The term “IQ” is used quite frequently when discussing intelligence of a person, but what is really behind the intelligence buzz word? What does it mean for an individual who has their IQ score? Let’s explore what’s really behind someone’s IQ and what that little number actually means.
What does IQ even mean?
IQ is an abbreviation for the scientific term Intelligence Quotient. In order to obtain your IQ score you will need be administered a standardized test of intelligence. The most common test usually given to adults is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and for children the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children, 3rd edition (WISC-III). Term standardized is very important to understand when looking at intelligence testing. Standardized means that the tests have been normed and validated to compare individual performance to those of their peers of a similar age. This would explain why it would not be appropriate to administer an adult intelligence test to a child or vice versa.
What does your IQ measure exactly?
So your IQ score is actually a combination or an average of multiple scores. Questions on an intelligence test will judge various categories like working memory, verbal comprehension, processing speed, and perceptual reasoning. All of these individual scores are combined to create your overall intelligence quotient. IQ scores are often a combination of verbal and performance scales. Typically individuals are stronger in one area then the other, so the combination of these scores can better identify the intelligence as a whole.
What is normal?
Individual adults usually score somewhere in-between 70 -130 range, with 100 being the theoretical average. If you score above a 130 then you would have score higher than the average population, and below a 70 would be lower then the average population.
What does my score say about my intelligence?
If you are concerned about a low IQ score there are important factors and limitation to remember about intelligence testing. First of all, the IQ is not real. IQ’s are simply a philosophical construct that psychologists have created to describe human functioning in a subjective modern society. If you think about it, these tests are strongly culturally specific. How do you even define what is “normal”? Normal in one culture may be vastly different than in another.
Testing results can also be significantly impacted by outside factors. Were you feeling well when the test was administered? Were are able to focus long enough to answer the questions to the best of your ability? Was the room uncomfortably warm? All of these other, seemingly insignificant factors can play a huge role in the outcome of the assessment and thus significantly impacting your overall IQ score.
It is also important to keep in mind factors that are not measured in an IQ test, like emotional maturity and practical intelligence. Just like any standardized exam, outside factors and environment should be taken into consideration before educational decisions are made.
So why even have IQ tests?
IQ tests are incredibly short snap shots of individual’s intelligent functioning. Testing is often done to identify complications in learning for children. If caught early enough, adjustments can be made for their education. IQ’s are fluid, which means that they will change with age. Comparing performance with the average as well as analyzing the performance in the categories measured can be a great indication of what can be focused on within the educational process.
If you have more questions about IQ scores or are interested in learning your IQ score
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