Monday, April 29, 2013

Testing for Competence Rather than for Intelligence

In this article by David C. McClelland, McClelland describes the effects of testing. Intelligence and aptitude tests have been used everywhere in schools, colleges, and in the workplace. The tests have tremendous power over the lives of people stamping them as “qualified” or “less qualified” McClelland says. McClelland asks why intelligence or aptitude tests have such power to label individuals and how the tests place them in society. McClelland explains how the tests should have a certain validity to them. McClelland explains how the tests predict grades in school. How valid are they as predictors? McClelland states that researchers have in fact had great difficulty demonstrating that grades in school are related to any other behaviors of importance other than doing well on aptitude tests. McClelland points out in a book titled “Education and Jobs: The Great Training Robbery” in it shows studies that show neither amount of education nor grades in school are related to vocational success as a factory worker, bank teller, or air traffic controller. Superior on-the-job performance is related in no way to better grades in college. McClelland then raises the question in which he asks why keep the best education for those who are already doing well at the games. Further through the article, McClelland asks whether or not the IQ test can tell us anything of practical importance. Mclelland believes that the IQ test are related to our commonsense notions about mental ability as we ordinarily think of it in connection with educational and occupational performance. The IQ obtained after 9 or 10 years of age also predicts final adult occupational status to as high a degree as it predicts scholastic performance. The average IQ within a person’s occupation is closelt related to that occupations standing in terms of average income and the amount of prestige given by the general public. In a particular study, by Ghiselli, reported a correlation of .26 between IQ intelligence test scores and proficiency as  a policeman or a detective with no attention given to the very important issues involved in how a policeman’s performance is to be evaluated.  Kent & Eisenberg’s research shows no stable, significant relationship relating test scores to police performance. In which it provides evidence that one must view with considerable skepticism the assumed relation of intelligence test scores to success on the job. 

-Shao Chien Lin (Tim Lin)

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