IQ Tests and Some Frightening Implications

Thanks to Joseph S. from Montreal for passing along this article from the New Scientist  which presents some of the problems with IQ testing and the results obtained, and how their accuracy can lead to some disastrous results for people.  Although the article deals with US inmates, the implications and arguments are certainly applicable to the work we do with kids.  “First do no harm”!  A good reminder that we need to know our tools and our clients very, very well before we can accurately interpret our assessment results.

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2 Responses to “IQ Tests and Some Frightening Implications”


  1. 1 Don Saklofske August 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    The problem is not intelligence tests or even the construct of intelligence. It is how we chose to interpret the ‘measures’ and decide on ‘what’ they mean and what we should do with them. Intelligence in these cases is confounded with law, culture, values, beliefs, etc..
    But to add a bit here… the Flynn effect is used quite often in court cases in USA states where capital punishment is still practiced. I would encourage readers to consult a special issue of the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment (2010, 28,5) in which Jim Flynn and other informed psychologists such as Alan Kaufman, Bob Sternberg and Cecil Reynolds discussed the Flynn Effect in various contexts including captial punishment cases.
    AND a second point… A common measurement theme is that ‘tests are neutral, it is what we do with them that make them useful/uesless, good/bad, etc.

    So much like the court cases of the 70/s-80’s where intelligence tests were put on ‘trial’, the issue here is not the tests but how we chose to use them and the ‘data’ they provide us.
    cheers
    don saklofske

    • 2 Joseph S August 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      … and to add a little bit extra to that second point, it’s not just what we do with the tests and data but also the context in which we do it!


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