Rethinking the Role of IQ Test

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student standing near a group of students talking about the National Merit Scholarship..

Rethinking the Role of IQ Test

Have you ever wondered about the role of IQ tests in schools? As students, you are often asked to take these tests to measure your cognitive abilities, but do they really reflect your true intelligence?

In this blog, we will explore all about intelligence tests in schools and whether they accurately measure academic potential. Read on to learn more!

What is intelligence testing?

What is intelligence testing? Intelligence includes thinking, finding solutions to problems, evaluating situations, and understanding social norms, values, and traditions.

The point of an intelligence test is to find out how well a learner is doing intellectually. They will be given different tasks to do, each meant to test a different kind of thinking.

high school students inside a classroom

Standardized tests and norm-referenced tests can be used to find out how smart a student is. Even though intelligence tests have been around for a long time, teachers still argue about their usefulness and whether they are still important.

Most intelligence tests focus on two different areas:

  • Verbal intelligence is the ability to understand and solve problems with language
  • Non-verbal intelligence is the ability to understand and solve problems with time and space

IQ Levels

  • 110-119: Above average
  • 120-140: Gifted or super-intelligent
  • Over 140: Genius or near genius
  • 80-89: Below average
  • 70-79: Low or borderline deficient
  • Under 70: Definite feeble-mindedness

IQ Scores by Age

Based on the results of different studies, here are the average IQ scores for each age group:

  • Ages 16-17: 108
  • Ages 18-19: 105

There is a chance that an adult’s IQ will drop in the first few years of adulthood, but results tend to start going back up between the ages of 20 and 30:

  • Ages 35-44: 101
  • Ages 45-54: 106
  • Ages 55-64: 109
  • Ages 65-69: 114
  • Ages 70-74: 119

What is the purpose of IQ tests in school?

Why do schools even give intelligence tests in the first place? Putting a student’s intelligence to the test can help teachers determine their needs and how likely it is that they will do well in school.

In the past, intelligence tests were used to find out a person’s IQ to diagnose an intellectual disability and confirm or rule out the presence of a learning disability.

Two students writing on a table.

Depending on the type of intelligence test that is given, it may give useful information about how students solve problems. Teachers can develop appropriate, custom-made lessons and teaching methods to help students learn by testing the students’ intelligence and correctly interpreting the results.

The Pros & Cons of Intelligence Testing in Schools

People have different ideas about whether or not students should have their intelligence quotient (IQ) tested. Most parents want their children to get the best education possible. Because of this, schools and administrators are under a lot of pressure to make sure their students do well on standardized tests.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some schools evaluate students’ potential to learn to improve their education. But what are the real benefits of intelligence tests, and what are some of the possible drawbacks that parents, teachers, and administrators should be aware of?


1. Identifies gifted students

Some IQ tests, like the Stanford Binet and the Weschler IV, can identify gifted children as early as preschool or kindergarten. This is one of the many benefits of intelligence testing in elementary education.

Many high-IQ students say they aren’t interested in school because they aren’t being challenged. Because these kids are picked out earlier, schools are able to give them more difficult classes.

2. Identifies students at risk

Parents don’t usually want to get a phone call telling them that their child is falling behind, but “gifted” is something that every parent hopes to hear about their child at some point. But figuring out at a young age which students needs more support could be helpful. If a student falls behind, their school can give them more lessons, which may help them do better.


1. Stifles potential

If students repeatedly hear that they are smart, they might start to think that everything is easy for them. They might give up on something when it gets too hard for them.

On the other hand, if a student is told that they have a low IQ, they are more likely to have a bad opinion of themselves. The student may give up easily if they think they can’t do what they want to do.

If teachers know how smart their students are, they may subconsciously form opinions about them. This could change how they teach and what they expect from their students.

2. Lack of diversity

Monitoring is a practice that can’t be avoided when testing students’ intelligence in the classroom. After figuring out which students have high and low IQs, schools usually put those with high IQs in advanced classes and those with low IQs in remedial classes.

When given at younger ages, standardized tests make it more likely that schools will have less ethnic and cultural diversity. Students are usually split up into two or three different classes at school and rarely talk to each other. This could make the school a place where students don’t feel welcome.

3. Validity of testing

Concerns have been raised about how relevant and accurate intelligence tests are, and it’s not clear what they’re supposed to measure. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences state nine different kinds of intelligence.

However, most traditional IQ tests only measure verbal and mathematical skills. Some people also think intelligence quotient tests given to people when they are too young are unreliable.

There is no doubt at all that intelligence is not a good indicator of tenacity, perseverance, or the drive to reach one’s goals. As a child gets older, these traits are much more important to their development than just being smart.

What are some examples of IQ tests?

What are some examples of intelligence tests? Here are some examples of reliable tests for figuring out how smart someone is:

1. Wechsler adult intelligence scale (WAIS)

Most people agree that the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) is one of the most reliable adult intelligence tests. It is made for people 16 years old and up.

2. Mensa practice test

Mensa is the world’s biggest and oldest high-IQ organization, and only people with an IQ at or above the 98th percentile are allowed to join.

The Mensa practice test asks questions that are similar to the skills that are usually tested on intelligence tests, so it gives a number that is similar to a person’s IQ range. The practice exam only takes thirty minutes, but it gives you a good idea of how well you will do on the real application exam.

3. Stanford-Binet intelligence scales (SBIS)

This is one of the most popular and well-known ways to test intelligence. The SB-V test, which is the most recent version, is broken up into ten smaller tests that take about five minutes each to finish. The subtests go into detail about each of the following five aspects of cognitive ability:

  • Flexible reasoning
  • Knowledge
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Visual-spatial processing
  • Working memory

4. Brain metrics initiative (BMI) online IQ test

This claims to be the most reliable online intelligence test in the United States. The test only has twenty questions, and the results include an IQ number, a certificate, and a performance report that lists intellectual strengths and weaknesses.

5. Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) test of cognitive abilities

Children as young as two years old and adults of any age up to 90 years old can take the test. The WJ is different from many other intelligence quotient tests because it requires reading and writing. It is thought to give a very detailed picture of intelligence.

6. IQ test labs

This is a test that has been planned out and has 30 different questions. After 15 minutes, the total is calculated right away. The test is similar to some of the most well-known intelligence tests that measure a person’s visual and spatial skills and logical thinking ability. The score reports will list both one’s strengths and weaknesses.

7. Raven’s progressive matrices (RPM)

The RPM is the most common nonverbal intelligence test in the world, with no reading or writing tasks. Even though there is no timer, most people finish the test in about 30 minutes.

8. Psychtests

The intelligence tests that make up psych tests are meant to measure different parts of a person’s intelligence, such as their ability to think logically, do math, and know much about the world.

They test how well one can put things into groups, analyze them, and find links between different things and ideas.

9. Rutherford intelligence analysis

Psychology experts from both Duke University and Harvard University made this test. It claims to be the most accurate online test of intelligence possible.

The test was meant to be like official intelligence exams in how the questions were set up and how hard they were, and the questions were constantly adjusted to ensure the scores were correct.

Can IQ tests predict success in life?

Are intelligence tests a good way to predict future success? People often think that general intelligence can be used to predict success. Even so, research shows that a person’s intelligence is just one factor that affects their success.

The Challenge of Defining Success

Success is a very vague and all-encompassing concept. It can mean a lot of different things depending on whom you ask. The following are some possible examples:

1. Successful relationships with others

This could include both a happy marriage and a large group of friends.

2. Financial success

This could include being able to pay bills, save money for the future, and make large purchases.

3. Career success

This could mean being successful in a profession that others think is important, like law or medicine. It could also mean choosing a line of work that makes one feel good and challenges their mind.

unidentified man wearing a suit and carrying a graduation hat

4. Academic success

This can be done by getting a scholarship, getting high grades, or going to higher studies.

5. Success as a parent

This could mean having strong relationships with one’s children, raising successful children, or just having fun while raising one’s children.

6. Being happy and satisfied

This could mean getting a sense of purpose or finding peace within.

7. Moral success

This could mean feeling like a good person, looking for ways to help other people, or acting in line with what one’s faith or conscience tells them to do.

With an intelligence test, you can’t measure everything that matters. In fact, it is hard for an intelligence test to evaluate even a single area of achievement completely and accurately.

Even though there is a link between having a high IQ and doing well financially or at work, even these categories are too broad and lack specifics.

People can be put into the same category but have very different goals. For example, one person might have a job that doesn’t pay well but that they like doing because it helps them reach their own goals. There is a chance that someone else in a high-status job will have problems at work.

In conclusion, IQ tests have played a significant role in schools for decades, with their scores often used to predict academic potential. While they may offer some insights into a student’s cognitive abilities, it is important to recognize their limitations and potential biases.

Intelligence testing is not a comprehensive measure of intelligence and should not be the sole determinant of a student’s academic or career prospects. Instead, educators should take a holistic approach to understanding their students’ strengths and weaknesses and utilize a range of assessment tools to support their growth and development.

By doing so, schools can create a more inclusive and equitable education system that celebrates the diversity of student talents and abilities.

Intelligence testing is not typically used in college admissions, as it is considered an imperfect measure of a student’s potential for academic success. Instead, colleges typically rely on a combination of factors such as high school grades, standardized test scores (such as the SAT or ACT), extracurricular activities, and personal essays.

That being said, it can still be helpful for students to take these tests and other assessments to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses.

This information can help them identify areas where they may need to work harder or seek additional support, as well as areas where they excel and may want to focus on their academic and career goals.

At AdmissionSight, our admissions experts discuss your college admissions goals and teach you more about the admissions process.

During this consultation, we can also explore various assessment tools, including IQ tests, to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan for success.

Book your initial consultation today!



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