Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What's your I.Q.?

Now that I've got your attention. What does an I.Q. score represent and mean for you? A textbook response would be "one's learning potential." But do you buy that? We all have our own belief and bias in defining this abstract attribute. I know I do.

One professor I had in graduate school once told our class that after taking all the I.Q. tests available at the time, she scored from as low as the 70's to as high as the 130's. In other words, anywhere between the two standard deviations above and below the mean. Well, she does have a Ph.D., you know. So...what does an I.Q. score really measure, or measure?

10 Comments:

Blogger mmarchino said...

I don't understand exactly what an I.Q. measures. I understand the text book response, but that doesn't necessarily predict a student's achievement in class. Achievement then is not always an accurate description of the student's ability. This opens a whole can of worms! Then we have to ask, who do we teach to in class? Do we challenge the brightest students? Do we meet the needs of the student who needs modifications or accommodations?

Often times a high I.Q. is followed by some disability that a student is challenged by. Why do we test I.Q. except to maybe understand why a "smart" kid is underachieving. I find value in understanding where a student might struggle and where we can help in the classroom.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Caroline S said...

What about the EQ? The emotional part of the IQ I beleive is a hugh part of the make up of an individual.
How a person realtes to others. Making responsiable decsions and how they live their life is what really the IQ is about.

11:13 AM  
Blogger rayh said...

Great question Ching-Yen!I struggled my entire career with the issue of test scores. I often found them to be clues when I was stuggling to understand a student, but is taken to seriously and out of context while excluding all of the other information we might gather about a student, it could easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.In the rapid pace we find ourselves in, we are often unable to use the data we gather in an appropriate way with all the people who might be able to contribute insights in a meaningful way.I do feel that if we can just ask staff, if they have questions about a student, to begin toask questions of others and start gathering as much data as possible,even if it is initially via e-mail, we can begin to get a bigger picture about why/how a student is performing. To me that is the most valuable data which includes that EQ.

12:06 PM  
Blogger K Schneider said...

Ching-Yen-
As a special education teacher I can't believe that we haven't talked about this with each other yet! This year has been particularly hectic with all the referrals in special education for testing to determine whether a student is eligible for services.

The average person "should" have I.Q. and educational testing scores in roughly the same range. As we keep testing these students I'm continually amazed by the students who end up with a lower I.Q. than their educational testing score. This indicates to me that they are performing, usually, miles above where we would expect them to be. I believe that this ties into the nuture/nature discussion. Our students have every opportunity available to them in their nurturing environments to succeed, usually levels above their "I.Q." would suggest. With that in mind I think I'll go read a book to my own children.

9:03 AM  
Blogger tstlouis said...

Unfortunately, the validity of IQ tests is largely based on the strength of its correlation with the Stanford-Binet, the original formal IQ test authored decades ago. Binet devised the test to help identify students who struggle in school so that they could get the extra help they needed. Subsequent IQ tests, such as the WISC or WAIS became popular because they “proved” to test IQ simply because their scores correlated highly with the Stanford test. What, exactly, any of these tests actually measure is still a mystery.
More recent research into intelligence, such as Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences, will struggle in the mainstream because Gardner’s “intelligences” are immeasurable by conventional methods. In other words, it doesn’t correlate (nor was it meant to) with the Stanford-Binet or Wechler scales.
I think that IQ tests play a vital role in helping to identify students in need, but their use beyond that is questionable.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Cheryl S. said...

This is a hot topic with all of the IDEA legislation moving us toward an RTI (response to intervention) model for determining special services intervention. It is my understanding that "they" don't want IQ to be a consideration in determination of a disability. I've always compared my Standard Scores on formalized testing w/ the IQ scores to see if the student's performance for speech-language is commensurate with ability. Without this comparison...there are interesting days ahead in qualification for special services!

2:37 PM  
Blogger ChingyenG said...

The E.Q. ties into the discussion with the "behavioral grade" the other day, don't you think? Wow, the plot thickens.

3:32 PM  
Blogger MickiL said...

I have always struggled with standardized testing, such as the I.Q. test. I really do not know when the I.Q. test is given and if it is given. Can someone answer this? How is it used in decisions that are made regarding the education of a student. Caroline mentioned E.Q. I have always felt that a students emotional intelligence is just as important if not more than I.Q. If a student does not have their basic needs met at home how can they be successful? If they are hungry, abused, or neglected that will effect their ability to learn. I have always struggled with standardized tests because they don't take into consideration these factors. We spend millions of dollars on testing, could that money be used in a more productive way in education? I think so... however, I don't think this sort of testing will go away or even be reduced.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Mwiebe said...

My favorite definition of intelligent is "the ability to survive and thrive in ones environment." When I think about what it takes to survive and thrive in different cultures around the world and throughout history, the idea of IQ seems silly.
As many of you have said, I also am not a big fan of standardized tests. I really buy in to Gardner's multiple intelligences and think that defining "smart" based on any one test is ridiculous.
Even if those who score higher on an IQ test are really more intelligent, it means nothing if they can't apply themselves and work hard. Like Tom said, I think one of the reasons that people base so much on IQ tests is that they are easily quantifiable. It is almost impossible to quantify "work ethic" or "emotional maturity" etc. and that is one reason why these measures aren't used. Also, I have read (I'm sorry I can't recall where, but it was at some point in Grad School) that the single strongest predictor of IQ test success is the amount of reading one does as a child. If that is indeed true, that immediately biases the test against those who are economically disadvantaged or whose parents don't value reading.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Sally G said...

When I was in high school, IQ scores were considered the foundation of effective education: by determining a child's potential, one could then, of course, create a learning environment that effectively addressed that students capacities and limitations. I'm not sure I bought that concept then. I am sure I do not now.

We have developed so many evaluative numbers to label our students, that I wonder at how effective IQ scores really are in the long run. And as a side note, one of the reasons I decided to marry my ex-husband was because his IQ was higher than mine. Laugh if you will, but it seemd like an "intelligent" thing to do at the time. Obviously, I should hav emy head exmained!

3:13 PM  

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