Intelligence is a complex concept which encompasses abilities to solve problems, adapt to new circumstances, learn from experience, and understand abstract concepts, as well as the capacity for logic, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and reasoning. Since the first intelligence test was created, there have been many discussions about what should be included in intelligence assessment. The usefulness and legitimacy of IQ tests is still highly debated among social scientists, with the claims that the existing tests are biased against certain groups.
Bias in testing refers to the scores of a test being significantly different between the members of distinctive ethnic or social groups, people of different nationalities, or of different gender. Some researchers say that the ‘cultural specificity of intelligence makes the tests biased towards the environment in which they were developed. It makes testing especially problematic in culturally diverse settings (Neisser, Boodoo, Bouchard & Boykin, 1996). With IQ tests being perceived as a unified and robust tool of measurement, many attempts have been made to develop assessment methods that adequately reflect cultural and gender differences.
In this presentation, I am going to propose a new solution for measuring intelligence based on an individual approach, and a combination of different types of tasks. My method is grounded on the idea that intelligence test results cannot be evaluated automatically, as it only allows for the questions to be a range of simple multiple-choice tasks lacking creativity and the room for individual expression. Standardized intelligence tests provide general information about a person’s level of intelligence and allow to identify children with mental disorders or learning disabilities (Benson, 2003). However, when it concerns a more detailed evaluation, they do not reveal a complete picture, providing only a snapshot of a person’s abilities. Incorporating creative problem-solving tasks into the framework of a general intelligence test while using people instead of computers to evaluate the results provides more accurate and unbiased tests.
The proposed test is designed to include several types of tasks:
- Arithmetic problems — a person is asked to calculate an answer to a math problem in their head without using paper and pencil.
- Memory tasks — a person is asked to remember a series of numbers or images.
- Logical problems — a person is asked to use logical principles to choose the right answer to a question.
- Language tasks — aimed at evaluating the person’s verbal abilities and the command of vocabulary, including spelling, grammar, word meanings, completing sentences, synonyms and antonyms.
- Problem-solving tasks — brainstorming tasks designed to make a person generate fresh ideas co,ncerning a particular problem and come up with as many unusual and creative solutions as possible.
- Creative perception tasks — a person is asked to analyze a particular image or a text and determine the underlying idea behind them.
The last two groups of tasks (5 and 6) are made up of open questions that cannot be evaluated by a computer. They are designed to test a person’s creativity, imagination, perception, abstract and critical thinking, and analytical skills. Each question allows for ten possible answers, with one point given for every adequate solution. In ordForvaluation procedure to be unbiased, a list of possible answers needs to be put together by a group of specialists that will be used in evaluation.
The actual tests have to be designed by a group of specialists with different backgrounds to ensure that the questions are not specific to any particular culture or language. As Ford notes, “tests can never be bias-free or culturally neutral because they are developed by people, and absolute fairness to every examinee is impossible to attain; however, they can be culturally-reduced, and bias can be decreased” (Ford, 2004). The language tasks should be evaluated differently for native and non-native speakers of English, or, when used in non-English speaking countries, translated and adapted to the local language.
This approach is based on the research papers focusing on the importance of creativity evaluation in intelligence assessment. Jaarsveld and Lachmann (2017) state that there is a direct correlation between the person’s craive potential and their intelligence, which proves that general intelligence can be tested using the elements of creativity tests. Researchers also emphasize the role of an examiner in test results evaluation. Ford (2004) notes that “the goal of any examiner is to be better than the tests he/she uses. It requires knowledge, skills, and cultural competence to make a complete and comprehensive assessment of diverse groups.” The suggested solution provides a new approach to intelligence assessment methods.
The demonstrated method has its pros and cons, with the main pros being an individual approach to testing, with special attention given to each person’s creative and critical thinking abilities in addition to general aspects of human intelligence. The main disadvantage of the proposed solution is its complexity and the obligatory involvement of a specialist that checks the test results. Given the difficulty of the evaluation procedure, this type of test cannot be introduced commonly and is limited to be used in small groups or to serve a particular purpose.
In terms of the possible bias issues, several measures can be taken to avoid potential cultural, ethnic, and gender ambiguities. First is the careful preparation of the tasks involving a group of specialists not only from different fields of science, but also from various cultural backgrounds, with special attention given to language questions. Using different evaluation criteria for native and non-native speakers of the language is also important in ensuring the accuracy of test results. In terms of effectiveness, I think that the proposed method is effective when measuring intelligence within a small group of people, or when a thorough intelligence test is required for a particular purpose. It can be used to test small groups of students in a university, or by a company during job interviews.
- Benson, E. (2003). Intelligent intelligence training. Monitor, 34(2). Web.
- Ford, D. (2004). Intelligence testing and cultural diversity: Concerns, cCautions,and considerations. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
- Jaarsveld, S., & Lachmann, T. (2017). Intelligence and creativity in problem solving: The importance of test features in cognition research. Front. Psychol., 8(134).
- Neisser, U., Boodoo, G., Bouchard, T., & Boykin, A. (1996). Intelligence: Knowns and unknowns. American Psychologist, 51(2).