What Is An IQ Test And What Does It Actually Measure?

·6-min read

Intelligence quotient or IQ measures a person’s reasoning ability. It is supposed to gauge how well a person can use a combination of information and logic to answer questions and also make predictions. Earlier this year, UK girl Kashmea Wahi scored 162 on an IQ test. Last month, it was two-year-old Kashe West who became the youngest American member of the Mensa. She had an IQ of 146.

So what does their high score denote? Will they grow up to achieve extraordinary success? In this article, we cover everything about these tests and understand what IQ tests actually measure.

What Is An IQ Test?

An IQ test is an assessment that measures a person’s range of cognitive abilities. Its score lays bare an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential, making IQ tests the most commonly administered psychological tests.

But which score makes one a genius?

Understanding What IQ Scores Mean

what do iq tests actually measure
what do iq tests actually measure

Image courtesy: iStock

  • An IQ score over 140 indicates that you’re a genius or nearly a genius

  • A score between 120 and 140 is classed as ‘very superior intelligence’

  • IQ score between 110 and 119 is ‘superior intelligence’

  • Score between 90 and 109 is ‘normal or average intelligence’

  • IQ score between 80 and 89 suggests ‘dullness’

  • Finally, IQ score between 70 and 79 is classed as ‘borderline deficiency’

What Do IQ Tests Actually Measure

Interestingly, the first IQ test wasn’t even invented to measure IQ. In 1905, French psychologists developed the Binet-Simon test to identify those children who needed individualised help outside of school. As time passed, the psychologists refined the Binet-Simon test and developed many more.

An IQ test would thus help to:

1. Identify students who would require additional help

Not all students have the same intelligence level. Some struggle in school because they may have a weakness in a specific area of intelligence. There are special education programs to give extra help to students who are struggling in any specific area. An IQ test would thus help teachers find which students would benefit from such additional help.

2. Recognise those who will do well in “fast-paced educational programs”

The IQ test results can also help identify students who have the potential to do well in fast-paced “gifted education” programs. There are many colleges and universities that use exam scores similar to IQ tests to select their students.

Here are some other uses of the IQ Test score

  • Cognitive research

  • Educational assessment and placement

  • Job candidate evaluation

  • Assessing the cognitive abilities like memory, speed, and attention

An IQ test can also predict how well people can do in a particularly challenging situation. For instance, thinking abstractly in science, arts or even engineering.

But these tests cannot determine if your child will be successful in future. Extraordinary achievement depends on many factors including ambition, persistence, opportunity, and yes even luck.

What Questions Are Asked In An IQ test?

what do iq tests actually measure
what do iq tests actually measure

Image courtesy: iStock

IQ tests can involve harder questions to access someone’s knowledge. For instance, questions like: what is the difference between weather and climate? Or, what is abstract art?

Psychologist Joel Schneider explains that these kinds of questions test a candidate’s knowledge about things that are valued in their culture. Thus, IQ tests measure the ‘fluid’ and ‘crystalised’ intelligence of a person.

Knowledge-based questions measure the crystallised intelligence of the candidate. It involves knowledge from one’s past experience and prior learning.

On the other hand, fluid intelligence refers to problem-solving ability. It also includes the ability to think and reason abstractly. IQ tests thus, measure a variety of skills like working memory, fluid reasoning, verbal comprehension and others.

IQ Tests need correct interpretation

Having said that, Stefan C. Dombrowski feels that IQ tests do have meaning and are valid measures of intelligence — when they are interpreted correctly.

He agrees that IQ tests can be useful as one part of an overall assessment of the person. Adding further, Dombrowski says, “IQ tests are a tool, and they can be used to promote human well-being or to contribute to human misery.”

As Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, of the University of Pennsylvania also shares, “IQ tests measure a set of skills that are important to society.” But he further points that such tests don’t determine someone’s full potential.

In effective, IQ tests favour those who can think on the spot, a skill not many posses. But that doesn’t make them any less intelligent.

3 Effective Ways To Boost Your Kids’ Intelligence Quotient

Kiasu parents of Singapore can often make IQ tests another race their kids have to win. As a result, there has been an influx of intelligence boosting classes on the island, some starting for kids as young as six-months-old!

But this is not unusual because there is no age limit to improving IQ. This means parents can focus on their child’s formative years as it is the best time for them to recognise patterns and act accordingly.

But if you’re keen to help your child at home, here are some ways in which you can work to boost your child’s IQ.

1. Read stories to your kid

Make it a habit to read them stories every day. This way they can learn different languages and understand facial expressions. It also allows them to pick up on voice modulations better, which they may later imitate. This habit will spark a joy for reading and lead them to learn the language quickly.

2. Make them learn an instrument

As you are aware, music has a therapeutic effect on the mind. But, it can also increase a person’s mental ability. Hence it is recommended that kids are exposed to music to stimulate their brain and also help them relax.

In fact, learning a musical instrument is a great brain activity that boosts IQ levels directly by improving mathematical and spatial reasoning skills.

3. Introduce your child to sports or physical activities

It is very important to introduce your child to sports or any form of outdoor physical activity. We understand that COVID-19 may have restricted kids to just inside the homes, but you can slowly introduce outdoor activities in their routine. While you are at it, do not forget to follow the safety guidelines always.

Playing games and participating in physical activity will strengthen your toddler’s brain and enhance sound thinking, creativity, and improve concentration.

Make sure your kids eat healthy and sleep properly to boost their brains.

Source: ScienceNewsforstudents, Discover Magazine


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The post What Is An IQ Test And What Does It Actually Measure? appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.

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