What's An I.Q., And Is It Actually Useful In Determining Intelligence?

What's An I.Q., And Is It Actually Useful In Determining Intelligence?

Can an online, 20-question test really be that accurate?
109
views

So, I took an I.Q. test this week, possibly for the first time. I say possibly because I may have taken one before during rounds of educational testing, but never remembered how it worked, what it asked, or most importantly, how I did. And because I couldn't remember this little nugget of information, I spent a portion of my Wednesday afternoon taking a quick test online, because, why not?

Of course, I was inherently skeptical of the results, as well as the design of the questions. And so, in typical fashion, I started researching.

A brief history of the I.Q. test:

A psychologist named Alfred Binet was asked by the French government in the early 1900s to find a way to predict how successful children would be in school. Since they had recently passed a law that required all children to attend school, they were curious to see if there was a way to measure how much assistance a specific child would need. And so, Binet and his colleague Theodore Simon started developing a questionnaire that would, ideally, test students on their abilities to remember information, be attentive, and problem-solve. The two developed the Binet-Simon scale in hopes of defining intelligence using a single number. However, they ran into the problem that some children had a higher "mental age" than others within the same age group.

Binet became frustrated with his own work, and at a certain point figured that intelligence was simply too broad and complex to be measured in such a way. But test development did not stop there. The test was soon brought to the United States, where Lewis Terman made revisions and standardized the test for U.S. use. The scale was then renamed the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scale, which is now more commonly referred to as the I.Q., or Intelligence Quotient Scale.

Since then, the scale has gone through numerous adaptations and revisions, including Alpha and Beta tests for WWI recruits, as well as the more in depth WAIS test, which was developed in 1955. This being said, the I.Q. test is still very popular as a way of estimating mental aptitude.

How it works:

In it's most simplistic form, an I.Q. score is an equation that spits out a number that falls somewhere along the bell curve.

The numbers appear as standard deviations from the average, which is anywhere between 85 to 100. Numbers above 100 indicate higher and higher mental aptitude, while the opposite is reflected in numbers below 85.

But how do we get that singular number?

The I.Q. test was designed to find your "mental age" and compare it against your current or chronological age. After those two variables are determined, they are plugging into a rather simple equation:

M.A. (Mental Age) / C.A. (Chronological Age) x 100 = IQ

To demonstrate, say a 10-year-old student takes the exam and the test adds up to be about 12. Their I.Q. score, after the numbers are plugged in accordingly, is around 120.

What makes I.Q. testing problematic?

Admittedly, I had issues with this test before I'd even finished the exam. After taking two exams, and having gotten results from one, I'd created a rather involved mental list of questions, comments and concerns. And granted, I took both of those online, and they may not have been accurate, but in my personal experience so far, there are a few issues to sort out.

For one, there are only 20 questions. Now, points for efficiency, but I've had finals that are only covering 10 weeks of my life at about five times as many questions. How can 20 questions give an adequate reading of an entire life's worth of intelligence? And the questions themselves were already problematic. Almost all 20, in both versions, were about noticing patterns, or being able to complete math problems. But intelligence is not just about being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide. This department specifically is where I think the WAIS exam takes the cake, as it tests for four major areas of intelligence, not just one or two.

Moving past my own experience with online I.Q. exams, the concept alone that the exam is a correct indicator of how you will fair in school and in life is almost ridiculous. It's seen time and time again that one of the quickest ways to identify a child with learning disabilities is that their I.Q. score is often extremely high, while their ability to do well in the classroom can be quite the opposite -- that, and sometimes the fact that people are just poor test takers. There are so many variables to consider that it makes it difficult to believe that a test like this is able to produce an accurate score.

The test itself also comes with a shaky background. The I.Q. test used to be a requirement for all people trying to immigrate to the United States through Ellis Island. However, sometimes these individuals did not speak the language. But even if there wasn't a language barrier, the questions at the time were laced with cultural references and nuances that made it almost impossible for the test to be biased towards American-born citizens.

And finally, probably the biggest issue of all is the assumptions that these numbers bring along with them. There are longstanding beliefs that knowledge and intelligence are linked to certain subjects, and that some strengths are better than others. A single number cannot accurately reflect how likely someone is to be successful, or what their strengths and weaknesses are.

All that being said, I'll admit, I enjoyed taking the tests, even if I'm not quite sure I believe it's a true measure of intelligence. People are still developing methods to more accurately measure human intelligence and aptitude. But it is important to understand that with all of these tests and measurements, not everyone learns the same or thinks the same. The brain is complicated and still a mystery to us in many ways.

Cover Image Credit: lojaonlineconsultoria.com

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

694935
views

To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
646
views

Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

Related Content

Facebook Comments