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IQ Reliability in Measuring Human Intelligence Term Paper

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Updated: May 26th, 2020


The use of intellectual quotient to measure human intelligence is common among psychologists. Businesses, organizations, and medical practitioners use the IQ scale because it is instrumental in providing solutions, identification of talents and unique abilities, determination of intelligence levels, and helping people with writing, learning, and speaking problems. However, some scholars have criticized the use of IQ to measure human intellectual capacity. The scholars cite shortcomings like the inability of the IQ scale to provide accurate results and determine intelligence. Therefore, the purpose of the term paper is to discuss the reliability of IQ in measuring human intelligence.

Description of the Issue

Intellectual quotient is a score resulting out of many standardized tests whereas intelligence is a unified general capacity of the mind to acquire knowledge and resolve problems through reasoning. A psychologist called William stern pioneered the concept of intellectual quotient. The development of intellectual quotient gives a score that is the median raw score. The median raw score produced by the quotient is the standard deviation.

From historical times, scholars have associated the quotient with aspects like mortality, parental status, morbidity, and biological features. Forecasts on educational achievements, special needs, income, and job performance employ IQ in their measurement. Additionally, scholars also use the quotient when studying the distribution of IQ in the population. According to IQ‘s scale, a person who has an IQ of 10 out of 100 is regarded to have an average intelligence, whereas an individual who has an IQ of 130 is considered as typically smart and exceptional.

Currently, a number of people believe in the use of IQ in measuring human intelligence. The individuals believe that the scale provided by IQ is an effective tool of measurement that gives accurate outcomes. Therefore, they are comfortable with the IQ scale and like its application in measuring the intelligence of humans, identification of unique and special talents, and in helping individuals who have learning, reading, speaking, or writing problems. However, there are challenges associated with the use of IQ in measurement of intelligence.

The challenges include lack of accuracy and ineffectiveness in the determination of individual level of intelligence. The scale does not consider all factors that affect the intelligence of an individual such as health, working or learning conditions, natural calamities, accidents, and reluctance of an individual. Nonetheless, the IQ scale predicts the future achievements of an individual irrespective of the shortcomings. This has led to numerous arguments and criticism from those people who oppose the use of IQ in measuring the level of human intelligence.

From historical times, people have used IQ scale for a number of reasons. The scale has proved to be a key ingredient in many fields such as medical and business fields. Therefore, there are individuals who support its use and encourage individuals to employ the concept in the measurement of their intelligence levels. Conversely, there are critics who oppose the application of the IQ scale in measuring human intelligence. The critics, state that the scale has flaws; hence, people should not use it because it does not produce accurate results. Furthermore, individuals opposing the application of the IQ scale of measurement note that the scale does not consider factors like health, diseases, catastrophes, or bad luck in its measurement. Therefore, according to the critics, people should not use the concept and the scale in measuring the levels of intelligence.

Background and History of the Issue

The use of IQ to measure intelligence took place in the early 19 century. During this period, people used IQ as a system for the imperial examination in China. Teachers assessed the candidates using early forms of psychological testing. The main aim of the test was to assess the skills of candidates in areas like common law and financial policies. Additionally, according to Herrnstein (2004), French used the intelligence quotient to distinguish mental retardation from mental illness. The focus of the French was to reduce torture, ridicule, and neglect experienced by the mentally retarded and the mentally ill individuals.

Furthermore, an English man called Francis Galton established psychometrics and used the quotient to measure intelligence using non-verbal sensory motor examinations. Siegler (2004) states that the application was popular at first, but later abandoned after the results failed to match the college grades. In 1905, the quotient helped in identifying mental retardation in school children. The IQ employed Binet’s Simon scale to identify mental retardation on a six-year-old child. After 5 years, eugenics used the IQ to measure mental retardation in many American women. The majority of the women were poor African American women.

The disagreement arose concerning the effectiveness of IQ in measuring intelligence. Critics such as Keith Stanovich and Stephen Jay said that the IQ scale ignored many factors of mental ability. Gould (2007) highlights that their argument was if the IQ score scale used was accurate in giving the person’s level of intelligence. Another argument was about the failure of IQ intelligence to consider and incorporate different cultural and intellectual backgrounds of the respondents.

In addition, there was an argument on whether IQ tests only predicted individual’s achievements. Extend of the projection and accuracy of the prediction. Furthermore, the IQ scale used in measuring intelligence did not consider factors like emotions, personal knowledge, incentives, and health. These factors affect the performance of a person. Therefore, the critics of the concept used it to validate their argument. The critics also noted that in predicting the future achievements of individuals, the IQ scale of measurement failed to consider uncertainties such as drug and substance abuse, bad luck, diseases, and catastrophes

The Current State of Disagreement

The scholars proposing the use of IQ in measuring the level of intelligence on individuals and those criticizing the effectiveness of the concept are the main stakeholders. The proposers are bound to lose if the opposing side wins because societies and states will no longer value the use of IQ in measuring the intelligence of individuals. According to McGuire (2008), criticism on the reliability of IQ in measuring the intelligence of individuals started towards late 20th century. Critics like Stephen Jay stated that the test had racial inclination. Moreover, Peter Shoneman noted that IQ scale was false and regarded the outcomes of past scholars as assumptions. Furthermore, the American psychological association termed the methods used by the IQ scale as old fashioned and outdated.

However, IQ has had many successes for many years among many respondents. Therefore, there is a likelihood that a solution for the impending problem may be underway despite the challenges posed by the flaws from the scale. Since IQ, scale has given outstanding results to many respondents, the critics of the concept cannot conclusively rule out the importance of the scale. The IQ is very important in the measurement of professional and social skills.

Additionally, the scale is useful in identifying individuals who have challenges that affect their writing, learning, or speaking abilities. Organizations usually rely on the IQ scale when identifying suitable people because the scale is an important tool in ascertaining the knowledge and interests of an individual. Besides, the IQ tests are important in identifying talents and people with special abilities. Thus, it is likely that societies and critics will reach a point of reconciliation and get a solution for the challenges, as the benefits outweigh the challenges.

My Position

In my opinion, I believe that people should continue using the IQ scale in measuring human intelligence. Since the scale has many benefits, the society should continue to apply the scale in measuring the intelligence. In addition, effective implementation of the IQ measurement scale produces a number of accurate outcomes. The outcomes include person’s ability to store and recover information, identification of unique talents and abilities of individuals, improvement of abilities of people with learning, reading or speaking difficulties, and enhancement of how individuals process information (Gould, 2007). The scale can also provide predictions of future achievements. Therefore, an individual is in a position to prepare and plan for the future with set targets and goals. That is why I strongly believe that the IQ scale is accurate and reliable in measuring human intelligence.


The IQ scale used to measure human intelligence is very important. The scale provides a range of consistent questions, which are standardized. These questions are very important in ascertaining the person’s level of intelligence. The IQ scale is very important and practical as it can help parents, teachers, guardians, and individuals identify hidden talents and unique abilities of individuals. Additionally, the doctors and medical practitioners can use the scale to help people especially children who have problems in learning and improve their skills. Therefore, the IQ scale is very important and helpful if individuals implement the scale effectively. The benefits accruing from the scale outweigh the challenges. Thus, the scale is very significant in providing solutions and innovations for people worldwide, and thus nobody should rule out the significance of the IQ in measuring intelligence.


Gould, J. (2007).The Mismeasure of Man. London: Havard University Press.

Herrnstein, R. (2004).The Bell Curve. New York: California Publishers.

McGuire, F. (2008).Army Alpha and Beta Tests of Intelligence. New York: Macmillan Publishers.

Siegler, R. (2004). The Other Alfred Binet. Developmental Psychology, 28(9),179-190.

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