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Limits of IQ Tests

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: Why are IQ testing so limiting?

A: In general, IQ tests are just attempts of psychologists to measure ability as best as it is scientifically and objectively possible. This is done using what they perceive to be the best questions that would capture the mastery of skills tested. But in the end, it's just their perceptions based on their experience, knowledge and expertise that determine the “best” questions. There is not single test that can test every aspect of giftedness.

The purpose of the intelligence test is to provide information but not alone, it should be in conjunction with other tests regarding an individual's level of cognitive functioning. This process allows for the identification of an individual's strengths and needs and provides insight with respect to neurological functioning. More current research indicates enough support that intelligence tests can predict an extremely wide number of variables. In particular, these tests are an excellent predictor of academic achievement and occupational performance. This is mainly due to the sensitivity of he test items to capture the presence of any neuropsychological deficits (e.g., learning disabilities).

Apart from the identification of possible weaknesses, these tests also have the capacity to identify strengths and untapped potential of an individual. This information is very essential and serves as a catalyst for individuals to pursue educational and career opportunities they might not have otherwise considered.

One of the most important issues relating to IQ test results is that all variables that are crucial for an individual's success are not and cannot be measured by intelligence tests alone. This is why an intelligence profile extends beyond the administration of a single test and the need for multidisciplinary assessment.

To conclude, an intellectual assessment is just one component of a valid intellectual assessment when a standardised test is used. At the end of it, psychology is just a science and experts in this field aim to use that science to better understand human behaviour and personal need, and intelligence testing is just one of the attempts. I truly believe we are who we make ourselves to be and self determination, hard work and motivation will almost always ensure a better future.


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