Iq testing1

Evolution of Intelligence Testing

  • Introduction

    This timeline will guide you through the abridged evolution of our understanding of intelligence over the last 100 years.
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    A Shift in Ownership

    Prior to the 1900s, the definition of intelligence was the domain of education philosophers. A great shift has occured in the last 100 years towards a phsychometric approach, where intelligence can be defined and measured, as opposed to the philosophic approach, which relied more on theory (Goldstein, 133).
  • Common Sense

    Alfred Binet, contributor to the Stanford Binet LM (which measures intelligence), in 1907 defined intelligence as common sense, initiative, and the ability to adapt (Goldstein, 133). However, common sense is different depending on culture, context, and age, for example.
  • Unified Intelligence

    David Wechsler, author of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), defined intelligence as a singular concept - sub categories like vocabulary and comprehension were not different types of intelligence, but different measures of the same intelligence. Weschsler defined intelligence as the global ability to interpret and act effectively in the environment (Goldstein, 133-134)
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    Improvements to Standardized Intelligence Tests

    During this time (1985-present) standardized tests were updated to reflect theories of intelligence (a throw-back to the philosophical approaches prior to 1900). Testing intelligence requires a definition of the kind of intelligence being tested, but lacks guidance practical application for results. The shift in 1985 re-applies theories of intelligence (for example, Gardner's Multiple Intelligences), giving practitioners direction in what to do with the results of testing (Goldstein, 134).
  • More Dimensions

    The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children reaches the fourth edition, and now includes more dimensions of intelligence. A similar process has occurred in other standardized tests, part of a general broadening of what is measured as contributing to intelligence (Goldstein, 134).
  • Even Broader

    Cattell–Horn–Carroll theory (CHC),which has 9 broad abilities and 70 narrow abilities, is applied to most standardized intelligence tests. CHC theory assumes multiple intelligences and is shown to improve the validity of many standard intelligence tests for individuals with exceptionalities or for individuals from minority or non-North American cultural background. 5 out of 7 of the most popular tests are modified with CHC theory in mind, including the WISC (Goldstein, 134).
  • Context Matters

    The American Psychological Association publishes a report that argues that intelligence is the ability of an individual to adapt effectively to the environment, learn from experience, and overcome challenges purposefully. Added to this definition is the condition that an individual's performance will be affected by the context of the situation in which the test occured (Goldstein, 133).
  • IDEIA Act

    The United States Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act encourages a move away from testing general ability towards specific psychological processes, which in more in line with Multiple Intelligence Theory (Goldstein, 134)
  • Conclusion

    The past century of intelligence testing has yielded a multifaceted view of intelligence. We started with a "common sense" definition, moved to a unified idea of intelligence based on abilities, and then broadened that idea to a theory of intelligence being dependent on context or situation. Finally, we have added multiple types of intelligence. Testing has driven the evolution of our concept of intelligence by quantifiably showing inconsistencies between our conceptualizations and results.