Is IQ the Only Measure of a Student’s Intelligence?
Every mind is unique when it comes to a person’s potential. We are all born with unique abilities, characteristics, and natural dispositions. Intelligence, as the world labels it crucial, varies for every mind. When we ask – ‘Is that person smart or intelligent?’ what we really ask is – ‘Do they possess mental abilities as I do? Are they better? Are they different?’ Scientists have long struggled to objectively quantify ‘intelligence’ and other mental capabilities through various tests, scales and questionnaires. IQ is one such measure.
What is IQ anyway?
IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. It is a scale that varies with different tests and different classifications. There are several IQ tests like the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Universal Nonverbal Intelligence test, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and so on. Some of these tests have been standardized and are used by schools, institutions, and organizations to screen smart people.
But, one must know what IQ actually tells about a person. IQ basically tells us a person’s ability to understand given information, reason, apply logic to solve problems and make predictions. A higher IQ represents high-order cognitive functions associated with the logical processing of the brain. However, IQ only covers a small spectrum of what the mind can actually do. In short, IQ alone does not reflect a person’s potential.
Why IQ does not tell us everything about a student’s intelligence?
Intelligence in itself is a broad spectrum of mental skills and abilities that vary from person to person. IQ tells us about a finite set of these abilities. For instance, IQ cannot measure perception, perspective, artistic acumen or creativity. These are the skills that a brain acquires through learning and as per the aptitude of a person. Though the capacity to retain skills, thoughts, memories and experiences to learn, iterate and move on with life differ, the premise is the same.
Thus, if one says that a student’s IQ is higher than one of his/her peers, one is simply implying that he/she has a stronger reasoning ability.
Intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes
Mother Nature has endowed every living being with the gift of adaptability. Intelligence is one form of such an adaptive tool. Nevertheless, it too comes in different forms and manifests into the mind differently for every individual. A person might have excellent fluid intelligence & possess extreme resourcefulness, but another person might be labelled as more learned & wise because of their crystalline intelligence. Likewise, a student might show extreme acumen in Science & Maths, but another one might have the knack for social studies and arts.
In fact, the modular theory of mind advocates that human beings possess 9 types of intelligence ‘modules’ or circuits within the brain. The only difference is that some of these circuits are more active in one person than the other, thus making them unique and good at what they do. This is what personalized learning apps like Learnflix are designed for. By enabling visual stimulus, scientifically designed spiral pedagogy and faster access to content & personal feedback, every student can excel in subjects like science and maths. Think of Learnflix as an ‘equalizer’ that gives equal opportunity to all the beautiful minds! No matter what your aptitude is, a personalized learning app like this is bound to give you an unfair advantage in the exams.
Neural plasticity is real
Did you know that students and adults can learn anything, excel at anything and master any skill they want? Research on neural plasticity suggests that the human mind possesses a unique ability to ‘train’ and ‘retrain’ neural connections within the brain. These can be simple or complex networks of neurons that form our thought process, understanding, reasoning, habits, beliefs and memory access/retention. The only difference is, neural plasticity is more active in school students than in adults (they require more discipline and hard work to achieve the same results). It would then be right to say that whatever a student puts his/her mind to, comes to them!
IQ is not the only measure of a student’s intelligence. After all, a single number is too small to represent the most mysterious, marvellous creation of our Universe – the human mind.