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The Disadvantages of IQ Tests

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
The Disadvantages of IQ Tests
An IQ test may not be the best way to measure intelligence. Photo Credit taking test image by Petro Feketa from Fotolia.com

Intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a numerical measure of your knowledge and intelligence base. Some schools require IQ testing for their students and use it as a way to gauge how students are doing and apply for financial aid. The problem is that IQ testing doesn't paint the full picture of a person's intelligence; the Wechsler test and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, which are both commonly used to score IQ rate on a scale of around 70 to around 165, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and the results can be inconclusive.

Limited Potential And Stereotypes

IQ tests can limit student potential an perpetuate stereotypes within a classroom setting. Greg Machek of Indiana University notes in a paper titled "Brief History of the Measurement of Intelligence" that minorities and economically-challenged typically score worse than tier better-off, white counterparts. Upon receiving the result of a poor IQ test, a student may believe that she is "stupid" or less intelligent than her peers when it isn't her fault. Similarly, better-off students with better scores might look down or unfairly class other students because of their scores.

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One Score Results

The scale for an IQ test is decided upon by scoring the answers to the questions to come up with a single number that represents the individual's intelligence. Unfortunately, that one number cannot possibly detail the breadth of someone's intelligence, says the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. One number assigned to a child or adult's intelligence and grasp of traditional academic subjects is not an accurate way to measure IQ. What's more, a poor IQ test can limit a child's aspirations due to the one score that he is labeled with.

Limited Subjects

A traditional IQ test quizzes individuals in subjects like reading comprehension, limits, series and mathematical knowledge, but they don't test for subjects that include mechanics, social skills or creativity. The University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Studies says that these subjects are just as valuable than the intelligence that is tested through IQ tests. Quite simply, IQ tests are an ineffective way to measure intelligence, as intelligence itself is made up of different facets, subjects and talents.

Predictive Capabilities

Someone who gains a high score on IQ testing won't automatically enjoy a high degree of success in her life. IQ tests are poor predictors of socioeconomic and vocation success. This could render them fairly useless for predicting later success in life. Psychologist Wayne Weiten argues in his book "Psychology: Themes and Variations" that while those with IQs certainly have the potential for vocational success, those with lower IQ's with ambition and skill can do the same.

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