Intelligence Testing Article AnalysisIntelligence is one of those vague terms by which a person knows it when they see it—but to map out its exact dimensions—that is an entirely different matter. One thing is clear though, outside the realm of cultural context, intelligence cannot be meaningfully explicated (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). This is in part because any test questions meant to score intelligence might not have the same meaning in every culture. Furthermore, at its very core, intelligence is the ability to know and understand the world—internal and external—to the end of overcoming obstacles, attaining goals, and adjusting to changing conditions (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). This “working definition” is a good place to start when discussing intelligence, but a more culturally precise definition must take into account the theories behind intelligence testing and the effectiveness of intelligence testing itself.
Theory of Multiple IntelligencesHoward Gardner proposed in the late 80’s a comprehensive set of intelligences—with the addition of one more in the mid-90s—that could explain the full panorama of human intelligence (Klein, 1997). Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI) include, “…linguistic, logical-mathematic, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal…intrapersonal…[and] naturalistic” (Klein, 1997, p. 377). Furthermore, Gardner went on to stipulate that he defined intelligences as no more or less than a, “…bio-psychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems and create products that are of value in a culture” (Goodnough, 2002, n.p.). So, the theory of MI is firmly grounded in cultural context and predicated on the useful potentiality of problem solving to the end of applicable tasks in a cultural setting. Goodnough (2002) goes on to posit that this conceptual definition of intelligence, along with the cosmopolitan understanding of MI that Gardner puts forth, informs a teachers, “…subject matter, curriculum, instruction…strengths and weaknesses” (n.p.). However, Klein (1997) counters that the broad scope and all-encompassing approach of MI negates, or at the very least minimizes, the applicability of the theory in any specific teaching task. In all, MI has inspired a wide variety of new teaching practices and methods, but is limited by its non-specific relevance and broad applicability.
PASS TheoryThe utility of the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS), as built upon the underlying theory of planning, attention, simultaneous, and successive cognitive processes (PASS), is constructed upon its ability to find gifted and talented individuals that would not usually be singled out through traditional IQ tests (Naglieri & Kaufman, 2001). Traditional IQ tests center only analytics skills almost exclusively, which does not take into consideration other types of intelligence (e.g. PASS). As an example, Johannes, Kroesbergen & Naglieri (2005) conducted an implementation of CAS on 51 Dutch children that were diagnoses with ADHD. The conclusion of the test was that even though these children scored low on attention and planning scales, they scored exceptionally high on simultaneous and successive scales. According to these results, even though ADHD does have a significant influence on attention, those deficits do not translate over into an overall cognitive deficit in the areas of simultaneous and successive cognitive tasks. Moreover, traditional IQ tests are based on a static, outdated theory of intelligence that relies on the correlation between IQ scores and achievement, never taking into consideration that intelligence might be fluid and evolving. The PASS theory, as implemented through CAS, seeks to overcome these shortfalls and explain intelligence in a more contextual, dynamic sense.
Intelligence TestingAs mentioned beforehand, the downfall of traditional intelligence quotient (IQ) testing is that they are built upon the notion that intelligence is largely analytical in nature and static. The psychometric approach to intelligence, as used in IQ tests, desires to place a numerical value on intelligence, thereby reducing the complexity of cognition and cognitive potential to a single number (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). This number is a percentage—in relation to other people’s scores—and therefore is a matter of rations rather than sums altogether. Intelligence tests must take into account the daily activities within a culture to be applicable to the cross-cultural assessment of intelligence. Without the variable of culturally activity being taken into account intelligence tests are little more than a measure of unrelated, non-applicable cognitive structures that might not even be of any importance in certain cultures.
ConclusionIn sum, Gardner’s definition of intelligence adds the dimensions of cognitive potentially, cultural utility, and multiple intelligences to the “working definition” of intelligence mentioned at the beginning of the paper. Also, PASS explains that intelligence can be measured through more than simple analytical ability, but must take into account planning, attention, simultaneous, and successive cognitive processes as a foundational basis of intelligence. Last, the IQ test is only adequate to determine static intelligence within one cultural setting, but is severely limited by no cross-cultural basis for comparison. A parsimonious definition of intelligence—which considers MI, PASS, and IQ tests—must necessarily include the utilization of problem solving strategies, actual or potential, to the end of overcoming obstacles, attaining goals, and adjusting to changing conditions, through the multiple avenues of MI theory, built upon the foundation of PASS theory, and operating upon the assumption that tests are only applicable when they take into account cultural activities.
ReferencesGoodnough, Karen. (2002). Multiple intelligences theory: a lens for guiding professional practice. Orbit, 32(4), n.p. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from CBCA Complete. (Document ID: 688961211).
Jack A Naglieri, & James C Kaufman. (2001). Understanding intelligence, giftedness and creativity using the PASS theory. Roeper Review, 23(3), 151-156. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 71974530).
Johannes E H Van Luit, Evelyn H Kroesbergen, & Jack A Naglieri. (2005). Utility of the PASS theory and cognitive assessment system for Dutch children with and without ADHD. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(5), 434-439. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 903460011).
Klein, Perry. (1997). Multiplying the problems of intelligence by eight: a critique of Gardner'stheory. Canadian Journal of Education, 22(4), 377. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 391336691).
Shiraev, E. B. & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.