What is Your IQ?

Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year


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In 1905 Alfred Binet, a psychologist, developed and published the first Intelligent Quotient (IQ) test in response to France becoming a country with education for all children. Before that the offspring of the rich were the only ones in school.

In 1916, a Stanford psychologist, Lewis Teiman, published the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale which was a standardized instrument or psychometric to determine IQ score for children and adults. Many other researchers have worked over the years and continue to improve the numerous tests available to assess intelligence quotient. The most commonly-known instruments were named after David Weschler, a man who has devoted most of his career to finding ways of assessing intelligence.

Many psychometric tests consist of various sections that include vocabulary, similarities, digit span, information processing, object assembly, mazes or mathematic subtests. An adult or child is administered the subtests which are then scored and interpreted by a professional who is qualified through training and experience. The results are usually prepared in report format which is reviewed with the individuals involved.

Each of the IQ scores forms part of a range. For example, one set of scores would be in the "average", another in the "low average" or another in the "high average" range. The tests also provide information about memory, sequencing, impulsivity and other factors that might contribute to the person's success or difficulties in academic and career settings.

Educational psychologists frequently use intelligence testing as part of their formal assessment procedures to determine appropriate school placement. The scores, however, are not the only factor which is considered in the process. One student may have a very high IQ but not be able to function well in academic or other life settings whereas someone with a lower IQ might function very well so the psychologist is diligent in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each individual as well as the things that facilitate or interfere with performance.

Some people use IQ score as a way of feeling good about oneself or one's child. I frequently receive telephone calls from parents who want to have their child tested out of curiosity or because they believe that schools do not recognize the child's high intelligence. Still others want their child to be moved into a higher grade and think that an IQ score will assure that will happen.

Labelling a person based only on the IQ score can be very harmful whether that score is high or low. What is much more important is whether the person is able to use the intelligence s/he has and be able function in his/her world.

I know many, many highly intelligent people who cannot cope with daily living and many, many less intelligent people who are happy, healthy and productive individuals.

It's not what you've got - it's if and how you use it!

Educational and Industrial psychologists often use psychometric tests to determine a person's IQ score and then combine the results of the test with other information to make decisions about the best environment for that person.

If you believe that you or someone you care about is struggling you might consider consulting with a psychologist. These professionals are trained and experienced in helping children and adults reach their potential.


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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