As IQ tests, international IQ tests, and online IQ tests become ever more popular all across the world, it comes as no real surprise that they are coming under more scrutiny than perhaps ever before.
That’s not to say that IQ tests have always been warmly embraced by the scientific community and the public at large: they haven’t. Indeed, IQ tests have often been considered highly controversial, forcing them to adapt with the times and to reflect new ideas about human intelligence and equality.
So, what are some of the most common critiques and criticisms laid at certified IQ tests today? Let’s consider some of the biggest ones, and look at how justified these criticisms really are.
IQ Tests are Not ‘Culture Fair’
This was certainly true in the past, when IQ tests would be at least partially based on verbal reasoning and use of language. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that taking a verbal reasoning challenge in a second or third language puts the sitter at a hugely unfair disadvantage… which led to the rise of the international IQ test system, which uses symbols, patterns, shapes, and colours in place of linguistic puzzles to create a more universal accessibility.
IQ Tests are Unfair to Disadvantaged People
This is, perhaps, a more justified criticism, although it’s difficult to know what IQ test makers can actually do about it.
Unfortunately, we live in a world of social inequality, where not everyone has access to the same levels of education. This means that many people will never reach their full IQ potential, even if they have the genetic background which may allow them to have a very high IQ should they have lived in different circumstances. It also means that should those people take an IQ test, they may not have the possibility to equip themselves or familiarise themselves with the specific skills needed to do very well and gain those top IQ test results.
The Tests Haven’t Changed Over the Years
IQ tests are frequently criticised for being in a sort of stasis, and not changing much with the times. However, as we have already noted with the international IQ test, this simply isn’t the case.
The relatively static nature of IQ tests, however, does come with some advantages. It allows us to recognise the developing IQ of the populous across generations – the so-called Flynn Effect, which notes that overall, IQ has increased every decade for at least sixty years.
IQ Tests Minimise the Importance of ‘Other Intelligences’
There’s no denying the fact that there exists more than one type of intelligence, and calculation, spatial awareness, and verbal reasoning questions won’t be able to ascertain other intelligences and talents. However, it would be incredibly hard to make any kind of standardised test which measures all of these varied intelligences, and interpreting their scores would be all but impossible.