adolescents. IQ scores were affected substantially by staying longer in school.