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Intelligence testing

Intelligence Testing

     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 dictionary.com 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.

Bibliography

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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