Challenging the Set Views of IQ

Challenging the Set Views of IQ

“The classic theory of intelligence in its
extreme form makes little room for
learnable intelligence…To argue the case for learnable intelligence, one must challenge
the classic theory” (Perkins p69)

Many theorists and educators claim that intelligence is fixed, however even Binet, the father of IQ was cautious and so should we be. The misuse of IQ has cause the comparison of individuals, groups with very different difficulties, and ethnic groups. Many theorists like Feurstien, Sternberg, Gardner and Perkins to name only a few, support the view that certain aspects of IQ can be mediated and taught. I have included the unique view of several theorists later in this chapter, but I have chosen to adapt the view of Perkins and Feurstien to this work. The reason for targeting only these two does not suggest I am any less interested or intrigued by the others, however, the view that Perkins offers runs parallel to the material presented in the manual and I was trained in Dynamic Assessment and feel confident offering an opinion and overview of Feurstein’s theory. (see dynamic assessment section)

Perkins is very strong in his belief that a portion of intelligence can be learned and he strongly refutes the philosophical view that IQ is fixed.“Many people believe firmly in intelligence as a fixed, genetically determined characteristic of themselves and other…I (Perkins) will argue that most people can learn to use whatever intellectual talents they have much better that they normally do…Not only individually but in our collectivity we can perhaps learn to think and act more intelligently…This revolution in intelligence is a revolution well-timed for the twenty-first century…it is empowering rather than disempowering, heartening rather than disheartening, the hopeful new science of learnable intelligence. may the revolution succeed, because we very much need it!” (Perkins p16-9)

Perkin’s view combines 3 types of intelligence:

1) Neural intelligence or Nature

*includes initial learning and special talents
*predicts rate of learning to a degree
*neurological speed and precision
*different neural structure for different aspects of IQ
2) Experiential intelligence or Nurture

*cope with novelty and unfamiliar situations
*supports day to day thinking
*coping with recurrent everyday solutions
*from research on expertise

3) Reflective intelligence or Mindware

*novel situations
*coping with the challenges and strategically striving to cope
*supports thinking contrary to certain neural trends
* learn to learn skills

The reflective is the area that Perkins feels can be remediated. He offers an argument for learnable intelligence. “It’s an argument that a revolution in our conception of intelligence is underway, that it’s warranted, that we define it, and that we can carry it further. I want to outline a theory of learnable intelligence that says to what extent in what ways our intelligence can be amplified…What is mindware? It is whatever people can learn that helps them to solve problems, make decision, understand difficult concepts, and perform other intellectually demanding tasks better. To draw an analogy with computers, mindware is software for the mind-the programs you run in your mind that enable you to do useful things with data stored in your memory… mindware is whatever knowledge, understanding, and attitudes you have that support you in making the best use of your mind.” (Perkins p13-14)

Most of the theorists who view IQ as mediatable also are of the opinion that ‘mindware’ is very rarely addressed in school. Perkins would include here:

*the metacurriculum
*becoming more effective learners
*metacognitive strategies
*critical thinking strategies
*active learning
*problem solving models
*thinking deeply
*concept maps
*mind mapping
*writing arguments
* learn to learn philosophy
Perkins cites Alfred Binet suggesting that even ‘the father of IQ’ left the door open for learnable intelligence, in the 1890’s. “The power of numbers lies in the precise descriptions they afford and the precise formulations of theoretical relationships they allow…The autocracy of numbers lies in the authority they assume: things sometimes sound more real than in fact they are…this was a risk Alfred Binet recognized when he began his subtle and restrained project to measure the tendency toward intelligent behavior. Around the notion of measuring intelligence has grown up a complex and technical research tradition, a large-scale industry of testing, and a mix of awe, fear, and skepticism regarding what intelligence really means… Considering the way intelligence testing has dominated both theorizing about and practical applications of the concept of intelligence, it is not too bold to speak of ‘the empire of IQ.” True, a number of developments in the psychology of intelligence profoundly challenge this empire but there is, demanding a thoughtful look at its origins and presumptions… IQ the number is one thing and IQ the empire something else. IQ the number is no more than a measure of the trend of a person toward more or less intelligent behavior across a diversity of circumstance. IQ the empire stands on several further interpretations of what that number means.” (Perkins p42) We need to acknowledge the area of ‘mindware’ and begin to adjust our academic concerns to make time for reflective intelligence. ( see the Learn to Learn section)

In the words of a few respected theorists IQ is–

Gardner’s Opinion

“Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences…sparked a revolution of sorts in classrooms around the world, a mutiny against the notion that human beings have a single, fixed intelligence. The fervour with which educators embraced his premise that we have multiple intelligences surprised Gardner himself. (Checkley p8)

“How do you define intelligence?

Intelligence refers to the human ability to solve problems or to make something that is valued in one or more cultures. As long as we can find a culture that values an ability to solve a problem or create a product in a particular way, then I would strongly consider where that ability should be considered an intelligence… The standard view of intelligence is that intelligence is something you are born with; you have only a certain amount of it; you cannot do much about how much of that intelligence you have; and tests exist that tell you how smart your are…My analysis (Howard Gardner) suggested that rather than one or two intelligences, all human beings have several (eight) intelligences. What makes life interesting, however, is that we don;t have the same strength in each intelligence, area, and we don’t have the same amalgam of intelligences. Just as we look different from one another and have different kinds of personalities, we also have different kinds of minds.
This premise has very serious educational implications. If we treat everybody as if they are the same, we’re catering to one profile of intelligence, the language-logic profile. It’s great if you have that profile, but it’s not great for the vast majority of human beings who do no have that particular profile of intelligence.

The theory challenges the entire notion of IQ. The IQ test was developed about a century ago as a way to determine who would have trouble in school. The test measures linguistic ability, logical-mathematical ability, and occasionally, spatial ability. (Checkley p8)

“… but the shadow of IQ tests is still with us because the SAT- arguably the most potent examination in the world- is basically the same kind of disembodied language-logic instrument…The truth is, I don’t believe there is such a general aptitude. Even so, I can’t think that the SAT will fad until colleges indicate that they’d rather have students who know how to use their minds well-students who may or may not be good test takers, but who are serious, inquisitive, and know how to probe and problem-solve. That is really what college professors want, I believe” (Checkley p10)
“ When I talk about understanding , I mean that students can take ideas they learn in school, or anywhere for that matter, and apply those appropriately in new situations. We know people truly understand something when they can represent the knowledge in more than one way. We have to put understanding up front in school. Once we have that goal, multiple intelligences can be a terrific handmaiden because understandings involve a mix of mental representations, entailing different intelligences.” (Checkley p10)

Sternberg’s Opinion

“ A Yale study, based on the premise that intelligence has analytical, creative and practical aspects, shows that if schools start valuing all three, they may find that thousands of kids are smarter than they think. (Sternberg article
“Our system of education is, to a large degree, a closed system. Students are tested and classified in terms of two kinds of abilities-their ability to memorize information and, to a lesser extent, their ability to analyze it. They are also taught and assessed in ways that emphasize memory and analysis. As a result, we label students who excel in these patterns of ability as smart or able. We may label students who are weaker in these abilities as average or even slow or stupid…Creativity and the practical application of information-ordinary common sense or ‘street smarts’- are two such abilities that go unappreciated and unrecognized. They are simply not considered relevant to conventional education.

The ability test we currently use, whether to measure intelligence or achievement or to determine college admissions, also value memory and analytical abilities. These tests predict school performance reasonably well. They do so because they emphasize the same abilities that are emphasized in the classroom.

Thus the students who excel in memory and analytical abilities get good grades. Practically oriented learners, however, who are better able to learn a set of facts if they can see its relevance to their own lives, lose out…The consequences of this system are potentially devastating. Through grades and test scores, we may be rewarding only a fraction of the students who should be rewarded. Worse we may be inadvertently disenfranchising multitudes of students from learning. In fact, when researchers have examined the lives of enormously influential people, whether in creative domains (Gardner 1993), practical domains (Gardner 1995), or both they have found that many of these people had been ordinary- or even mediocre-students. (Sternberg article
“At any grade level and in any subject, we can teach and assess in a way that enables students to use all four abilities (Sternberg 1994, Sternberg and Spear-Swerling 1996, Sternberg and Williams 1996)… In other words, we can ask students to
*To recall who did something, what was done, when it was done, where it was done, or how it was done;
*Analyze, compare, evaluate, judge, or assess;
*Create, invent, imagine, suppose, or design; and
* Use, put into practice, implement, of show use.
(Sternberg article WDIMTBSp21)

“In a pluralistic society, we cannot afford to have a monolithic conception of intelligence and schooling; it’s simply a waste of talent…The more we teach and assess students based on a broader set of abilities, the more racially, ethnically and socio-economically diverse our achievers will be. We can easily change our closed system-and we should. We must take a more balanced approach to education to reach all of our students. (Sternberg article WDIMTBSp24)

Greenspan’s Opinion

“ A new view of intelligence… we have observed hoe new capacities emerge at each stage of a child’s early development, a progression of abilities, such as attention and self-regulation, engagement, intentionality and complex pattern making, that underlie the sense of self, consciousness, and moral awareness. We have seen how, starting at the very beginning of life, emotional interactions establish the foundations for these abilities…We now come to a most important issues: that of refining what we mean by intelligence in light of this understanding of development.Intellectual capacity is more than mastery of impersonal cognitive tasks-puzzles, math problems, memory or motor exercises-or analytical thinking. Nor does it seem helpful to regard each separate talent or ability as a special type of intelligence. Our (Greenspan) definition of intelligence, while it may include many such skill, should focus on the general process whereby individuals reason, reflect, and understand the world… Intelligence represents two interrelated capacities: the ability to generate intentions and ideas, and the ability to put these creations into a logical or analytical framework. These two abilities emerge from the successful mastery of the developmental stages we have outlined. The extent to which these abilities can be applied in different areas of life determines the breadth of a person’s intelligence. Through literature, scientific observations, and art, lived experience is extended beyond our immediate personal surroundings.” (Greenspan p125)

“Standard IQ tests measure intellectual aptitude through limited linguistic, mathematical, and spatial tasks. many areas of intelligent activity are not represented. A gifted designer, negotiator, musician-a high achiever in any number of fields not taken into account by those who quantify intellect- may still possess and display the twin hallmarks of high intelligence:the ability to create ideas and perceive relationships, and the capacity to reflect on them systematically…Intelligence testers generally concentrate on cognitive skills in certain symbolic fields. conventional testing thus equates high intelligence with the ability to do well at manipulating words, numbers or shapes. Over the years, tester have built up a huge body of data about certain skills. It is the usefulness of this date base for making comparisons, rather than any theoretical consistency behind the skills measured, that keeps the traditional test in favor. Experts rely on them not because they reflect the latest thinking on intelligence but because they’re there. But since intelligence arises from affect and not merely from cognition, not true definition can limit it to so narrow a range of abilities.” (Greenspan p130)
“Rather than measuring intelligence with a single cognitive yardstick, we must find ways to evaluate it in terms of its depth and breadth. Some people evidence creative analytical ability across a wide range of intellectual endeavors… A full description of intellect would also consider the depth of an individual’s creative and reflective capacities. The ability to generate or creative ideas, then to reflect on them and organize them into a logical framework is we believe, an essential part of a definition of intelligence.” (Greenspan p130)

Perkins addresses three questions in his book

What mechanisms underlie intelligence?

Can people learn more intelligence?

What aspects of intelligence especially need attention? (Perkins p14)

“Very few schools mount persistent and effective efforts to cultivate students’ thinking, despite the mention of thinking on state agendas. The thinking-orientated questions in textbooks by and large only make a token contribution. (Perkins p16 )
xxx even Binet the father of IQ left the door open for learnable intelligence, in the 1890s xxx “He left the door open for learnable intelligence. He focused simply on how one could put a number to a phenomenon-the phenomenon of intelligent behaviour…Indeed, Binet mad the sprawl of his testing techniques into a point of principle, writing…’It matters very little what the test are so long as they are numerous’…He took this approach because he believed that intelligence, far from being one thing, was potpourri, a mix of this ability and that ability all jumbled together. He reasoned that the best approach to measuring intelligence was to sample widely the kinds of behaviors that might count as intelligent behaviors…Binet found it practical to assign numbers to intelligence, even though in his view intelligence involved a good deal more than the number captured.” (Perkins p24,5)

“The notion of IQ grew out of Alfred Binet’s cautious approach to the measurement of intelligence. Binet found that he could characterize youngsters’ general intellectual level by how they performed on this ark’s tasks, equally apt, particularly remembering Binet’s dictum that any collection of tasks that did not depend on unusual rote knowledge would do. (Perkins p26)
xxxPerkins uses the term ‘visible intelligence’ to mean when you can see how someone acts and decide how well they can problem solve ie the movers-two sets or the auto mechanic…they have visual intelligence xxx
“The specialist provide a wonderful antidote to the impression one can get form laboratory studies that intelligence first and foremost is a technical construct related mostly to academic ability. They demonstrate that intelligent behavior is not something you look for us in laboratories or classrooms but as much in the ordinary and sometimes very physical undertakings of everyday life. The phenomenon of intelligence begins not with a test but with intelligent behavior in ordinary situations…Measurable intelligence, in the sense of IQ or other indices, is simply an effort to attach a number to the complex phenomenon of intelligent behavior. sometimes such numbers are useful and revealing, sometimes misleading, but never are they the phenomenon itself. (Perkins p31,2)

Visual Intelligence (Perkins p33 )
What do people do that tells you they are intelligent?
What trends in behavior do you look for when trying to decide whether someone is smart enough for some intellectually demanding task?

“What mechanisms underlie intelligence?

*Binet’s answer proposed a potpourri of mental resources, many of which are drawn on by any task. (Perkins p38)
*Neurological speed and precision(Perkins p92)
*With genes largely determining neurological speed and precision…or different neural structures of different kinds of intelligence,or extensive common knowledge and skill, or specialized knowledge and skill,or strategies for memory, problem solving,and so forth, along with metacognition, or most likely some messy mix (Perkins p92)

*Neural intelligence… neurological speed and precision, in considerable part genetically determined, with different neural structures implicated for different aspects of intelligence, for instance linguistic versus visual-imagistic intelligence.
*Experiential intelligence. Recall that the notion of experiential intelligence sprang largely form the research on expertise. Expert;ienctial intelligence acknowledges the importance of context-specific behavior. with realm theory and the idea of knowing you way around, we have a better way of characterizing experiential intelligence than the theory of expertise, at least in its narrower form. Experi;ential intelligence amount to realm knowledge-knowing your way around the various settings and contexts where you need to function.
*Reflective intelligence. Previously I profiled reflective intelligence as a matter of strategies, positive attitudes, and metacognition. (Perkins p 263,4)
What aspects of intelligence especially need attention?

*As the above quote signals, Binet though that will, attention, and mental discipline were key. this view underscores the importance of attitudes, or what I will later call dispositions, in intelligent behavior.” (Perkins p39)
*This question is difficult to answer because of rival positions on the most important aspects of learnable intelligence. While some emphasize specialized knowledge and skill, others highlight general strategies and metacognition. meanwhile, classic g theory fights a rear-guard action. (Perkins p93)
“As a control system for neural and experiential intelligence, reflective intelligence has the responsibility of bucking the trend, harnessing the mind’s resources in more powerful patterns that break out of the typical ruts of thinking” Perkins p113)
xxxmove to new scientists xxx


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