TEFL Intelligence Testing - I.Q. versus Multiple Intelligences

The most prominent form of intelligent testing in modern life is I.Q. (?intelligence quotient?) testing; the original calculation of which was the formula 100 x mental age divided by chronological age. For example, it was worked out on chronological age averages; so if a ten year old scored as highly as the average fourteen year old, their IQ score would be 140. Although this worked well in assessing the intelligence of children, it was rather a limited methodology, with many variances, for example the difference between someone who has just turned four years old and someone who is approaching five years old is supposed to be considerable in terms of learnedness and intelligence.

Various alterations and developments were made to this original, and indeed fairly basic, IQ test during the first half of the twentieth century. Arguably the most fundamental of which was made by David Wechsler in 1939 who published the first intelligence test specifically for adults. He named this test WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale) which he subsequently developed to create one specifically for children, entitled WISC. This is still commonly used today and was ?the first intelligence test to base scores on a standardised normal distribution rather than an aged based quotient.? This then paved the path for subsequent intelligence tests, in that the majority of intelligence testing following the publication of WAIS and WAIC used normal distribution method as a form of scoring. However, if one thinks about the definition of the term ?intelligence quotient? it becomes clear that this form of scoring is inaccurate for what the intended definition is.

I.Q. tests seem to be one of those post-modern phenomenons that continually develop and change; arguably to suit the sociological needs of humanity. ?Modern I.Q. tests produce scores for different areas, (e.g., language fluency, three-dimensional think etc.), with the summary calculated from subtest scores.? There is such a plethora of the same kind of test (e.g. the original Stanford-Binet, the aforementioned WAIS/C, Raven?s Progressive Matrices, Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test, and the list goes on); but perhaps what is most interesting is that, despite their different methodologies; they all measure a single common factor with various factors which are specific to each test. ?This kind of factor analysis has led to the theory that underlying these disparative cognitive tasks is a single factor, termed the general intelligence factor, that corresponds with the common-sense concept of intelligence.?

Leading on from the term ?general intelligence factor? we come across is an increasingly popular theory developed and published by Howard Gardner; the theory of multiple intelligences. Essentially, Gardner embarked on a pursuit to understand and describe the construct of intelligence. ?According to Gardner (1999a), intelligence is much more than I.Q. because a high I.Q. in the absence of productivity does not equate to intelligence.? It seems to be that this theory opens the spectrum of definition and doing so manages to rid itself of some of the inconsistencies in the aforementioned I.Q. tests. The testing is, as the title suggests, a broader one and therefore, in many way, holds more weight in representing something which is so complicated that it would be detrimental to restrict it. It could be said that Gardner conquered this. There are eight different intelligences in Gardner?s theory:

1.Linguistic Intelligence

2.Logical- mathematical intelligence

3.Spatial intelligence

4.Bodily- Kinesthetic intelligence

5.Musical intelligence

6.Interpersonal intelligence

7.Intrapersonal intelligence

8.Naturalist intelligence

So whilst the Welscher scales and the Stanford Binet tests (what we would refer to as I.Q. tests) remain the most widely used today, it seems that the future of intelligent testing may, and arguably, should lie in Gardner?s multiple intelligence testing. Whilst the Welscher and Stanford Binet tests are psychometrically valid; it could, and indeed has, been argued that they only measure linguistic and logical intelligences and thus the focus is seen to be too narrow. Gardner?s test measures a spectrum of intelligences, inclusive of those in the I.Q. tests and is therefore more conceptual as a method. I believe that for this reason, it will become increasingly widely used in measuring the intelligences of children and adults alike.


2. ibid


4. www.indiana.ed/mitheoryl

Author: Claire Couriel

Date of post: 2007-02-06