Evolution of the IQ Test and Its Impact on Primary School Curriculum

Evolution of the IQ Test and Its Impact on Primary School Curriculum

The IQ test can evoke a pleasure/pain response for most people. If you scored highly you were a genius, a moderate score meant you were average, and a low score was the kiss of death. Depending on a score set by a predetermined number of questions on a test paper, children at the primary school level are given guideline, which will affect them for the rest of their lives.

To understand how the IQ test has affected people and the way in which it has, one must learn something about the IQ test, its birth and evolution into the mainstream, check my source. Only then can one begin to digest the positive and negative effects on both educators and the educated.

Sir Francis Galton developed an interest in what makes humans unique and how this occurs in the late nineteenth century. Galton was primarily a mathematician, but the theory of evolution, which had been offered to world scrutiny by his cousin Charles Darwin, greatly intrigued him, and he sought out a way to categorize the differences in human beings.

Galton held a theory that some family lines are genetically stronger than others. This could account for families that have many intellectuals in their numbers.

Galton thought that intelligence was passed down through the generations of a family. To this end, he was noted for introducing the concept of selective breeding, in which, for instance, two highly intelligent people could be mated, and they in turn would produce a smarter child. This proposal never caught on, or data cards, computer matches and petri dishes may have replaced the idea of courting, romance and marriage.

Around 1884, Galton introduced his first test. He measured the head size, sight, hearing, reactions and memory of around 9000 visitors to the London Exhibition. His only concrete finding was size did not affect someone’s intellectual level. A bigger head does not make someone smarter, just more difficult to buy a turtleneck sweater for!

French psychologist Alfred Binet devised the first modern IQ test in the latter part of the 19th century. He did this in response to a request of the French authorities. They wished to identify children who would not be able to keep to with the new school curriculum.

This most likely set the precedence of ‘special education’. The French government had made schooling mandatory for all children an suddenly there as a need to segregate children according to learning abilities.

It was thought these tests could determine not only an intelligence level, but determine a testee’s mental age. In theory, as someone get older, their abilities become greater and more complex, and thus their ability to perform on a higher scale of intelligence test. The linking of a mental age as determined by a test, coupled with the chronological age, as determined by birth, often ascertains the level and type of education a child receives.

Intelligence Testing of Children

Intelligence Testing of Children

I would like to use the example as given in the text ‘Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology‘ in reference to testing of children. Also I would like put forth for your consideration, a profile of an American school student who took administered test every 2-3 years as prescribed by the school administration, and how it shaped her education.

The testing that Binet developed has been widely used all over the world. As noted in the text, the test was adapted for American schoolchildren by Lewis Terman, who was based at Stanford University in California.

These test were given to thousands of children and though this he developed age-level indicators. In 1916, his tests were made available to the general school population and for public scrutiny.

These tests, which were called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, are still in use today, although it has been revised many times throughout the 1900s.

Throughout the revision Binet’s concept of mental age has been retained. It is the idea that mental age as compared to chronological age is what determines IQ.

The Stanford-Binet test was divided into four categories that are rendered age appropriate. Following is an example of a test for 6-8 year olds, group by subject area:

Verbal Reasoning

Test ObjectExplanation

Vocabulary Word Definition

Comprehension Ascertain answer to a given question

Absurdities Identify humorous part of a picture

Verbal Relations Identify sequences for likeness and differencesQuantitative ReasoningQuantitative Mathematical tasks

Number Series Identify factors in sequences

Equation building Build equation from given set of numbers Abstract/Visual ReasoningPattern Analysis Copy simple designs

Copying Copy geometrical drawing Short term memoryBead Memory Reproduce bead pattern

Sentence memory Repeat sentences

Digit memory Repeat series of numbers, forward and backward

Object memory identify objects correctly in order of appearance

This test is routinely given every 2-4 years to access a child’s development. However these tests are not just used to access a child’s development.

With regard to the aforementioned testing, I would now like to profile my case study student and illustrate the testing on their academic climate.

This student began her education in an American nursery school at age three. In this setting the children learn colors, numbers and alphabet. At age five she began formal schooling.

Ages 5-11 the student was in primary school. She took standardized tests in grades one, three and five. Ages 12-14 were spent in junior high school and standard testing was administered at grades six and eight.

Once the student entered high school at age 14 only one standard test was given and this was in grade 10. IN grade 12, two standardized tests are given, one called the Minimum Essentials Test to assure that minimum educational standards have been met in various school subject areas. The final tests are the Scholastic Aptitude Tests, or SATs for short.

The SATs are the means by which college placement is achieved for all students entering higher education at age 18. Poor performance on this test limits the options a student is given in terms of college choice and to a lesser degree, course of study.

Because tests like the SATs are administered in groups, students are accessed by how their scores rank in terms to that of other testee’s. I am of the opinion that this has given some students disadvantages in receiving an education at a higher level/

If a student is unable to reach a predetermined score, they may be relegated to a two-year college to try and up their scores so they may secure placement at a four-year university. Often students who are made to go this route take some of the courses at the two-year college, but fail to obtain the two-year degree, let alone the four-year degree.

The case study student highlighted completed all tests, but did not perform highly on the SATs and was relegated to the two-year college, and did not finish her degree. This student showed strength for writing, communications and music and a weakness for mathematics. Had emphasis been placed on her strengths instead of pushing the child to fit a mold, her education might have been furthered.

opinion that IQ tests are not a bad thing

It is my opinion that IQ tests are not a bad thing. They are needed to ascertain a starting grid for a child’s education. But I feel that to use a child’s aptitude is more detrimental that helpful.

Since it is a known fact that all people learn in different ways, I feel students would be best served by determining how they learn, and then adjust testing to this medium.

Determining how a child learns is tantamount to giving them an education that will give them the building blocks for which to attain the highest potential. / And it should be in this way that a person in tested for intelligence level.

Evolution of the IQ Test and Its Impact on Primary School Curriculum
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