A final factor affecting learning is intelligence, or the inherent capability of the learner to understand and learn. Intelligence quotient (IQ), a quantitative measure of intelligence, was once thought to be a definitive way to measure this capability within a specified range. Extensive research was done to develop an instrument that would provide a snapshot of a person's intelligence without regard to cultural or other bias. Bias is any tendency or prejudice that might distort a view. An example of cultural bias in intelligence testing would be the inclusion of questions that rely on a framework that is outside the test taker's cultural experience, thus potentially distorting the results.
One of the most commonly used IQ tests is the Stanford-Binet. Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, initially developed the test in 1905 for the French Ministry of Education to help predict which students would succeed in school. Binet's test was later adapted for the United States by Louis Terman of Stanford University. The Stanford-Binet or a similar test is typically given to students several times during their academic careers. Teachers can easily get an idea of their students' potential by reviewing student records-or can they? Increasingly, this traditional means of measuring intelligence based on verbal and mathematical abilities has come under attack. In fact, the very definition of intelligence is being debated.
How to measure intelligence and the value system we attach to it are variables that are being given scholarly consideration. McLuhan (1998) asserts, "It is in our IQ testing that we have produced the greatest flood of misbegotten standards. Unaware of our typographic cultural bias, our testers assume that uniform and continuous habits are a sign of intelligence, thus eliminating the ear man and the eye man." As a result of the inadequacies of traditional intelligence testing, extensive research is being done to develop instruments that will provide a more accurate result.
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