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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 _ Intelligence and Psychological Testing.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

Chapter 9 – Intelligence and Psychological Testing Key Concepts in Psychological Testing Psychological Test: a standardized measure of a sample of a person’s behaviour -measure individual differences that exist among people Principle Types of Tests Mental Ability Tests -includes 3 subcategories: intelligence tests, aptitude tests, and achievement tests Intelligence Test: measures general mental ability -intended to assess intellectual potential rather than previous learning or accumulated knowledge Aptitude Tests: assess specific types of mental abilities Achievement Tests: gauge a person’s mastery and knowledge of various subjects Personality Tests Personality Tests: measure various aspects of personality, including: motives, interests, values and attitudes Standardization and Norms Standardization: refers to the uniform procedures used in the administration and scoring of a test -all subjects get the same instructions, same questions, and the same time limits so that their scores can be compared meaningfully Test Norms: provide info about where a score on a psychological test ranks in relation to other scores on that test -test norms are needed b/c everything is relative -they help you understand what your test score means Percentile Score: indicates the percentage of people who score at or below the score one has obtained Standardized Group: the sample of people that the norms are based on Reliability Reliability: refers to the measurement consistency of a test -a test’s reliability can be estimated in several ways -you can check test-retest reliability Correlation Coefficient: a numerical index of the degree of relationship between two variables -reliability estimates require the computation of correlation coefficients Validity Validity: refers to the ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure -specific tests may be valid for one purpose, but invalid for another -validity can be estimated in several ways Content Validity Content Validity: refers to the degree to which the content of a test is representative of the domain it’s supposed to cover -evaluated with logic more than statistics Criterion-Related Validity Criterion-Related Validity: estimated by correlating subjects’ scores on a test with their scores on an independent criterion (another measure) of the trait assessed by the test Construct Validity Construct Validity: the extent to which there is evidence that a test measures a particular hypothetical construct The Evolution of Intelligence Testing Galton’s Studies of Hereditary Genius -Galton concluded that success runs in families b/c great intelligence is passed from generation to generation through genetic inheritance -to better demonstrate that intelligence is governed by heredity, Galton needed an objective measure of intelligence -he assumed that the contents of the mind are built out of elementary sensations, and thought that exceptionally smart people should show exceptional sensory acuity -so he tried to assess innate mental ability by measuring simple sensory processes -he had little success with this -he coined the phrase nature vs. nurture, and invented the concepts of correlation and percentile test scores -his work created an interest in measuring mental ability Binet’s Breakthrough -in early 1900s, French educators asked Binet to devise a test to identify mentally subnormal children -he created the first useful test of general mental ability -included items that required abstract reasoning skills -the Binet-Simon scale expressed a child’s score in terms of mental level/age Mental Age: indicated that the child displayed the mental ability typical of a child of that actual age Terman and the Stanford-Binet -in the US, Terman at Stanford University started working on a major expansion and revision of Binet’s test -led to the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale in 1916 -it included a scoring scheme based on the intelligence quotient, suggested by William Stern Intelligence Quotient (IQ): a child’s mental age divided by chronological age, x100 -made it possible to compare children of different ages Wechsler’s Innovations -Wechsler found that Stanford-Binet was somewhat difficult to use for adult assessment -decided to improve on the measurement of intelligence in adults -Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) -this scale was less dependent on verbal ability than Stanford-Binet -included many items that required nonverbal reasoning -he made a distinction between verbal and nonverbal ability -computed separate scores for verbal IQ, performance (nonverbal) IQ, and full-scale IQ -he discarded the intelligence quotient in favour of a new scoring scheme based on the normal distribution -it has been adopted by most tests now, including Stanford-Binet -only the name IQ stayed the same Intelligence Testing Today -now, intelligence tests fall into two categories: individual tests and group tests -individual IQ tests are administered only by psychologists who have special training -the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler scales are both individual IQ tests -but individual IQ tests are expensive and time consuming (b/c its 1-on-1) -so researchers have developed tests that can be administered to large groups of people at once Basic Questions About Intelligence Testing What Kinds of Questions are on Intelligence Tests? -the nature of the questions found on tests varies from test to test -depend on whether the test is intended for kids/adults and whether the test is for groups/individuals -questions usually require subjects to furnish info, recognize vocab, and demonstrate basic memory -also required to manipulate words, numbers and images through abstract reasoning What Do Modern IQ Scores Mean? Normal Distribution: a symmetric, bell-shaped curve that represents the patter in which many characteristics are dispersed in the population -IQ scores are based on this Deviation IQ Scores: locate subjects precisely within the normal distribution, using the standard deviation as the unit of measurement -for most IQ tests, the mean of the distribution is set at 100, and the SD is set at 15 -modern IQ scores indicate exactly where you fall in the normal distribution of intelligence -deviation IQ scores can be converted into percentile scores Do Intelligence Tests Measure Potential or Knowledge? -intelligence tests are intended to measure intellectual potential -but b/c people’s backgrounds differ, it’s not easy to devise items that are completely unaffected by differences in knowledge -test developers try to fix this by requiring subjects to apply relatively common knowledge -so, IQ tests measure a blend of potential and knowledge Do Intelligence Tests Have Adequate Reliability? -most IQ tests report commendable reliability estimates -but, variations in examinees’ motivation to take an IQ test, or in their anxiety about the test can sometimes produce misleading scores Do Intelligence Tests Have Adequate Validity? -IQ tests are valid measures of the kind of intelligence that’s necessary to do well in academic work -but in a broader sense, the validity of IQ tests is questionable -the tests don’t tap social competence, practical problem-solving, creativity, mechanical ingenuity, or artistic talent Do Intelligence Tests Predict Vocational Success? -people who score high on IQ tests are more likely than those who score low to end up in high-status jobs -it makes sense, b/c IQ tests measure school ability, and more school is needed for many high status jobs -there is more debate on whether IQ scores are effective predictors of performance within a particular occupation -there is substantial correlation between IQ scores and job performance -the correlation varies somewhat depending on the complexity of a job’s requirements but doesn’t disappear even for low-level jobs -this association holds up even when workers have more experience at their jobs -and measures of specific mental abilities and personality traits are much less predictive of job performance than measures of intelligence -in total, there is no question that intelligence is associated w/ vocational success, but there is room for argument about whether this association is strong enough to justify reliance on IQ testing in hiring employees Are IQ Tests Widely Used on Other Cultures? -IQ tests are used mostly in Western cultures with European roots -including Britain, France, Norway, Australia, Canada, US -IQ tests don’t translate well into the language and cognitive frameworks of many non-Western cultures -the notion that ability can be quantified is foreign to some cultures -and different cultures have different conceptions of what intelligence is and value different mental skills Extremes of Intelligence Mental Retardation/ Intellectual Disability Mental Retardation: refers to subnormal general mental ability accompanied by deficiencies in adaptive skills, originating before age 18 -adaptive skills consist of everyday living skills in 10 domains: communication, self-care, home living, social interaction, community use, and health/safety -the IQ criterion of subnormality is arbitrary -they have changed it back and forth from 75 to 70 -the requirement of deficits in everyday living skills is included b/c experts feel that high stakes decisions shouldn’t be based on a single test score -acknowledges that school learning isn’t the only important kind of learning Levels of Retardation Category of Retardation IQ Range Education Possible Life Adaptation Possible Mild 51-70 -6 grade (max) by late teens -can be self-supporting -special education helpful in nearly normal fashion if enviro is stable and supportive -may need help with stress nd th Moderate 36-50 -2 to 4 grade by late teens -can be semi- -special education necessary independent in sheltered enviros -needs help with even mild stress Severe 20-35 -limited speech, toilet habits, and so -can help contribute to forth with systematic training self-support under total supervision Profound Below 20 -little or no speech, not toilet -requires total care trained, relatively unresponsive to training -the vast majority of people diagnosed with intellectual disability fall into the mild category Origins of Retardation -many organic conditions can cause mental retardation -Down syndrome: carry an extra chromosome -phenylketonuria: a metabolic disorder that can lead to retardation if not treated -hydrocephaly: excessive accumulation of CS fluid causes retardation -there are about 1000 organic syndromes that are known to cause retardation -but about 50% of cases are not able to be classified Giftedness Identifying Gifted Children -definitions of giftedness vary considerably, and discrepancies exist between ideals and practice in how gifted children are identified -experts say that giftedness shouldn’t be equated with high intelligence, and IQ tests shouldn’t be used to heavily to select gifted children -but they almost always focus on IQ tests -most schools consider children who fall into the upper 2-3% of the IQ distribution to be gifted -the minimum IQ score for gifted programs usually falls around 130 Personal Qualities of the Gifted -it was found that in comparison to normal IQ children, gifted childre
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