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How Accurate Are Standard Iq Tests

It is very common for people to take IQ tests nowadays as a way to assess their intelligence. However, some people may be doubtful whether IQ tests give an accurate representation of a person's level of intelligence. In order for us to determine whether standard IQ tests are accurate, we can start by learning about the background of IQ tests.

Background of IQ Tests

Sir Frances Galton was one of the first scientists to introduce the Intelligence Quotient Test. This British scientist conducted research and made comparisons of different people according to their abilities to accomplish certain tasks. His study assured him that there must be a way to measure human intelligence. After Galton, a different kind of IQ test was developed by Alfred Binet, a French psychologist. Along with Theodore Simon, Binet developed tests for memory, vocabulary, practical knowledge, reasoning, and problem solving skills. In comparison to Galton's test, the Binet-Simon IQ test was more accurate in predicting academic success, and it is still the standard formula from which many of today's intelligence tests were derived. Alfred Binet's test was brought to the United States by Henry Goddard. There, the formula was revised by Lewis Terman, and a new scoring system was developed. With this scoring system, a person's IQ test score will be judged against the performance of people of the same age.

Accuracy of standard IQ Tests

Are standard IQ tests really accurate? People often wonder why some people who are bright in class don't do so well in IQ tests. On the other hand, those who don't do well in class may excel in IQ tests. This doesn't mean that IQ tests aren't accurate. It only means that some people are smarter when it comes to logic and reasoning, while others have better memory skills. Because school examinations cover such a wide array of topics, it is difficult to judge the overall intelligence of a person. Students may do well for one or two subjects that they are exceptionally good at, while scoring lower marks for subjects that they are not so interested in. There are people with low IQ test scores that do very well for their exams and the reason behind this may be just that they have studied harder than others. This has nothing to do with logic and reasoning skills; it is just a matter of determination and hard work. Therefore, the definition of intelligence is a continuous debate.

IQ Tests for single and multiple abilities

People also wonder whether intelligence is just a measure for a single ability or several different abilities. Are you considered generally intelligent if you're only good in Mathematics? Or are you considered intelligent in Mathematics and just average in overall intelligence? It all depends on how you see it. Today's IQ tests are accurate as long as you take into consideration the aspects of intelligence they measure. Intelligence is still something that cannot be defined by a universal value. A genius may show exceptional intelligence in a certain field of study, but he can be quite slow-witted in other subjects. Is such a person considered intelligent?

Multiple IQ tests are generally more accurate, because they assess a person's intelligence in different fields of mental abilities as well as give a more accurate account of a person's overall intelligence. In multiple IQ tests, a person's scores from various standard IQ tests will be added up and then divided to produce an average. One good thing about taking multiple IQ tests is that you reduce the effects of certain variations in environmental factors, such as stress and mood.

How environmental factors can affect the accuracy of IQ tests?

Studies show that a standard IQ test is an accurate measure of a person's intelligence, only that there are certain environmental factors that can affect it. It has been proven that results from the score of a standard IQ test may vary up to 15 points, if the person who is being tested is affected by factors such as mood, anxiety, emotions and biochemistry. In order to lessen the effects of these environmental factors, many people choose to take multiple IQ tests instead of single standard IQ tests, simply because the former gives a more accurate representation of intelligence.
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Article Added on Friday, April 25, 2008
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