Intelligence Testing Essay Research Paper In reviewing

Intelligence Testing Essay, Research Paper

In reviewing the text, I found the definition of intelligence testing to be very

simple; testing used to measure intelligence. Two definitions found on an

Internet site at are: (a) A standardized test used to establish

an intelligence level rating by measuring a subject’s ability to form concepts,

solve problems, acquire information, reason, and perform other intellectual

operations. (b) A psychometric test of intelligence; "they used to think

that intelligence is what an intelligence test tests. In defining intelligence,

there has always been the question of whether intelligence is measured as one

phenomenon or if it has many variables that are combined. For example, is it how

smart a person is? Or is it a mixture of survival, mathematical, social and

other abilities. There are many debates regarding weather measuring intelligence

is determined from test scores and results or if it is measured by the person

ability to process and problem solve. Uses of Intelligence Testing In an

educational setting, intelligence and achievement tests are administered

routinely to assess individual accomplishment. They are used to improve

instruction and curriculum planning. High schools use these test to assist in

the students future educational planning. Elementary schools utilize screening

and testing procedures to help determine readiness for reading and writing

placement. Intelligence can be measured, though imperfectly, by intelligence

tests, among them the Standford-Binat Intelligence and the Wechsler scales.

These tests are intended to determine an individual’s intelligence quotient

(IQ). Intelligence tests usually provide an estimate of global cognitive

functioning as well as information about functioning within more specific

domains. Compared to measures of virtually all other human traits, intelligence

test scores are quite stable. However, the degree of stability increases with

age such that early childhood and preschool measures of intellectual function

are far less predictive of later functioning than assessments taken during

middle childhood. Furthermore, despite their relative stability, intelligence

test scores may change as a function of important environmental factors.

Therefore, intelligence test scores are descriptive of a child’s functioning at

that point in time. This could change with alterations in the child’s

psychiatric status, environmental conditions, or educational program. Components

of a good intelligence test are (a) Validity; does the test really measure

intelligence and not something else? (b) Reliability; does the test produce

consistent measurements? (c) Norms; are the participants being fairly compared?

Components that make an intelligence test flawed are (a) Poor validity; many

intelligence tests are sensitive to social factors in addition to intelligence.

(b) Poor norms; being compared to people who are different. (c) Inappropriate

application; test measures something that has nothing to do with the

participants school or job. Theories of Process Psychometric Model Psychometric

approach is defined as psychology that deals with the design, administration,

and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological

variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traits. The

psychometric model is a theoretical perspective that quantifies individual

differences in test scores to establish a rank order of abilities. There are

various psychometric approaches to intelligence. The following paragraphs

describe three different theorists and their psychometric model. Charles

Spearman`s believed that intelligence is a combination of two parts. According

to his two-factor theory of intelligence, the performance of any intellectual

act requires some combination of g, (general intelligence factor) which is

available to the same individual to the same degree for all intellectual acts.

(Specific factors) or s is specific to that act and varies in strength from one

act to another. S is specific knowledge such as verbal reasoning or spatial

problem solving. Spearman equated g with mental energy. If one knows how a

person performs on one task that is highly saturated with g, one can safely

predict a similar level of performance for another highly g saturated task.

Prediction of performance on tasks with high s factors is less accurate. Thus,

the most important information to have about a person’s intellectual ability is

an estimate of their g or mental energy (Plucker 1989). Thurstone’s theory is

based on seven primary mental abilities. In the area of intelligence, his theory

maintains that intelligence is made up of several primary mental abilities

rather than just the g and s factors. He was among the first to propose and

demonstrate that there are numerous ways in which a person can be intelligent.

Thurstone’s Multiple-factors theory identified these seven primary mental

abilities: ╥ Verbal Comprehension ╥ Word Fluency ╥ Number

Facility ╥ Spatial Visualization ╥ Associative Memory ╥

Perceptual Speed ╥ Reasoning Thurstone’s theory has been used to construct

intelligence tests that yield a profile of the individual’s performance on each

of the ability tests, rather than general that yield a single score such as an

IQ. Guilford’s theory includes 150 abilities, arranged in three dimensions:

contents, operations, and products. Guilford`s three-dimensional Structure of

Intellect classified intellectual acts into 120 separate categories. These

categories are operations dimension, products dimension and material or content

dimension. He developed firm convictions regarding the ability of individual

difference among people. Guilford`s believed that intelligence is much too

complicated to be subsumed by a few primary mental abilities and g factor. His

systematic theory gave rise to what is known as informational-operational

psychology. Information-Processing Informational theorists believe that human

cognition is best understood as the management of information through a system

with limited space or resources (Bukato & Daehler 1998). Two theorists that

promote informational processing models are Sternberg and Gardner. Sternberg’s

triarchic theory consists of three parts: cognitive components of intelligence,

experience and intelligence, and context of intelligence. They are divided in

three major sub-theories: Componential is encoding, combining and comparing

stimuli and evaluating one own performance. Contextual is the adaptation to one`s

environment. The two-facet sub-theory is the ability to process novelty and the

ability to atomize cognitive processes. One of Sternberg’s most important

contributions to intelligence theory has been the redefinition of intelligence

to incorporate practical knowledge. As Sternberg insists, "’real life is

where intelligence operates’ and not in the classroom . . . . The true measure

of success is not how well one does in school, but how well one does in life (Trosky,

1998)." Dr. Howard Garner believed that intelligence is the ability to find

and solve problems and create products of value in one’s own culture. Gardner`s

theory of multiple intelligence (MI) maintains that people often show marked

individual differences in their ability to process specific kinds of information

(Bukato & Daehler 1998). Gardner originally identified seven such faculties,

which he labeled as "intelligences": ╥ Linguistic: Functions of

language ╥ Musical: Individual have different musical abilities ╥

Logico-mathematical: Reasoning, hierarchical and numerical relations ╥

Spatial: Comprehension of shapes and images. The ability to perceive and

interpret what we cannot see ╥ Bodily kinesthetic: Utilizing ones body;

control over movements, balance, agility and grace. ╥ Intrapersonal:

Cognitive ability to understand and sense our "self." ╥

Inter-personal: Ability to interact with others, understand them, and interpret

their behaviors. Multiple intelligences theory, in a nutshell, is a pluralized

way of understanding the intellect. Recent advances in cognitive science,

developmental psychology and neuroscience suggest that each person’s level of

intelligence is actually made up of autonomous faculties that can work

individually or in concert with other faculties. Interpreting & Grouping

Methods Three common methods for reporting performance on tests are

developmental, percentiles, and standard scores. The most common is

developmental scores, which are sometimes classified as "mental age"

and "grade equivalents," although many tests provide age-equivalent

scores. Many schools show reaching of goals and objectives by utilizing these

types of test scores. The strength with-in developmental scores are that the

result is descriptive, meaning it can clearly show the difference in a score.

For example hearing that Sue has a mental age of seven years, or a third grade

reading level, provides what seems to be a vivid picture of where Sue stands

within the rest of the seven year olds. One item to be cautious of when

interpreting is that the scale or ratio may not be even. For example, an 8 year

old having the reading level of a 6 year old may show some impairment, whereas a

12-year-old functioning at the 10year-old level might be only moderately behind.

Consequently, the difference in functioning between a 19 and a 17-year-old might

be meaningless. Percentile scores provide an index of where one stands relative

to others on a scale of 1 to 100. A score at the first or 100th percentile does

not mean that the person got all of the questions on the test right or wrong.

Percentile scores mean that the individual performed worse or better than

everybody else in the comparison group. Nonetheless, like developmental scores

the unit of measure varies across the range. There is relatively little

difference between scores at the 40th and 60th percentiles, but a 20-point

difference near either tail of the distribution will be substantial. Standard

score scales have the advantage of being indicative of performance relative to

others, but the unit of measure remains constant across the range of scores.

Standard score scales report scores in standard deviation units from the

normative sample’s mean. Thus, to interpret standard scores, one must know the

mean and standard deviation of the scale on which it is based (Woodcock 1989).

Grouping & Validity One of the important questions that always comes up

regarding the validity and reliability of these tools are what are the tests

really measuring? Are they measuring a persons intelligence? What about their

ability to perform well on standardized tests? Is that alone, another

measurement of their intelligence? It is critical to examine the situations

around which these tests are given. A person may not have had breakfast, could

possible be ill that day or is having a panic attack regarding taking the test.

Many factors go in to the test itself. Other major factors are cultural

backgrounds, parenting practices and the home environment. To issue a truly

standardized test, the testing environment should be the same for everyone

involved. No matter how carefully written, standardized intelligence tests have

particular cultural biases, and are almost always based on language ability and

mathematical prowess. These traits are important and desirable, but they may not

be the only factors in determining a persons intelligence. Conclusion

Intelligence is difficult to define. Theoretically it is the capacity to learn

new information, to understand ones world and to be resourceful in coping with

challenges. Intelligence consists of abilities necessary to adapt to the

environment to achieve goals. Psychologists differ on how they define

intelligence and exactly which abilities comprise "intelligence."

Intelligence testing provides standardized and objective measures that can be

considered useful for evaluating children and adolescents. When interpreted in

the context of other intellectual information, these data are very useful for

developing a plan for a person. Intelligence testing reveals something about the

persons academic type and their general mental abilities. Newer or recently

developed test may be better equipped to encompass all of the components

necessary to evaluate a persons intelligence level. Finally, It is important to

realize the biases, cultural differences and other factors that may interpret a

score or result. Keeping in mind that the overall progress of a child depends on

many factors and not their IQ or intelligence.


Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M.W., (1998). Child Development: A Thematic

Approach (3rd ed.). Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company Jonathan Plucker,

Ph.D. (1998) Learning & Cognition, Indiana University General Intelligence,

Objectively Determined and Measured Trosky, Susan M., (1989) Contemporary

Authors, Vol. 126. Gale Research, Detroit, MI.


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