More and more often I see the claim that IQ is not a fixed state. That is, a person’s intelligence is not fixed, but can change over time. It’s time to take a closer look at that claim.
In nearly every article that makes this claim, the author discusses IQ scores. After all, how do we measure IQ if not with IQ tests and the scores that they reveal? One such article is “Ignore the IQ test: your level of intelligence is not fixed for life” by Bryan Roche. In this article, Roche tells us that those who believe IQ is fixed for life are ignoring “decades of published research in the field of applied behaviour analysis.”
The research he refers to, however, has to do with autistic children. Claiming that advances can be made in improving the abilities of autistic children is not the same as claiming that IQs change over time. Another problem with the claim that IQs change over time is that what Roche is actually referring to is IQ scores, not intelligence. Why does that distinction matter?
The score that a person attains with an IQ test tends to be relatively constant, although the argument is that with practice the score can be raised. But an IQ score is just that — a score. It is supposed to reflect a person’s intelligence, but it is not secret that IQ tests have and have had numerous problems. They have been frequently criticized for having cultural and language biases that result in some test takers to have lower test scores that they would otherwise get.
This simply means that the score for such test takers is not an accurate reflection of the test taker’s intelligence. If the test taker becomes more familiar with the culture and language behind the IQ test, he may get a higher score if he retakes the test. He may also do better after gaining experience with test taking. But would a higher score mean that the test taker got smarter?
It is a lot harder to discuss intelligence itself than it is to discuss IQ tests. We know that the tests are supposed to reflect the test taker’s intelligence, but we also know that the tests are problematic. While we may agree that test scores may change, it is a stretch to claim that the intelligence the scores reflect has also changed. People are not born with the same abilities. We have evidence that giftedness can be seen even in infants.
It makes more sense to think of intelligence as a rubber band. We are each born with a rubber band of a specific size. With the right experiences and challenges, we can stretch those rubber bands. But a rubber band can be stretched only so far. No matter how much we challenge and encourage our children, they aren’t all going to grow up to be Einsteins.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/is-iq-fixed-or-can-it-be-changed/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IQ-1.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IQ-1-150x150.jpgAbout GiftednessTests & TestingGifted Traits,Identification