Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have you ever taken an IQ test? What do you think about those, anyways?

My parents have indicated that I took one when I was about 4: I have a late birthday, and the school wanted them to keep me in daycare for another year. They apparently came to a compromise over an IQ test, which must've come back pretty positive because I started kindergarten before I turned 5.

My parents have never told me what I scored, if they even know. The one comment my mom made about it was that, in 1981, it was very classist: she mentioned one question was about your father wearing a tie to work, for instance. Well, my father owned his own business and has always hated ties, so I hadn't ever seen one on a close family member and didn't understand the basis of the question. But, these issues have always plagued standardized tests, including the SATs, and tend to account for (at least some, if not all) of the statistical differences between some groups of students to this day.

In general, I think all standardized tests are bullshit. They're a great measure of how well you take standardized tests and, to a lesser degree, the ability to express a certain minimal knowledge base within that format. As a student, I loved them because they were easy to ace because I am a good test-taker, but even then I knew they weren't an accurate result of my knowledge of a subject or intelligence. For instance, in a required survey course for the English major I originally went to college to get, the class was so large that the teacher gave us a standardized test on either The Iliad or The Odyssey (I forget) and, despite having read no more than a few pages of the ook, I got an A based on listening to class discussion alone. That's the moment that I realized most of my academic achievements, grade-wise, were based on a house of cards and I was either really going to have to buckle down in my studies or get way worse grades that I did in high school.

So, yeah, I think they're all bullshit.

Ask me anything

1 comment:

rptrcub said...

I remember taking an IQ test in the 1st grade in order to get into the gifted program at school. Later on, my parents told me that I made a 135: close to the officially required number of 140 to be considered gifted (and to get into the mind-challenging classes that kept me from being bored in public school). They later told me that they had to beg to get me into the program -- a program that I sometimes hated with a passion because it made me do things.

Standardized tests are never a measure of how you'll be as a person. Some of the people who were in that gifted program, I found out later, are either in jail or dead.