ERIC Number: ED384621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr-18
Science, Intelligence, and Educational Policy: The Mismeasure of Frankenstein (with Apologies to Mary Shelley and Stephen Jay Gould).
Stephen Jay Gould points out in "The Mismeasure of Man" (1981), "Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. It progresses by hunch, vision, and intuition." The legacy of the traditional construct of intelligence and its measurement through intelligence quotient (IQ) tests has not been educational improvement. Its legacy in the classroom has most often been the denial of educational opportunity in the guise of cognitive ability grouping. IQ testing has promoted racism through the placement of students. The modern construct of intelligence has been narrow, ignoring the many types of intelligences that exist in people. Human ability has been modeled in a manner that has caused harm to many and at great cost in terms of resources, wasted opportunity, and divisiveness. Intelligence tests are actually constructed to produce a bell-shaped curve in which 50% of test takers are required to score below average. The reasonableness of this process is seldom questioned despite the lack of evidence that intelligence is actually distributed in this way among humans. The truth being sought has not been found, and as Frankenstein came to realize, a very long experiment has gone wrong. It is time to give up faith in the numbers generated by testing and to acknowledge intelligence as something other than a straight line, as a construct more resembling a tangled bush than a ladder. (Contains 13 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), Cambridge, MA.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).