Beware The I.Q. Test This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I.Q. tests and others like them have in the past and are today widely used todetermine school placement. But they have also been used to classify people moregenerally, often to classify entire groups of people as morally superior ormentally deficient. Although this may not at first appear to be dangerous, thiscan be.

First of all, how the test was developed and applied show us whata poor indicator it is. The test was developed by white, relatively well-off men.It is now basically accepted that there is an inherent bias for this reason. Itwas originally intended to measure the abilities of this class of people andstill is. In fact, when the first draft of the test was given to a sample group,the women scored higher overall than men. The test was thus revised and allquestions which the women did better on were eliminated to ensure that the menwould get the higher scores from then on.

Furthermore, in the earlytwentieth century, the test was often given to newly arrived immigrants. Theseimmigrants, who could not understand English, were given the I.Q. test either inEnglish or in pantomime. So, if even fully assimilated minorities are at adisadvantage, imagine what the results would show for these people.

However, where it becomes really dangerous is in its application. TheI.Q. test often determines school placement, and as such, it is taken as ameasurement of aptitude. This hurts the self-esteem and the opportunities available tomany minority children. But worse than this, I.Q. tests have in the past beenused to support claims of racial or cultural hierarchies. They were presented asevidence that all non-whites were biologically inferior and thus they were usedto support the idea of white superiority and to justify racial segregation andinferior treatment of minorities. This was also a prevalent idea of Hitler's,used to justify the extermination of a humongous group of people. A NineteenthCentury scientist used brain measurements to justify his theory of racialhierarchy. His results could not be replicated by other scientists but his ideawas prevalent for a long time. And this is not only a thing of the past. A recentbook entitled The Bell Curve is using the same kinds of arguments all over againand it's possible that many people who are unaware of the problems with the I.Q.test and with any theory of innate biological differences between races maybelieve his arguments. We've seen what these ideas have done in the past and wedon't want to see how much worse it can get. And so in short, beware the I Q.test. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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♥♫music4ever25♥♫ said...
Jul. 28, 2010 at 2:29 am
its scary to think that people could truley belive that one simple test, based on beliefs of a few people could be ultimitly right.
 
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