Criticisms of IQ Tests

Much of the criticism of intelligence tests has focused on their content. Critics point out that most intelligence tests are concerned with only a narrow set of skills and may, in fact, measure nothing more than the ability to take tests. Critics also maintain that the content and administration of IQ tests are shaped by the values of Western middle-class society and that, as a result, they may discriminate against minorities. IQ tests are also criticized because the results are often used to label some students as slow learners. Finally, IQ tests do not offer information on motivation, emotion, attitudes, and other similar factors that may have a strong bearing on a person's success in school and in life.

Other critics hold that intelligence is far too complex to be precisely measured by tests. IQ tests are also criticized for neglecting to account for social influences on a person's performance. According to recent reviews of the evidence, intelligence tests are good predictors of success on the job. However, because so many variables figure in occupational success, psychologists continue to debate this issue. Robert Sternberg and Richard Wagner have called for a test to be developed specifically to measure skills related to job performance. They refer to the knowledge that people need to perform their jobs effectively as tacit knowledge.


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