Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Amelia's picture

I agree with Alex in that I

I agree with Alex in that I also have a problem saying there is single measure of intelligence and that we should somehow view our definition of intelligence (often measured by IQ) to be superior to other types of intelligence. Since intelligence is (I think) based on our knowledge of a subject, people can certainly be more intelligent in various areas. In terms of applying it to education, I believe that it is positive to try and foster whatever area people may be ‘intelligent’ in and attempt to foster their interests in such topics. For example, my high school (which was a large inner-city high school of about 4000 students) had different tracks that people could go on depending on their interests, goals, and talents. While they had a wonderful AP and IB program for students wanting to attend college, they also had areas of law enforcement, child care, cosmetology, car maintenance, administration, culinary arts, etc. I don’t see the point in educating people in a way that they will never need the information. Not only does this process at my high school keep people in school longer since they are interested in what they are learning (instead of learning Calculus if they want to go into culinary arts), it prepares them for what is to come. Many students place out of high school into jobs that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without some continued education. Many students didn’t want to learn math if they didn’t have to while I wouldn’t want to learn about child care. While I could go into the other social and familiar pressures that play a role in the decision as to which track you would like to take, it works as a way for people to leave school and have the most ‘intelligence’ in their area as possible.

These different types of intelligence and ways of measuring intelligence are why I find IQ tests and standardized testing to be such a horrible measure of intelligence and potential. While IQ tests have attempted to get around the problems of the SATs and GREs and measure a more functional intelligence instead of an intelligence of education, there is still much to be lacking. If you have simply never done some of the questions that come up on the IQ test, you will not score as high as someone else regardless of your actual aptitude to learn. I have a great problem with the SATs and GREs (much more than the IQ test) in that it really is measuring how much of a formal education you have had and how prepared you are to take the test. If you look at statistics of inner-city schools vs. suburban schools, they inner-city schools do significantly worse on these tests. It is not that these students are not as ‘intelligent’ but they haven’t necessarily been given the opportunity to work on vocabulary or practice analogies. I don’t see how me having a big vocabulary from memorizing words (and therefore being able to do well on analogies) is going to help in my pursuit for a PhD in Neuroscience. If a test could be written that truly measures the aptitude of a person to learn, that would be a more valid measure.

I do think, however, that having ‘neurodiversity’ in the same classroom would be very difficult to do successfully. I did attend Montessori school in elementary school and I think that it is a good attempt to do this, however I’m not confident that it works. I loved going to school and would spend my whole day reading (after I did my minimum amount of required work for the day) and because of this I read Dracula in the 3rd grade. However, I couldn’t tell you what 5 x 6 was without working it out with blocks. While this way of learning math may have helped some people and could give children a better concrete understanding of numbers, it’s not very practical. Again, as we’ve discussed before, if we can’t change society we do have to do some learning that will let us get along in the current society.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
4 + 8 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.