Re: Take this Test, then VOTE
140 Top Civil Servants; Professors and Research
130 Physicians and Surgeons; Lawyers; Engineers (Civil and Mechanical)
120 School Teachers; Pharmacists; Accountants; Nurses; Stenographers; Managers.
110 Foremen; Clerks; Telephone Operators; Salesmen; Policemen; Electricians.
100+ Machine Operators; Shopkeepers; Butchers; Welders; Sheet Metal Workers.
100- Warehousemen; Carpenters; Cooks and Bakers; Small Farmers; Truck and Van Drivers.
90 Laborers; Gardeners; Upholsterers; Farmhands; Miners; Factory Packers and Sorters.
"The Fallibility of Tests
Every year in nearly every school district a few children are tested for inclusion in whatever gifted programming the district offers. This is a tense time for many parents and their children. How smart is my child? Is she really gifted? What does that number mean?
These are the most common questions. But these aren't really the right questions, because they all start with the assumption that IQ tests measure something as constant as blue eyes or brown hair, and as measurable as height or volume or the annual rainfall in the Sahara. In actuality no one has ever defined exactly what 'IQ' is and no one really knows how to measure what goes on inside the human mind.
The 'right' questions should most likely sound something like this . . .
Which test did you use? Did the test cover verbal skills? Performance skills? Both equally? Or did it simply measure the mastery of certain academic skills like reading and mathematics? How high does your test measure? Does the maximum attainable IQ top out at 145? 160? 200+? How old is the child? Is the test geared for use with this age, or is the child being tested 'out of level'?
How was the test administered? One on one or in a group setting? How was the child feeling? Was he healthy? Was she motivated? Did he get to go to the bathroom beforehand? Was the room pleasant and free of distractions? Does the child have any physical or neurological disabilities that might make it hard to recognize his true ability? Most important, do the test results seem to line up with that the child's teachers and parents have observed at school and at home? Or are there discrepancies? If a parent can find the answers to all these questions, then she might begin to understand what the test really means, at least where her particular child is concerned.
Here is an analogy, which has been made before and is worth making again . . .
Suppose you have four model children taking a test. Suppose for the sake of argument that child A is 'average', child B is a 'high achiever' and children C and D are 'gifted'. Child A does the test within the required time, works diligently and gets an 'average' score. It is exactly what would be expected from a child of his age. His parents are happy to know that the school system is likely to serve his needs well.
Child B (the high achiever), works very carefully on the test and makes no mistakes, but cannot finish within the time limit. Still, she achieves an excellent score and if she decides to take advanced classes will likely do well, due to her superior work ethic.
Child C (gifted) finishes the test within the allotted time, but works toofast and makes a couple careless errors. His score is identical to Child B's. His innate brilliance is likely to carry him through the advanced classes fairly well, but he's also likely to have difficulty in college when native intelligence is no longer enough by itself.
And Child D (also gifted) completely fails the test. She saw too many possibilities in the way the first question was asked, headed off on a tangent, started debating philosophy and physics with the tester, and came up the lowest score in the class. According to her numbers she should be referred for remedial classes. Her parents are appalled that their child (who reads college level philosophy texts voraciously at home) seems to be failing school. But when they approach the administration they are told, "She didn't pass the test. She's not gifted. Stop deluding yourselves!"
I'm not pulling these theoretical children completely out of the air.
I know a 5yo who was tested for entrance to kindergarten and came up with an IQ score between 100 and 110. "A wonderfully rounded child," they said. "She'll do beautifully in school!" Then, a few years later, when she had failed 4th grade once and was in danger of failing again, they referred her for further testing. She came up with a score of more than 170 on the SBLM. "She's too gifted," they told her mother. "Our programs aren't set up for dealing with this. You shouldn't expect her to go to college. We'll be lucky if she graduates highschool!"
Tests, tests, tests . . .
They are terrible measures of anything, but what else do we have? In my district there's a flat cut off of 145 on the WISC to get into the primary gifted program. How many highly and profoundly gifted children fall through the cracks? How can the same child test less than 110 on the WPPSI-r and more than 170 on the SBLM five years later?
And YES, some parents push their children and some hold them back, and sometimes 'gifted' programming becomes political, a way of segregating certain elements of the population from certain other elements.
A friend of mine was deemed to have 'subnormal' intelligence because he failed the kindergarten screening. He didn't know what an umbrella was, or what a refrigerator was, how to make toast in a toaster, among other things. He'd been living in a trailer, cooking over a camp stove, while his parents built their house by hand. His mother, a primary school teacher, pulled him out of school and home schooled him and his brother for a year. When he was readmitted, she insisted on retesting and he was found to be gifted.
Passing a test doesn't make you gifted, and failing a test doesn't mean you are not. Children are obviously more than just numbers, and their achievement cannot be predicted solely on the outcome of a single test. These tests are very poor measures of that nebulous thing we call 'intelligence'. We are often forced to rely on them because we have no better tool to sort the vast numbers of children in our school districts, but it is important that we always keep in mind the fallibility of tests!"