Saturday, September 29, 2012
Psychometrics, Specifically, Intelligence Testing
I have always been somewhat apprehensive about psychology's psychometric approach that assumes intelligence can be assigned a number (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). In some respects, however, I understand its value. My concern is that testing of this sort can be divisive, alienating one group from another, or supporting the provision of resources to one group over another (Sue & Sue, 2008). Historically, evaluating intelligence has resulted in oppressing or diminishing entire races.
On a smaller scale, such as in schools, these tests can have a tremendous influence on children who fall on either side of the norms. The results often marginalize students and give teachers the opportunity to preconceive how one child will perform over another. The only thing I recall from taking intelligence tests in school is that the results were more trouble than they were worth, but that was in my opinion, as a student. Schools are a good example of the importance of training individuals who will have access to test results. Even today, inappropriately handling this information can result in the marginalization of students, and in effect, oppresses and diminishes students. I am not against formal or informal assessments of any person or group, but I am wholly for their appropriate use .
Shiraev, E. B. & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2008). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.