The term intelligence has been given varying definitions by different researchers, psychologists and educators. Investigators have focused on various issues including stress on learning capacity, adaptation to environment, as well as psychological concentration on cognitive functioning and development. This has created confusion and disagreement that has made it difficulty for people to clearly figure out the concept. The term intelligence has been defined by the mainstream science to include: mental abilities to understand complex ideas, reason, think abstractly, plan, learn quickly from experience, communicate, and solve problems. Intelligence Test is a standard test conducted to help establish a person’s intelligence rating through measurement of one’s abilities to acquire information, form concepts, and solve problems as well to perform operations requiring intelligence (Stanovich, 2009). Intelligence test is also referred to as Intelligence Quotient test. IQ is the ratio of mental age tested to chorological age multiplied by 100.
Theories of Intelligence Testing
The numerous controversies regarding understanding of the term intelligence has prompted proposal of several theories on intelligence testing. The first theory of intelligence is the Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Gardner based his theory on studies conducted on normal children, adults , gifted individuals ‘savants’, virtuosos, experts and those who have suffered brain damage (Gardner, 1993). The individuals studied were derived from different cultures. From the studies, Gardner came to believe that, intelligence is divided into eight distinct components that include musical, logical, naturalist intrapersonal, interpersonal, spatial, existential and kinesthetic intelligences. Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence has been criticized by various scholars on the grounds that, no one has ever tested it, or subjected it to any peer review to proof that it is indeed unfalsifiable (Gardner, 1993). Others like Schmidt and Hunter (2004) faulted Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence; arguing that, some of its arguments have not been empirically supported.
The second theory of Intelligence is Steinberg Theory of Intelligence, proposed by Robert Stenberg. This theory is also referred to as the Triarchic Theory of intelligence. The theory, comprehensively describes intellectual competence based on three fundamental aspects. The first aspect of intelligence supported by this theory is the analytic intelligence. This is the ability to solve problems and comprise of processes that expresses intelligence. Second aspect of intelligence is the creative intelligence, which is essential when dealing with new information when confronted with a novel challenge. Practical intelligence is the last aspect of intelligence described by this theory. This aspect of intelligence helps an individual to adjust to an environment, especially in the socio-cultural milieu. The triarchic theory argues that, it is only through consideration of the three aspects, that one can attain an understanding of the full range of intellectual functioning (Stanovich, 2009).
Effectiveness of Intelligence Testing
Getting a unanimous definition of the term intelligence has been marred with confusion and ambiguity amongst psychologists, educators and researchers. This problem has made validity of Intelligence test scores unsatisfactory. Most psychologists agree that, IQ tests are psychological instruments that are not free from errors because they don’t have any evidence that proofs their validity. This is true considering that, these tests give varying results for the same subject under different conditions (Richardson, 2000). Therefore, IQ tests do not guarantee a100% accuracy of the predictions made. Despite its limitations, IQ tests have been widely used over the world making them the preferred instrument to classify intelligence of its subjects. These tests can only measure the current mental alertness of a subject but not his or her constant intelligence factor.
Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Richardson, Ken (2000). The Making of Intelligence. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Stanovich, Keith (2009). What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.