You have probably heard of IQ, if not the IQ test, at least once in a lifetime. You will hear people talk of one being a genius, maybe because of having a higher IQ. Intelligence quotient (IQ) is normally obtained as a total score of standard tests that assess human intelligence. An IQ test is used to determine people’s cognitive abilities and assess people’s intellectual levels. Most IQ tests are done on children, but some are used on adults. Commonly used IQ tests include the cognitive assessment system, Stanford-Binet intelligence scale, Kaufman Assessment Battery for children, Wechsler intelligence scale for children, and Woodcock-Johnson tests of cognitive abilities, among many others. Individuals with an IQ score of 130+ are considered very superior, while people with a 69 and below are considered to have an intellectual disability.
Pros of IQ testing
1. It helps identify gifted people: IQ test normally helps recognize individuals with above-average intellectual abilities. The above-average group of people may struggle at school or work due to the endurance of high-stress levels and boredom. The test helps identify the problem early and start a faster learning process. It helps to solve and prevent underachievement and behavioral problems that may develop later.
2. Assists in understanding how the brain functions: Data collected from intelligence tests from different people across the globe helps to acquire information on how the brain functions. The information obtained can improve the curriculum used in schools and enhance better and more effective learning.
3. Provides important diagnostic insights: It is normally hard to define innate intelligence and how it functions. Factors such as mental processing speed, reasoning abilities, or working memory may not rely on learned knowledge. IQ test helps identify areas of strength and weakness and develop a solution.
4. Can be exciting and fun: Most people are curious about what score they would come out with within an IQ test. It may seem more competition to find out who would come out on top. It can be an exciting and fun process to undergo as several individuals are evaluated based on their cognitive abilities.
5. Can identify ‘weak’ students early: IQ testing helps identify students who have difficulties in education. It helps adjust the education program to fit the gaps in their cognitive abilities. When the challenges are identified earlier, possible solutions may be initiated early.
6. Prevents misdiagnosis: In a classroom setting, a teacher may expect much from those with high IQ without bearing in mind that they may be facing challenges in the learning environment. Sometimes children may not be identified as gifted and might be misdiagnosed as a result of their behavior which leads to unnecessary medication. Approximately 20% of gifted students drop out of school due to depression and anxiety.
7. Helps in following-up impacts of education: Based on the data collected from IQ tests, the Wechsler scale, to be specific, suggests that IQ has risen about 20 points during the 20th century. Formal childhood education and increasing problem-solving subjects such as math greatly contribute to cognitive growth. Data collected can be used to establish the impacts on childhood education.
8. Assists in educating disabled students: Low grades at school may not necessarily mean low intelligence. Individuals might be facing learning disabilities that can go unrecognized. Some disabilities may include dyscalculia, writing disability, and language disability. IQ test helps to rule out writing disabilities and language disabilities. IQ test helps to rule out low IQ, which helps identify the cause of low grades in school.
9. Used for military reasons: Some nations may use IQ to recruit into the army. IQ tests may be done in the military for not high school graduates. IQ test also helps identify leaders in their ranks and helps recognize those with special skills.
10. Helps in channeling more resources: IQ tests help identify students with learning challenges, which makes parents or guardians and other educators provide more resources for the students.
Cons of IQ testing
1. Leads to identification using labels: People who may be referred to as being ‘gifted’ or genius may develop unrealistic self-confidence in what they can do. They might look down upon others and make them look superior to others. Those with a lower IQ may have low esteem and lack the motivation to learn or work.
2. Not all forms of intelligence are measured: IQ tests measure or focus on one form of intelligence, which can be challenging to identify whether people are gifted. People can be gifted or talented in music, verbal skills, and kinetic and intrapersonal intelligence. With limited ways of identifying or measuring different kinds of intelligence, it may be challenging to identify areas of strength and weakness.
3. It is hard to develop an independent test: Developing or coming up with an IQ test that doesn’t rely on a person’s culture or learning process can be difficult. Experts have tried to do away with the bias in the measurement tool but haven’t found a solution.
4. Can lead to stereotypes: When people take an IQ test, they might believe that they are smart or stupid based on the results. However, several factors contribute to IQ scores, such as socioeconomic factors and the type of school attended by a person.
5. A few items are tested: Mostly, the IQ test focuses on the reading aspect, scientific principles, and mathematical knowledge. It doesn’t include the basic creative skills of how people survive in the real world.
6. Can not be effective in assessing people with unique challenges: IQ tests can be hard in assessing people with autism and their cognitive abilities. It is a fact that people have various ways of expressing themselves, be it verbally or by use of actions. It can be challenging to assessors who want you to meet their own set of requirements; therefore, you might not display the real you.
7. Leads to segregation and lack of diversity in class: Students will start identifying themselves as either with the highest scores or lowest in the scenario where an IQ test is done in school. The students will start separating themselves from others, and one group wouldn’t like to interact with the other.
8. Minimizes chances for specialized assessment and programming: IQ tests done, especially in the united states, assist in resource allocation. However, when the test is done, and individuals perform well, then they are allocated fewer resources which leads to a lack of specialized programs to solve those that might be facing challenges.
9. It encourages memorization: Just like any other test, individuals would prepare for the test for weeks before doing the test. It leads to higher scores and may be less effective as a data evaluation tool.
10. Inconsistent use: IQ tests are used inconsistently in that some schools may rely on them to identify individuals with gifts, and some may not. Schools may use other procedures to identify talents in their students. As a result of different tests performed, choosing which method is best isn’t easy.