Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Case Against Group I.Q. Testing

Julius Yourman is the author of this article, who argues the insufficiency of this form of IQ testing. There are two major types of IQ testing: individual and group administered tests. Individual tests focus on one person at a time, and address more specificities about an individual. The Group IQ Testing is more like a survey, and is geared towards objectively understanding a population’s intelligence.

However, Yourman argues the flaws of this form of testing and proposes to improve it by means of a test called “Achievement Testing:” a standardized test that eliminates the flaws of mass testing by being more individualized, more related with teacher interactions, and using simulated learning situations.  

His argument is that the results are obsolete, as a result of calculating an average from all schools in an area: where there are vast concentrations of higher education and lower education. By averaging the two, the results become redundant and can even prove to be ethnocentric.  He begins the article stating that New York City’s Board of Education is currently debating discontinuing group testing, as it has proven to have invalid results. The original purpose was to provide a test that offered all children equal opportunity: no trick questions.

Overall, the concept of group testing is practical, as it pertains to an entire population’s intelligence rather than just an individual. However, by leveling the playing field, the results become skewed. It also disregarded environmental and psychological factors that affect intelligence. The teacher-pupil relationship is ignored in today’s Group ID Testing, which is another major flaw.

So, since it disregarded this very crucial material, no wonder the results were obsolete.  When the group IQ testing is executed in our society, it is inaccurate because there are wide ranges of school environments with varying cultures, which corrupts the data.

One example of this average group ID testing is seen in the movie Forrest Gump, when Forrest’s teacher shows his below-average score on the chart: much lower than the rest of the students. And that scene was set was back in the 1950s, so imagine how different the testing must have been.

What if we expanded on Yourman’s proposal of Achievement Testing? Instead, what if the tests were held in the student’s very own classrooms? 

This would make more sense to just provide individual tests in the classroom environment that are relevant to their cultural institutions. By taking everyone in a region, how can it possibly calculate an accurate average IQ? The test could also be distributed multiple times a school year, to gage any fluctuation in intelligence (bad days, mood swings, etc. could affect a student’s result). This method would also determine the quality of the teachers, and what kind of responsibility they have with the children. In reality, the relationship between the teacher and student is the most important, as all learning is relative. Every student is different in the way they learn, so how can averaging a bunch of scores together prove anything?

To make the situation even more interesting, let’s remove those with an English handicap, or struggle with reading. Some would argue this would make the results even more valid and useful. This would, instead, calculate only the average student body’s IQs.   

Here’s a link to the article.


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