Measuring Intelligence

            As all things American, the use of Intelligent Quotient (IQ) testing during the early part of the 20th century was used to categorize individuals based on their intelligence, or more specifically, on the scores revealed by such testing.  In the advent, IQ scores were used in the military for the purpose of identifying individuals and their particular competences in job placement with in the varied roles at the time.  In later years, the IQ tests were used to leverage the position of the Eugenics movement, which held the idea society and prosperity could only rise for particular “stocks” otherwise known as race.  The use of the IQ test during this period gave rise to the assumption that persons challenged with socio economic status and race, particularly of African descent could not be educated because of some biological trait only found within these populations.  As erroneous and embarrassing as these theories are, they provided a gateway for the inception of court ordered sterilization of persons deemed by society as being developmentally disabled, feebleminded, and incapable of intellect (Bouche & Rivard, 2014).

            Fortunately for us, America has moved away from such practices, some which have been deemed unconstitutional, such as administering an IQ test to imprisoned persons burdened with intellectual disabilities, and of course forced sterilization. Current uses of the IQ tests perform well to identify that may need additional services for learning, but the test itself may not be particularly relevant in identifying domains where learning and healthy development may not occur.  Additionally, the Flynn Effect has evidenced that IQ test scores change over time and through generations, suggesting increased literacy, technological advances for education enable a broader audience to score higher than that of previous eras (Berger, 2016). To further evaluate the efficacy and utility of intelligence testing within the Flynn effect, we need to account for the increased availability of educational resources, knowledge of nutrition and the increase in services that provide for the underserved populations, as well as other environmental services that promote more abstract thinking in problem resolution. 

            When thinking of the child as the product of all of its parts, then we can surely understand that the ability to score well in testing is also a product of the society that rears him.  With these inclusions we are more equipped to understand Sternberg’ (1985, 2011) inscription of three general intelligences; analytic, creative, and practical (Berger, 2016, Chapter 11). Brain scans have the ability to further measure aptitude in providing real time activity in the brain, however; scans only reveal activity at the time of the scan and cannot determine or correlate with IQ test scores. Brain scans identify localized hubs which suggest that the different areas have specific utility for developing intelligence through different experiences.

                In essence, IQ testing or intelligence assessment tools inform us within the boundaries of the questions and reactions to the particular inclusions of the assessment.  They cannot fully generate a prognosis for future intelligence nor can they accurately gauge how experiences are processed within each individual child, emotion, self perception, and time of day notwithstanding. Many of the developed nations use IQ assessment tools in order to collect information about the community’s performance and most importantly for the opportunity to express the needs of particular areas.  The following chart allows us to see where intelligence assessment tools are used, however; it is more specific a representation in respect to the Flynn Effect, as where intelligence based on IQ scores, continues to improve over time and dependent on the time the testing were initiated in the particular region (Nagby, n.d.).  The different dates of initiation also give to the understanding that many countries may have had less availability for technology and literacy.

Flynn – world regions


        To reiterate, these measures are indicative of available data provided through research and do not measure the entire population, nor does it imply that the same assessment or score values were used.  Additionally, assessments for children are different than for adults, however, each may cover different areas such as aptitude, which does not render an accurate view of the examined (Nagby,n.d.) .  If nothing else, the data that comes out of assessments a sure indicators that the world is moving in the right direction towards making the health of our children a product of the competencies within their societies.


Berger, K., S. (2016). The Developing Childhood. (7th Ed). Worth Publisher.

Bouche, T., & Rivard, L. (2014). Genetics Generation:  America’s Hidden History.

Nagby, M. (n.d.). Intelligence.

Published by emijg1015

I began my road to profession during my high school years. I started at a day care center. During my stead, I pursued my love for hospitality and enrolled at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts program. Since then, I dedicated a good portion of time in the food and beverage industry. I was always too happy to work and be engaged in every aspect, including doing dishes and mopping to bathrooms and trash. I learned early on that hard work and dedication defined who I was, who I am, and who I will be. During a time of temporary relocation I took on a role as Case Manager for a mostly Hispanic community. Here I fell in love with psychology. Soon after going back home I enrolled in the Psychology program at Argosy University in Sarasota Florida. I applied much of what I learned to how I performed my duties, how I made hiring choices, and more importantly, how to be. On the home front, I applied what I learned when engaging with my family and friends, and in doing so, I have been privileged to inspire my grandchildren to grow up with curiosity and a deep love for adventure. My family is my ultimate love, and my grandkids are my greatest motivators for wanting to pursue an educational path that allows me the opportunity to inspire a young mind. Taking a moment to reflect, I have come full circle. Evaluating the things that I have done, and the strides I have made towards positive professional growth, I return to the place where it all began, school and child care.

2 thoughts on “Measuring Intelligence

  1. Hi Emily, thank you so much for your insight on assessing children. One statement that I found very intriguing was, “When thinking of the child as the product of all of its parts, then we can surely understand that the ability to score well in testing is also a product of the society that rears him”(Gomez 2020). It is true that the way a child is assessed especially in the terms of standardized and IQ testing platforms will vary based on a child’s location, economic status, and schooling environment. That is why back in the day and even now minorities are shown to be on the lower side of the IQ testing not because they are not intelligent but simply because they were not equipped with the tools needed to succeed in these types of tests. I think that the testing platform needs an upgrade and there should be multiple ways to assess students that can help them show their strengths and feel more confident while being assessed.


  2. Emily what great information you have provided on IQ testing and how it relates to assessments and testing.
    I agree with your statement that IQ testing “cannot fully generate a prognosis for future intelligence nor can they accurately gauge how experiences are processed within each individual child, emotion, and self-perception.” The abilities and information that we acquire as we go through experiences and learning are always changing so that testing results can vary at any point in time.
    Cynthia Hunt


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