Authentic Signs of Intelligence That Can’t Be Faked

 

Intelligence is your brain’s capacity to deal with a wide range of thoughts and ideas.

Like most things, therefore, intelligence is a process.

It is not a static state.

It is not something you either have or don’t.

Your brain is something you cultivate.

Intelligence stems fundamentally from thinking.

Thinking is a choice. It requires one essential thing: effort.

Thought is work. Thought is effort.

Thinking develops your brain. It increases your intellectual power and range.

Non-thought, corollarily, is something you can change.

You become brilliant.

You learn to be smart.

You are not afraid of new ideas because you know your brain can measure and weigh and test these new ideas — in the same way your brain can create new onomatopoeias.

A cultivated mind is an intelligent mind.

It is also beautiful and strange and rather difficult to find.

Thought is both the source and also the end result: it is the goal. It is the driving force.

It is an end in itself.

Intelligence is your ability to think.

This ability can be habituated and developed, or not, depending on what you prefer to do with your time.

You know you’re in the presence of a brain that’s been cultivated when you see some of the following:

Fast, fluid handwriting that’s legible.

There’s a misbegotten notion that illegibility is a sign of a smart person when in actuality it’s the other way around:

People who write legibly want to be understood. Thus they make an effort to present themselves clearly, which takes brain power. Quick, clear handwriting shows practice and patience, which in turn shows development.

Quick wit almost invariably signals that someone’s mind has been cultivated:

Wit is mental sharpness. It is cognitive acuity. It is keenness.

Similarly — and for the same reasons — people who like to laugh, and who in turn like to make others laugh, are frequently smart.

A sharp sense of time and direction show brain power.

Why?

Because a sharp sense of time and direction indicate attention and focus.

The choice to focus or not is the seat of human thought.

The choice to pay attention is where it begins — and ends. It is the locus.

Smart people, virtually by definition, are also more curious.

They are thus more tolerant of ambiguity, just as they are also more tolerant of differences in others — grasping, as they do, what for many of us is blindingly obvious:

The brain is a complicated place, and largely, for this reason, no two people are alike. This basic act of apprehension gives any person who performs it a more complex and more subtle and more sophisticated mode of thinking.

Obsessive worry is a strong indicator of intelligence because it discloses a racing mind that’s never at rest but always thinking, always considering.

This is why some of the greatest thinkers and innovators in world history were monomaniacal ruminators.

Smart people like to read for fun.

People who take active pleasure in reading, rather than doing so out of duty or reading purely for information, unquestionably have brains they’ve worked to cultivate — which means, among other things, “avid readers have better memory function, communication skills, and focus” (source).

Truly intelligent people like to often be alone.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re introverted (although they can be), nor does it mean they don’t like spending any time with friends and other people.

Rather, intelligent people prefer a lot of privacy and space, just as they prefer to pick and choose the time they spend among others because they are independent and they value their independence, in part because it gives them time to think, as well as time to relax.

Smart people, understand, genuinely smart people, as against the book-smart and the pedantic and all the other imposters, are autonomous and have the authentic confidence that can only come from thought and the comprehension that thinking fosters.

Smart people are self-aware.

And because they are self-aware, smart people recognize their mistakes and failures, and they learn from them.

Self-awareness and insight into self is, incidentally, one of the few foolproof signs of intelligence.

People who can argue articulately and convincingly — and from many different angles — have, to that extent, clearly cultivated their brains:

Their minds through practice are able to move nimbly from one idea to another, like a long-legged river-spider skating upon the water.

Yet they are often slow to speak and swift to hear:

Genuinely smart people almost invariably consider what they’re going to say before they say it. Their brain is honed in such a way that it’s quicker than their mouth.

What, after all, does it mean to be smart?

It means to stylize your brain, like a work of art.

It means to cultivate your thoughts for as long as you’re alive — cultivate your thoughts as if they’re the plants of a living garden.

Cultivate them, yes, before your ideas, only partially thought through, ooze into dogma and then fully harden.

It means to observe the universe around you, as well as the one within: to introspect, as thoughtful people do.

It means to be intelligent, like you.

[This is excerpted from a free video course I recently taught, which you can download here. Please do!]

Published in Education
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  1. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    MarciN (View Comment):
    In the nooks and crannies of the human mind are all kinds of potential we cannot begin to imagine.

    How beautifully poetic and true.

    Thank you!

    • #91
  2. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Ray (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    it is an extremely depressing message for hard-working, extremely motivated children who try to tackle the toughest material but can’t quite seem to “get it”. It tells those kids that they must be lazy and/or worthless in some way.

    That does not follow: it tells them no such thing. And I certainly don’t. I tell them just the opposite: at any level or age or stage, work your ass off and it will pay off. For you to imply that I’m telling those kids to be lazy — and my article, incidentally, wasn’t written just for kids — is wildly misbegotten.

    You’ve misunderstood me.  You’re not saying to be lazy, you’re indirectly and unintentionally telling some hard-working kids that they are lazy/worthless/whatever.

    Ray never said tabula rasa was alive to begin with — and you will search my words in vain for any such proclamation or suggestion — so that for Ray to “admit” that it’s dead is a strawman, which I hope you have fun beating the crap out of. And you’re incorrect, anyway: developmental systems theory doesn’t depend upon tabula rasa.

    I didn’t say developmental systems theory depends on tabula rasa.  I said your OP, specifically your video, does.  Its message that thinking effort alone overrides all else is simply a restatement of tabula rasa.

    “I’ll tackle Ray’s reading list as I can.”

    Yes. And when you finish, I’ll send you another batch of the sources you demanded.

    Appreciated.

    As an aside, I’ve never even met you, and you come onto this thread without introducing yourself or without even the courtesy of saying hello — indeed, without any sort of pretense at civil discourse and debate, which I always welcome (and I debate this subject all the time) — and you choose instead to come at me swinging with this sloppy and insulting tone, saying, among other things, that Ricochet is better than my post.

    I’m not exactly a newcomer here, and often comment on heavy topics.  I wasn’t aware all of our first comments on a post have to be an introduction. If you think my lack of an intro was discourteous, we’ll have to disagree.  I’m sorry if you are offended by that.

    As for “Ricochet is better than this”, it was clearly a reflection on the level of the comments to your post, not your post itself.

    It is my opinion that Ricochet is better than your discourtesy — and this is totally apart from whether you agree with my position on this particular subject, or not.

    Discourtesy to you was not intended.  I think you’ve misread me.  I apologize for not being more clear in my criticism.  I do strongly disagree with your OP, and your follow-up comments haven’t changed my mind.  Your references might.

    • #92
  3. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligences” theories.

    This theory was utterly eviscerated by the hard data reviewed in the The Bell Curve.  IQ is a measurement of the ability to learn, not what has been learned.  Interest generally determines what a person becomes best at, but if you place a high-IQ person in a situation where they must learn a different skill to succeed, they will do so at a pace and reach a level of competence comparable to other high-IQ persons who are interested in that skill.

    I do not trust the existing IQ tests to be accurate. Until someone comes up with a neuron-counting synapse-measuring objective test, I’d rather put my faith in a person’s interests and demonstrable skills.

    You’re expecting something IQ tests aren’t made to measure.

    Existing IQ tests are very limited assessment instruments. For one thing, there is a relationship between emotion and reasoning that we know exists but cannot replicate in paper-and-pencil verbal intelligence tests.

    IQ tests are carefully designed to minimize reliance on existing skills.  The very best IQ tests are non-verbal, not relying on language beyond the instructions.

    Furthermore, all tests can test only what we know now, not what we will know in the future. In the nooks and crannies of the human mind are all kinds of potential we cannot begin to imagine.

    IQ measures how quickly and thoroughly one learns what one chooses to learn, or needs to learn.  It does not and is not intended to measure knowledge.

    Achievement tests are wonderful. Tests of potential are destructive to the human psyche, and I do not take them seriously.

    IQ tests were adopted by businesses after research showed that a completely untrained person was a better long-term hire than a fully-trained and achievement-tested and/or credentialed person, if the former had even a modestly higher IQ.  This was true for every manual, physical, office, and technical job studied, with corrections only for the physical demands of each job.  In all of these studies, on average, the previously untrained person would outperform the others within a year or two.  Yes, the results were statistical distributions.  But if one has a thousand jobs to fill, nothing but simple IQ testing always yielded the best overall outcome.

    IQ tests were later banned for HR use in the U.S. when the EEOC decided disparate impact was evidence of bias.  The ban also serves to protect many fields’ credentialism gravy train.

    These facts may be unpleasant to face, but they can’t just be wished away.

    • #93
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    IQ tests were adopted by businesses after research showed that a completely untrained person was a better long-term hire than a fully-trained and achievement-tested and/or credentialed person, if the former had even a modestly higher IQ. This was true for every manual, physical, office, and technical job studied, with corrections only for the physical demands of each job. In all of these studies, on average, the previously untrained person would outperform the others within a year or two. Yes, the results were statistical distributions. But if one has a thousand jobs to fill, nothing but simple IQ testing always yielded the best overall outcome.

    This is very interesting. I’m glad this worked out well for the companies and individuals involved.

    However, it is impossible to separate the emotional competitive kick that a person would get from doing so well on the test in the first place and then proving his or her mettle afterward. As is true of all psychological testing, the test and its results have an impact on the test taker that is impossible to measure or separate out from a person’s true raw potential versus learning.

    Some people are sprinters and love IQ tests to prove to themselves or others that they are really smart. Others are long-distance runners and resent IQ tests because they consider them shallow. The test taker’s attitude will affect the results.

    As I said, they measure whatever they measure. If a test measures what the test maker is trying to measure and that result can be validated some other way so as to prove the worth of the test to the test maker, that’s great. But in general, there’s nothing I’ve read yet about IQ tests that has sold them to me as definitive objective measures of a person’s intellectual potential.

    The existing IQ tests have rescued as many people as they have condemned. I like that about them. I like the rescuing part. :)

    However, I do not take them seriously as a measure of someone’s academic potential or life achievement potential. Given what I know about people, I think there are far too many components that make up human achievement to take any single test seriously.

     

     

     

    • #94
  5. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    MarciN (View Comment):
    The existing IQ tests have rescued as many people as they have condemned. I like that about them. I like the rescuing part. :)

    However, I do not take them seriously as a measure of someone’s academic potential or life achievement potential. Given what I know about people, I think there are far too many components that make up human achievement to take any single test seriously.

    I have no idea what my IQ is; my Dad would never allow us to be tested, and I have stuck with his convictions through adulthood. When he was in the military in WWII, they tested at least some of the guys for IQ: my Dad says that the guy who tested highest-160, if I remember correctly-was the biggest idiot he ever met.

    In college, I knew a guy who had an IQ of 160; he knew this because his parents had him tested as a child, and I do not doubt it: he could ad lib in iambic pantameter, or at least, he could make you think it was iambic pantameter. He really was amazing, but wow, was he a jerk. Also, he said that everything changed when his parents found out what his IQ was; before that, they treated him like a normal kid, but afterward, things changed, and not for the better.

    • #95
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    The existing IQ tests have rescued as many people as they have condemned. I like that about them. I like the rescuing part. :)

    However, I do not take them seriously as a measure of someone’s academic potential or life achievement potential. Given what I know about people, I think there are far too many components that make up human achievement to take any single test seriously.

    I have no idea what my IQ is; my Dad would never allow us to be tested, and I have stuck with his convictions through adulthood. When he was in the military in WWII, they tested at least some of the guys for IQ: my Dad says that the guy who tested highest-160, if I remember correctly-was the biggest idiot he ever met.

    In college, I knew a guy who had an IQ of 160; he knew this because his parents had him tested as a child, and I do not doubt it: he could ad lib in iambic pantameter, or at least, he could make you think it was iambic pantameter. He really was amazing, but wow, was he a jerk. Also, he said that everything changed when his parents found out what his IQ was; before that, they treated him like a normal kid, but afterward, things changed, and not for the better.

    IQ tests have damaged a lot of people. These tests have been surrounded by controversy since the day they were born. :)

    As employment tests, they serve the company’s purpose (just as SATs serve the college’s purpose, not the student’s). They are given to adults who know the risks going in to the tests. I don’t have a problem with that type of testing, and it may give the results the company is looking for.

    I have never read The Bell Curve. I wonder if the IQ tests it is based on were given to children or adults. Teenagers are funny people. A lot of them hate boring schoolwork, but they love a short blitzed test and will rally to such tests. It’s wonderful that we can demonstrate to those students that they are as smart as the other kids, and if they work hard, the sky’s the limit.

    But there is no gain without pain, and the damage we do to low-scoring students far outweighs whatever good we are doing for high-scoring students. We have other ways to accomplish motivation without resorting to destructive IQ tests.

    I am with your dad on this. I did not allow my kids to be tested either.

    • #96
  7. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    The existing IQ tests have rescued as many people as they have condemned. I like that about them. I like the rescuing part. :)

    However, I do not take them seriously as a measure of someone’s academic potential or life achievement potential. Given what I know about people, I think there are far too many components that make up human achievement to take any single test seriously.

    I have no idea what my IQ is; my Dad would never allow us to be tested, and I have stuck with his convictions through adulthood. When he was in the military in WWII, they tested at least some of the guys for IQ: my Dad says that the guy who tested highest-160, if I remember correctly-was the biggest idiot he ever met.

    The military has been testing everyone for a very long time — it makes up one of the biggest and most reliable dataset reviewed by Murray and Herrnstein.  I believe the test is still called the ASVAB, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or something like that.  It has one serious flaw that Murray and Herrnstein had to use alternate sources to deal with — a perfect score on the ASVAB worked out to an IQ of 130, IIRC.  It couldn’t actually distinguish above that.

    Anyways, if you’ve taken the SAT, you’ve taken an IQ test.  Especially if you are my age or older, where the test was still quite explicitly focused on aptitude.  Changes in this century have watered it down some, for political reasons, of course.  The percentile section of your report can be translated into IQ.  { In that online calculator, IQ == “Standard Score” }

    In college, I knew a guy who had an IQ of 160; he knew this because his parents had him tested as a child, and I do not doubt it: he could ad lib in iambic pantameter, or at least, he could make you think it was iambic pantameter. He really was amazing, but wow, was he a jerk. Also, he said that everything changed when his parents found out what his IQ was; before that, they treated him like a normal kid, but afterward, things changed, and not for the better.

    Yes, children should not be told their IQ, at least not until late in high school (or later) when some maturity is taking hold.  Extra smart kids are often socially challenged, and an IQ test result can turn into an “I’m better than them” rationalization for continued disfunction.  Adult jerkitude, etc.  Of course, schools today are giving aptitude tests to all students multiple times in their youth, and it is trivial to convert the resulting percentiles to IQ.  Note, aptitude tests are academic forecasting tools, and therefore measure the same cognitive factors as a proper IQ test, if without the difficult to implement non-verbal correctives.  Achievement tests are designed to measure knowledge and/or skill.

    • #97
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Comment thing messed up. Trying again

     

    • #98
  9. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligences” theories.

    I do not trust the existing IQ tests to be accurate. Until someone comes up with a neuron-counting synapse-measuring objective test, I’d rather put my faith in a person’s interests and demonstrable skills.

    Existing IQ tests are very limited assessment instruments. For one thing, there is a relationship between emotion and reasoning that we know exists but cannot replicate in paper-and-pencil verbal intelligence tests.

    Furthermore, all tests can test only what we know now, not what we will know in the future. In the nooks and crannies of the human mind are all kinds of potential we cannot begin to imagine.

    Achievement tests are wonderful. Tests of potential are destructive to the human psyche, and I do not take them seriously.

    We were given an IQ test in kindergarten. Since we hardly knew anything, it was not measuring for knowledge, but for potential. My IQ was measured again at Northwestern University when I was older, and it was 25 points higher than when I was 5.

    • #99
  10. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    Anyways, if you’ve taken the SAT, you’ve taken an IQ test. Especially if you are my age or older, where the test was still quite explicitly focused on aptitude. Changes in this century have watered it down some, for political reasons, of course.

    I took the SAT in 1987; I find it very difficult to believe that it was basically an IQ test, but maybe I took the watered down version. If I remember correctly, the SAT I took required knowledge of things like vocabulary words and algebra and trigonometry: it tested a lot more than just potential. But then, I have never taken an IQ test: I am under the impression that IQ tests test for innate ability, rather than knowledge which has been gained? Or does it test for both? I have no idea :)

    If the SAT is basically an IQ test, this just causes me to distrust IQ tests even more. I attended a very demanding Catholic high school: there was no grade inflation, or passing kids on just to get them out of the way. If you didn’t know your stuff, you failed, period, and if you didn’t know your stuff well, you didn’t get a good grade. I knew a few kids who were straight A students but totally bombed out on the SAT; 30 years later, they are all college graduates with very successful careers and middle class lives. I think there is a places for the SAT-there has to be, considering that grades don’t mean anything anymore, but to hang your whole life, or the whole life of your child on one test? I don’t think so.

    • #100
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I always scored low on the IQ tests. My high school guidance counselors were really upset: “You’re lowering your class’s average! What’s the matter with you!” It was a very wealthy town with very high achieving students in its high school. What can I say. :)

    And needless to add, I didn’t do well on the SATs either. Get this student out of here!

    I am just naturally skeptical and argumentative, and it gets in my way, and it always has. What makes me a good editor made me a terrible student and child. :)

    I figure the good Lord made us all. He must have had some reason for putting the parts together in my head that he did. :)

    • #101
  12. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    You’ve misunderstood me. You’re not saying to be lazy, you’re indirectly and unintentionally telling some hard-working kids that they are lazy/worthless/whatever.

    No. If that’s what you think, you have most definitely misunderstood me.

    “I said your OP, specifically your video, does. Its message that thinking effort alone overrides all else is simply a restatement of tabula rasa.”

    No, it is not simply a restatement of tabula rasa, and that is not what it’s saying, anyway. I’m saying exactly what I said:

    “Intelligence is an acquired skill. It can be fostered or frustrated, but intelligence is an attribute of all humans, and it’s largely up to all humans to develop it or not. One of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated onto mankind is the notion that there’s only one kind of intelligence — IQ — and that you either have it or you don’t. This notion is catastrophically false, and it’s done inestimable damage to an inestimable number of people who didn’t know how brilliant they actually were because they’d never been told. They’d never been told that their intelligence is theirs to shape and mold. Intelligence is not a static state. It’s a process. Your brain is something you cultivate. Intelligence comes fundamentally from thinking, and thinking is a choice, which requires one essential thing: effort. Thought is effort. Thinking develops your brain. It increases your intellectual power and range. Non-thought, corollarily, is something you can change. You become brilliant. You learn to be smart. Reading assists. So does art. You’re not afraid of new ideas because you know your brain can measure and weigh and test these new ideas — in the same way your brain can create new onomatopoeias. A cultivated mind is an intelligent mind. It’s also beautiful and strange and difficult to find. Thought is both the source and also the end result: it is the goal. Thought is the driving force. It’s an end in itself. Intelligence is your ability to think. This ability can be developed and habituated, or not, depending upon what you prefer to do with your time.”

    If you think that my saying that intelligence is largely up to each human to develop or not, is, as you put it, the same as stating that “thinking effort alone overrides all else is simply a restatement of tabula rasa” — if, indeed, if you think any of the above paragraph is a restatement of tabula rasa — you’re misunderstanding either my (very basic) words, or tabula rasa, or both.

    • #102
  13. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Gregor Mendel, with his perfectly calibrated pea hybrids, could not descry that genes are not like mechanical automatons that act in the exact same way under any circumstance or context. Rather, genes interact with their surrounding and behave differently depending upon whom they’re talking to.

    “Genes are not blueprints with elaborate predesigned instructions for eye color, thumb size, mathematical quickness, musical sensitivity, et cetera. Rather than [thinking of them as blueprints], genes — all twenty-two thousand of them — are more like volume knobs and switches. Think of a giant control board inside every cell of your body. Many of the knobs  and switches can be turned up and down or on and off at any time — by another gene or by any minuscule environmental input. This flipping and turning takes place constantly. It begins at the moment of conception and doesn’t stop until the last breath is taken. [My emphasis] Rather than giving us hard-wired instructions on how a trait must be expressed, this process of total interaction drives a unique path for every individual. It’s called ‘GxE’ for short. It has, within the last two decades, become central to the understanding of all genetics. It means that we now realize that genes powerfully influence the formation of traits, from eye color to intelligence, but only rarely dictate those traits precisely. From the moment of conception onward until the last breath, genes constantly respond to, and interact with, a wide range of internal and external stimuli — everything from nutrition and hormones, sensory input, physical and intellectual activity which reciprocates, as well as other genes which are likewise interacting” (David Shenk, “The Genius Inside All of Us”).

     

    • #103
  14. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    The reason I reject tabula rasa is that each individual contains a genetic code which goes into the formation of each being. Nothing in what I wrote, neither for the video nor for the post, says genes don’t matter. That wasn’t even the thrust of my article or video.

    The thrust was that each individual has more influence in what she or he becomes than most people have any conception of. That you take this as a tacit implication that I’m somehow undercutting or slighting hard-working or gifted kids strikes me as fatuous.

    Nothing in what I wrote even mentions tabula rasa. You did.

    Genes matter. Genetic differences will result in trait differences. But ultimately each individual is a dynamic system, VASTLY more complicated than a gene blueprint — a creature of development, and which development is guided by far, far more than one’s DNA strands: from the mother’s diet and hormones, to external stimuli, to nerve impulses, to the interaction of other genes, to countless other things.

    The actual fact is much more complicated.

    The new model begins with interaction, and as I said earlier, there is no genetic foundation that gets laid before the environment enters in: because genes express themselves only in accordance with their environment.

    “We do not inherit traits directly from our genes. Instead, we develop traits through the dynamic process of interaction … On their own, genes don’t determine who we are. This may sound crazy at first, because of how thoroughly we’ve been indoctrinated with Mendelian genetics. But the reality is far more complicated even for pea plants… Many scientists have understood this complicated truth for decades, but have had trouble explaining it to the general public” (Dr. Michael Meaney “Can Our Upbringing Change Our Genes”).

    It is indeed, as we’ve just glimpsed in these comments, a lot harder to explain than the genetic determinism you accept and believe in.

    To understand this all more fully, one must first grasp precisely what it is that genes do:

    They direct the production of proteins.

    “Each of our cells contains a complete double-strand of DNA, which in turn contains thousands of individual genes. Each gene initiates the process of assembling amino acids into proteins, which are large, specialized molecules that help create cells. We are each one of us the sum of our proteins. Genes contain the instructions for the formation of proteins, but they’re not the only things that influence protein building. In addition to which, genetic instructions themselves are influenced by other inputs: genes are constantly activated and deactivated by hormones, nutrition, nerve impulses, other genes and a mind-spinning amount of environmental stimuli” (David Shenk, ibid).

    Now please tell me again how this is a restatement of tabula rasa.

    And please tell me again how Ricochet is better than my subject-matter here and my post. And please do it in the most hostile and cocky tone you can muster.

    • #104
  15. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    I find it very difficult to believe that it was basically an IQ test, but maybe I took the watered down version.

    They’re not the same test. I hear that sometimes too. They’re similar in certain ways, but they’re also distinctly different. The ACT is actually a little more like it.

    • #105
  16. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    MarciN (View Comment):
    What can I say. :)

    The IQ tests, the SAT’s, the ACT’s, all that nonsense — strictly for squares! Let’s leave it to the squares.

    Your genius lies elsewhere, Ms. Marci!

    • #106
  17. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    We were given an IQ test in kindergarten. Since we hardly knew anything, it was not measuring for knowledge, but for potential. My IQ was measured again at Northwestern University when I was older, and it was 25 points higher than when I was 5.

    I had similar experience — and I was even told that that shouldn’t be the case, thereby kicking off my suspicion of the IQ racket (and make no mistake: it is a racket).

    • #107
  18. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    We were given an IQ test in kindergarten. Since we hardly knew anything, it was not measuring for knowledge, but for potential. My IQ was measured again at Northwestern University when I was older, and it was 25 points higher than when I was 5.

    P.S. Thank you for dropping by!

    • #108
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This article draws some lines between motivation and IQ scores. To parents, the motivation factor is quite clear. :)

    It also makes sense given the history of the SAT relationship to the IQ test. Here is a good synopsis of the history of the IQ test by itself.

     

     

     

    • #109
  20. Chuck Enfield Inactive
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    Ray (View Comment):

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    I find it very difficult to believe that it was basically an IQ test, but maybe I took the watered down version.

    They’re not the same test. I hear that sometimes too. They’re similar in certain ways, but they’re also distinctly different. The ACT is actually a little more like it.

    The SAT most definitely isn’t an IQ test.  That said, being a widely-taken standardized exam, the results correlate very well with IQ tests – for the population that takes both tests.  As you point out, there’s a certain amount of education assumed by the SAT.  The ASVAB is a better IQ test, in that it tests a wider variety of thought processes and assumes only a modest education.  However, it too has a population problem (John Kerry was right that people inclined to apply to the armed forces don’t accurately represent society as a whole), and the linguistic and mathematical simplicity of the test limits the complexity of the questions they can ask.  Everybody in the Army I considered smart scored at or near the maximum.  I was a grunt, so it’s a safe bet we weren’t starting a Mensa chapter.

    I’ll concede that IQ tests probably do more harm than good.  They’re OK for identifying aptitude, and they seem to be useful for making some predictions about populations.  In practice they seem much more likely to create prejudices than help solve problems.  Isn’t that always the way when laypeople are exposed to statistics though?

    • #110
  21. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Marci, “achievement tests are wonderful” for the educational bureaucracy creating them – and for technocrats who ‘teach to the test’ – in order to keep coffers full. The teacher in my family – and others in my extended family – distrusted standardized testing and disdained the cookie-cutter learning that flows from it.

    • #111
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Marci, “achievement tests are wonderful” for the educational bureaucracy creating them – and for technocrats who ‘teach to the test’ – in order to keep coffers full. The teacher in my family – and others in my extended family – distrusted standardized testing and disdained the cookie-cutter learning that flows from it.

    I went to war with our school committee over standardized testing in our elementary schools. I won. My biggest complaint was that they tested material that hadn’t been taught. Pick one road or the other, but don’t judge kids’ ability on the basis of tests on material they haven’t been taught. My preference is for the Vermont schools’ portfolio grading system. So we are on the same side. That said, the more subjectivity there is in measurement, the more power the teachers have over kids they don’t click with.

    My war with the school ended with their ending standardized testing through grade 3, but just as I won the war, the publisher stopped publishing the test anyway!

    All that said, my town’s superintendent, who actually swore at me in one of our battles over this!, made three points about the testing with which I had to agree. (1) Standardized tests are a fact of student life. The kids need to get used to them. (2) The more tests they take, the less any one test will matter if the kids have a bad day. And (3) it helps the teachers know if they need to change their teaching methods. If one kid can’t divide fractions, that child needs help. If none of the kids got it, the teacher needs help.

    Our children live in a competitive school world. And what they do in our little local school needs to fit with what the other schools in the state and country are doing. Otherwise, the education is apt to be wasted.

    My oldest had a doctor as her biology teacher in tenth grade. Kate loved this teacher who was trying to earn some money while she was in between her internship and residency at a Boston hospital. The teacher taught biology through a human anatomy approach. My daughter and her classmates just soaked it up. But when the SAT biology achievement test scores came back, none of these straight-A excited kids did well. It turned out that there are two or three approaches to teaching high school biology, and the College Board rotates their test, and the year that Kate and her friends took the test, the College Board was using the zoology-based test, not the human biology-based test.

    To go your own way as a high school is fine until the kids have to merge at the college level.

    So, I hate it, but the people to talk to are the colleges. The kids are not going to high school in a vacuum. They have hopes and dreams. And it’s our job to help them reach them.

    • #112
  23. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Marci, who said college was the end-state for everyone? Not all kids should go.  Incidentally, my Dad, his Mom, Dad, and oldest sister insisted on mastery of content and doing one’s best; achievement was their goal, ‘achievement’ tests at predetermined intervals seemed aimed at method: finishing a prescribed number of chapters in the book by a certain date in the school year, for instance. Measuring the teachers’ efficiency, not the students’ learning, it seemed to them. A favorite subject of cussin’ and discussin’, oftentimes.

    • #113
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Marci, who said college was the end-state for everyone? Not all kids should go. Incidentally, my Dad, his Mom, Dad, and oldest sister insisted on mastery of content and doing one’s best; achievement was their goal, ‘achievement’ tests at predetermined intervals seemed aimed at method: finishing a prescribed number of chapters in the book by a certain date in the school year, for instance. Measuring the teachers’ efficiency, not the students’ learning, it seemed to them. A favorite subject of cussin’ and discussin’, oftentimes.

    I’m sure. :)

    What a teacher needs to do depends entirely on what the student’s needs and goals are. No question about that.

    • #114
  25. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    who said college was the end-state for everyone?

    Not I, said the fly. ;-)

    • #115
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