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The Disadvantages of IQ Test

by: Kay Ireland

Intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a numerical measure of your knowledge and intelligence base.
Some schools require IQ testing for their students and use it as a way to gauge how students are
doing and apply for financial aid. The problem is that IQ testing doesn't paint the full picture of a
person's intelligence; the Wechsler test and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, which are
both commonly used to score IQ rate on a scale of around 70 to around 165, says the U.S.
National Library of Medicine, and the results can be inconclusive.

Limited Potential And Stereotypes

IQ tests can limit student potential an perpetuate stereotypes within a classroom setting. Greg
Machek of Indiana University notes in a paper titled "Brief History of the Measurement of
Intelligence" that minorities and economically-challenged typically score worse than tier better-
off, white counterparts. Upon receiving the result of a poor IQ test, a student may believe that
she is "stupid" or less intelligent than her peers when it isn't her fault. Similarly, better-off
students with better scores might look down or unfairly class other students because of their

One Score Results

The scale for an IQ test is decided upon by scoring the answers to the questions to come up with
a single number that represents the individual's intelligence. Unfortunately, that one number
cannot possibly detail the breadth of someone's intelligence, says the Encyclopedia of Mental
Disorders. One number assigned to a child or adult's intelligence and grasp of traditional
academic subjects is not an accurate way to measure IQ. What's more, a poor IQ test can limit a
child's aspirations due to the one score that he is labeled with.

Limited Subjects

A traditional IQ test quizzes individuals in subjects like reading comprehension, limits, series
and mathematical knowledge, but they don't test for subjects that include mechanics, social skills
or creativity. The University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Studies says that
these subjects are just as valuable than the intelligence that is tested through IQ tests. Quite
simply, IQ tests are an ineffective way to measure intelligence, as intelligence itself is made up
of different facets, subjects and talents.
Predictive Capabilities
Someone who gains a high score on IQ testing won't automatically enjoy a high degree of
success in her life. IQ tests are poor predictors of socioeconomic and vocation success. This
could render them fairly useless for predicting later success in life. Psychologist Wayne Weiten
argues in his book "Psychology: Themes and Variations" that while those with IQs certainly have
the potential for vocational success, those with lower IQ's with ambition and skill can do the

IQ tests are 'meaningless and too simplistic' claim researchers
Researchers say findings are a 'wake up call' for anyone using current tests
Comes after biggest ever study of intelligence
By Nicholas Mcdermott

It will come as a relief to those who failed to shine when taking an IQ test.
After conducting the largest ever study of intelligence, researchers have found that far from
indicating how clever you are, IQ testing is actually rather meaningless.
In a bid to investigate the value of IQ, scientists asked more than 100,000 participants to
complete 12 tests that required planning, reasoning, memory and attention.
Researchers say that traditional IQ tests simply do not work as they cannot measure every aspect
of intelligence - and said their findings are a 'wake up call' for schools, universities and others
that use the tests
They also filled in a survey on their background.
They discovered that far from being down to one single factor, what is commonly regarded as
intelligence is influenced by three different elements - short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal
But being good at one of these factors does not mean you are going to be equally gifted at the
other two.
Scientists from Canadas Western University in Ontario, also scanned some of the participants
brains while they undertook the tests.
They found that different parts of the brain were activated when they were tested on each of the
three factors.
Traditional IQ tests are too simplistic, according to the research, which found that what makes
someone intelligent is too complex to boil down to a single exam.
IQ, which stands for Intelligence Quotient, is an attempt to measure how smart an individual is.
The average IQ is 100. Mensa, the high IQ society, only accepts individuals who score more than
148, putting them in the top two per cent of the population.
They use the Cattell III B test, which consists of six batches of multiple choice questions aimed
at testing mental agility, with each section lasting between eight and 18 minutes.
The new study, published in the journal Neuron, suggests that intelligence is too complex to be
represented by a single number.
Study leader Dr Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientists based at Western University in Canada,
said an astonishing number of people had contributed to the research.
We expected a few hundred responses, but thousands and thousands of people took part,
including people of all ages, cultures and creeds and from every corner of the world, he said.
When you take 100,000 people and tested their brain function, we couldnt find any evidence
for a single uniform concept of intelligence.
The best we could manage is get it down to three elements that contribute to intelligence. But
they are completely different factors, unrelated to one another, and you could be brilliant at one
and awful at another.
For example, the absent-minded professor.
IQ tests are pretty meaningless - if you are not good at them, all it proves is that you are not
good at IQ tests.
'It does not say anything about your general intelligence. The majority of IQ tests were
developed in the 50s and 60s when the way we thought and interacted with the world was
different, said Dr Owen.
'Study co-author Roger Highfield, from the Science Museum, said: The most surprising thing is
that we still havent got over the hang up about IQ tests.
'This really is a wake-up call. We have now shown that on the evidence, these tests are
'We need to stop trying to simplify the brain, which is very complicated organ, down to a
We need to think of intelligence like the Olympics. Is the gold medal winner in the marathon
fitter than the gold medallist in the 100m sprint?
The researchers are set to continue the groundbreaking study, with the team launching a new
version of the tests online, which you can see at the link below.

The Advantages of IQ Tests


Much is made of a person's intelligence quotient (IQ). This number is supposed to determine a
level of intelligence that each person posses. Almost everyone has, at one time in his life, taken
an IQ test. While some critics denounce the use of IQ tests, they actually have many benefits and
advantages over other forms of intelligence measure.

Testing Behaviors

One of the best things about IQ tests actually has nothing to do with intelligence. The test is a
very accurate measure of human behavior due to the way the test is set up. The IQ test is one of
the best ways to get an overall view of human behavior which can then be analyzed by age, race,
and gender. This allows behavioral scientists to study trends in various groups as they take the
test. Analyzing the data in this way provides these scientists with insight into how different
groups of people learn based on their test results. This insight helps educators to tailor their
teaching to get the best results.

Academic Achievement
The IQ test is often given to children at the beginning of their school career as an indication of
how well they will do in their educations. The test is used as an indicator that allows school
districts and teachers to determine what type of classroom setting to place a child in. A child who
scores high on the test may be placed in an advanced learning situation, which will take care of
her educational needs. A child who scores low, however, will be able to be placed in a classroom
situation that will give her the most benefit. Without this test, children may be placed in
classroom not suited for them.
Societal Benefits
Since the IQ tests can identify the potential for academic achievement, schools can begin to
develop students in a way that takes advantage of their natural talents. If a child's talents are
developed correctly, he has the potential to maximize his skills to be beneficial to society. For
instance, if an IQ test shows that the child has some talent in math and science, those interests
and talents can be developed to help the child get into a medical, research, or engineering field.
This helps a society keep a steady supply of people who can provide benefits, making life better
for all of their citizens.
IQ tests are 'fundamentally flawed' and using them alone to measure intelligence is a
'fallacy', study finds
by Steeve Connor
The idea that intelligence can be measured by IQ tests alone is a fallacy according to the largest
single study into human cognition which found that it comprises of at least three distinct mental
IQ tests have been used for decades to assess intelligence but they are fundamentally flawed
because they do not take into account the complex nature of the human intellect and its different
components, the study found.
The results question the validity of controversial studies of intelligence based on IQ tests which
have drawn links between intellectual ability race, gender and social class and led to highly
contentious claims that some groups of people are inherently less intelligent that other groups.
Instead of a general measure of intelligence epitomised by the intelligence quotient (IQ),
intellectual ability consists of short-term memory, reasoning and verbal agility. Although these
interact with one another they are handled by three distinct nerve circuits in the brain, the
scientists found.
The results disprove once and for all the idea that a single measure of intelligence, such as IQ, is
enough to capture all of the differences in cognitive ability that we see between people, said
Roger Highfield, director of external affairs at the Science Museum in London.
Instead, several different circuits contribute to intelligence, each with its own unique capacity. A
person may well be good in one of these areas, but they are just as likely to be bad in the other
two, said Dr Highfield, a co-author of the study published in the journal Neuron.
The research involved an on-line survey of more than 100,000 people from around the world
who were asked to complete 12 mental tests for measuring different aspects of cognitive ability,
such as memory, reasoning, attention and planning.
The researchers took a representative sample of 46,000 people and analysed how they
performed. They found there were three distinct components to cognitive ability: short-term
memory, reasoning and a verbal component.
Professor Adrian Owen of the University of Western Ontario in Canada said that the uptake for
the tests was astonishing. The scientists expected a few hundred volunteers to spend the half hour
it took to complete the on-line tests, but in the end they got thousands from every corner of the
world, Professor Owen said.
The scientists found that no single component, or IQ, could explain all the variations revealed by
the tests. The researcher then analysed the brain circuitry of 16 participants with a hospital MRI
scanner and found that the three separate components corresponded to three distinct patterns of
neural activity in the brain.

It has always seemed to be odd that we like to call the human brain the most complex known
object in the Universe, yet many of us are still prepared to accept that we can measure brain
function by doing a few so-called IQ tests, Dr Highfield said.
For a century or more many people have thought that we can distinguish between people, or
indeed populations, based on the idea of general intelligence which is often talked about in terms
of a single number: IQ. We have shown here thats just wrong, he said.
Studies over the past 50 years based on IQ tests have suggested that there could be inherent
differences in intelligence between racial groups, social classes and between men and women,
but these conclusions are undermined by the latest findings, Dr Highfield said.
We already know that, from a scientific point of view, the notion of race is meaningless. Genetic
differences do not map on to traditional measurements of skin colour, hair type, body proportions
and skull measurements. Now we have shown that IQ is meaningless too, Dr Highfield said.

The smarter test: Try it yourself

These questions evaluate the three components of intelligence.

Candidates would be asked to remember and repeat a sequence, digits 3, 6, 1, 9, 6, 2, 5, 3 for
If Box A is twice as big as Box B and Box C is half the size of Box A, which is bigger, C or B?
Verbal skills
If you are given the statement, A does not follow B, and then shown the letter B followed by
the letter A, is the statement true or false?
Answers: Theyre both the same size; False

Defining IQ Tests
IQ tests aim to measure mental capacity using a variety of categories including verbal skills,
visual-spatial reasoning, memory and processing speed. Children who take IQ tests are provided
with a number based on how they score against their age group, which signifies whether they are
considered gifted, average, or at risk of learning and behavioural issues.
Three of the standard IQ tests used today include:
This is the most commonly used IQ test for children ages 6 to 16. Arguably the most
thorough of the bunch, the WISC-V test not only produces a full-scale IQ score, but also
produces five factor scores that measure different dimensions of functioning.
Unlike the WISC-V, this intelligence test is used for people of all ages from two-year-
old children to seniors in their late 80s. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale Fifth Edition test
measures five content areas, including fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning,
visual-spatial processing and working memory.
This IQ test focuses on cognitive ability and can be used with children ages 2 to 17. The
DAS-II test is used to measure abilities across a range of domains, such as inductive reasoning,
verbal and spatial ability.

What Does IQ really measure?
by: Michael Balter
Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures
of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity.
Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores
are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that
motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence.

Researchers have long debated what IQ tests actually measure, and whether average differences
in IQ scores--such as those between different ethnic groups--reflect differences in intelligence,
social and economic factors, or both. The debate moved heavily into the public arena with the
1994 publication of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which suggested
that the lower average IQ scores of some ethnic groups, such as African-Americans and
Hispanics, were due in large part to genetic differences between them and Caucasian groups.
That view has been challenged by many scientists. For example, in his 2009 book "Intelligence
and How to Get It," Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
argued that differences in IQ scores largely disappear when researchers control for social and
economic factors.

New work, led by Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and
reported online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the effect
of motivation on how well people perform on IQ tests. While subjects taking such tests are
usually instructed to try as hard as they can, previous research has shown that not everyone
makes the maximum effort. A number of studies have found that subjects who are promised
monetary rewards for doing well on IQ and other cognitive tests score significantly higher.
To further examine the role of motivation on both IQ test scores and the ability of IQ tests to
predict life success, Duckworth and her team carried out two studies, both reported in today's
paper. First, they conducted a "meta-analysis" that combined the results of 46 previous studies of
the effect of monetary incentives on IQ scores, representing a total of more than 2000 test-taking
subjects. The financial rewards ranged from less than $1 to $10 or more. The team calculated a
statistical parameter called Hedge's g to indicate how big an effect the incentives had on IQ
scores; g values of less than 0.2 are considered small, 0.5 are moderate, and 0.7 or higher are
Duckworth's team found that the average effect was 0.64 (which is equivalent to nearly 10 points
on the IQ scale of 100), and remained higher than 0.5 even when three studies with unusually
high g values were thrown out. Moreover, the effect of financial rewards on IQ scores increased
dramatically the higher the reward: Thus rewards higher than $10 produced g values of more
than 1.6 (roughly equivalent to more than 20 IQ points), whereas rewards of less than $1 were
only one-tenth as effective.

In the second study, Duckworth and her colleagues analyzed data from an earlier study of more
than 500 boys from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, whose IQs were tested in the late 1980s by a team
from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During the IQ test, the boys, whose average age was
12.5 years, were videotaped; then observers trained to detect signs of boredom and lack of
motivation (such as yawning, laying their heads on the table, or looking often around the room)
viewed the videos and assigned motivation scores.

Researchers followed the boys over time, and when the boys reached early adulthood (average
age 24), 251 of them agreed to a series of interviews about their educational and job
achievements (there were no differences in IQ or other key factors between those boys who
participated and those who didn't.)

Duckworth's team analyzed the results of these earlier studies to see what they said about the
relationship between motivation, IQ scores, and life success. By constructing a series of
computer models of the data, the team found that higher motivation accounted for a significant
amount of the differences in IQ scores and also in how well IQ predicted later success in life. For
example, differences in motivation levels accounted for up to 84% of the differences between the
boys in how many years of school they had completed or whether they had been able to find a
job. On the other hand, motivation differences accounted for about only 25% of the differences
in how well they had done in school as teenagers. According to the researchers, that suggests that
native intelligence does still play an important role in both IQ scores and academic achievement.

Nevertheless, the Duckworth team concludes that IQ tests are measuring much more than just
raw intelligence--they also measure how badly subjects want to succeed both on the test and later
in life. Yet Duckworth and her colleagues caution that motivation isn't everything: The lower role
for motivation in academic achievement, they write, suggests that "earning a high IQ score
requires high intelligence in addition to high motivation."
The study has important social policy implications, Duckworth says. "I hope that social
scientists, educators, and policy makers turn a more critical eye to any kind of measure,
intelligence or otherwise," she says, adding that how hard people try "could be as important to
success in life as intellectual ability itself." Duckworth suggests that admissions to programs for
"gifted and talented" children should not be based on IQ scores alone, but also on "who wants to
do the work."

Nisbett agrees that the study is "tremendously important in its implications." Motivation, along
with self-discipline, "are crucial," Nisbett says. "A high IQ and a subway token will only get you
into town."

Lex Borghans, an economist at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who has also
studied the relationship between intelligence tests and economic success, says the new report
shows that "both intelligence and personality matter." Even if native intelligence cannot be
increased, Borghans says, "there might be other routes to success."