Sample Psychology Essays on Application of Theory: IQ Testing

Application of Theory: IQ Testing

One of the greatest concerns over the years has been whether or not children’s intelligence should be tested. Before determining whether conducting intelligence tests for children is acceptable or not, it is important to understand what the term “intelligence testing” means. Intelligence tests (IQ tests) help to determine how smart a person is, how they think, and how capable and ready they are for the learning process. IQ tests may be administered either at a group or individual level. Group tests are often administered in group situations; for instance, 3rd graders in a school, and are normed for a particular group of people. On the other hand, individual IQ tests are often administered to selected children depending on recommendations from a parent or teacher. There are arguments that individual IQ tests are the most accurate when it comes to determining the intelligence of children in a population.

What Intelligence Tests Measure

Intelligence tests are purposefully for providing information about children’s learning needs and capabilities to teachers and parents. Also, these tests play a crucial role in providing information for early intervention of learning differences among children in a population. This means that there are specific aspects measured by intelligence tests. These aspects include a child’s cognitive deficit, learning profile or preferred learning style, learning disorders in reading and writing, school readiness, developmental delays, as well as behavioral or emotional issues (Nisbett et al., 2012). Moreover, using intelligence tests, parents and teachers can measure or determine whether a child is eligible for funding to join educational programs, whether a child has specialized needs that demand intervention programs, and whether a child has psycho educational disorders or problems that demand appropriate interventions as early as possible in the child’s life.

How IQ Tests Measure Intelligence

The initials IQ stand for Intelligent Quotient, and they are an indication of how intelligent a person is as determined by an intelligence test. IQ tests are just one of the several ways used to measure an individual’s intelligence (Nisbett et al., 2012). In clinical contexts, the diagnosis of a person’s intellectual ability or disability often relies on observations and IQ tests. This means that although these tests are not the sole measure of intelligence, they should not be discounted when it comes to measuring intelligence. Nevertheless, IQ tests measure intelligence in that they show how smart a person is. Also, they measure intelligence as they help to determine how well a person can think and what their capacity for learning is.

Historical perspectives on IQ Tests

French psychologist Alfred Binet created the first intelligence test in the early 1990s (Benson, 2003). There have been advancements on IQ tests with most of these stemming from the works of Henry Herbert Goddard. Goddard was also a psychologist from Clark University, and his key role was the translation of the Binet test from French to English. The Binet test has been widely used when it comes to testing basic intellectual function and supporting mental health diagnoses in various parts of the world. Today, the Binet test is one of the primary tools used to identify children with learning disabilities and mental retardation (Benson, 2003). However, there is a huge gap between intelligence theories and tests developed over the past twenty years and how intelligence tests are currently used and administered. One of the greatest challenges is how intelligence researchers can narrow this gap as the intelligence field approaches the 100th anniversary.

Whether Intelligence Tests are Culturally Biased

One of the reasons why intelligence tests ought not to be administered in schools is the cultural bias that accompanies them. Critics have accused IQ tests of unfairly stratifying test-takers by culture. They further argue that the cultural bias has jeopardized the importance of creativity, character, as well as practical know-how (Benson, 2003). However, since the 1970s, there have been commitments from intelligence researchers to address the cultural bias concern. One of the ways through which intelligence researchers have addressed this concern is updating tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Today, IQ tests are a reflection of the abilities of test-takers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Recommendations on whether or not the School will be Administering Intelligence Testing

Nevertheless, it is important for the school to administer intelligence testing for children. IQ testing remains a perfect way of gaining some understanding of children to enable both teachers and parents to make informed and appropriate decisions (Sparrow & Davis, 2000).What should be in mind, in this case, is that IQ tests help to screen for cognitive deficits, school readiness, learning disorders, any specialized needs, learning profile or preferred learning styles, and developmental delays in children. However, it is important to note that the best time for administering IQ tests is when children are between the ages of five and eight years.

On the other hand, the school administration should not consider administering IQ testing due to several reasons; for instance, IQ testing is rarely done for the good of children. Today, most parents introduce their children to IQ testing at very young ages, and pure curiosity often triggers this or to prove a point (Sparrow & Davis, 2000). For effectiveness, IQ testing should focus on serving the child, and this is hardly necessary at very young ages. Moreover, the results from IQ tests are often unstable (Sparrow & Davis, 2000). This means that when a 3-year-old child is tested and scores highly, the possibility that the same child will score highly six years later is minimal. In such scenarios, parents and teachers carry the unstable score number in their heads thereby compromising their decision-making.





Benson, E. (2003). Intelligent intelligence testing: Psychologists are broadening the concept of intelligence and how to test it. American Psychological Association, 34 (2), 48.

Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., &Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. American Psychologist67(2), 130.

Sparrow, S. S., & Davis, S. M. (2000). Recent advances in the assessment of intelligence and cognition. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines41(1), 117-131.