Good IQ Score: The Myth And The Truth

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

There might be some people who claim to have a very good IQ because they have scored good in some tests. Some go to the extent of displaying their IQ score wherein sometimes the score is said to be as high as 120! The intelligence is directly proportional to the score ? so is the prevalent belief. But such a claim and belief is false and biased. Each IQ test is unique, hence a high score in one test may cannot be compared to an average score of another test.

A good IQ score is highly subjective. Raw score is what you obtain when counting the answers that are correct. They should be evaluated and interpreted using some rules, otherwise it would be useless. Psychometric principles may be used to compare two scores, but some issues discussed below cannot be ignored before coming to a conclusion about the IQ score.

The Title of the IQ Test

It is rather unfortunate that psychologists haven?t till now frozen on a system to compare two IQ scores from two varying tests. Comparing two scores just on the basis of their magnitude may not be a very good idea. To determine if a score is good you have to know what the test is about and what was the highest score that one secured.

How tough is the test

The second parameter to be focused on is how tough the IQ test it. It will be easy to know if the score is really good, if we know how tough is the test. Usually the tougher the test is the lower one scores. It is highly probable that the IQ scores of two tests with the same name differ. This is because the level of difficulty of both the tests is not the same. Those who design the test decide upon the level of difficulty depending upon the age group, education and other parameters.

The Matter matters

There can be a lot of tests which have the same title or name but have different matter or subject they focus on. A 120 IQ score on one test, say verbal capability doesn?t mean you have the same level on a test with the same name but focus on mathematical abilities. Usually IQ tests try to include subject from all other categories, but today IQ tests are becoming more and more focused. Hence the subject of focus of the test should also be given its due consideration.

Age: another parameter to be addressed

When you are young, you tend to be a high IQ scorer. As you grow up the intelligence start deteriorating. But the actual intelligence that you possess may be different. The label of test, the level of difficulty or the focus area of the test is crucial. The highest score that you have got in any IQ test may not be the correct indicator of your intelligence.

Standard Deviation Units may differ

Mental age was believed to be good enough to evaluate your intelligence. But soon it was found to be of no use and a concept of intelligence quotient (IQ) was born. It is ratio of mental age to chronological age interpreted in percentage. 100 is believed to be an average score and any difference is believed to be above of below average. This system was good until it was proved worthless, because the standard deviation is not the same throughout your life.

All IQ tests don?t use same standard deviation. One may use a standard deviation of 15 and another 20. it is obvious then that two different scores cannot be compared at the same level. Hence interpreting a good IQ score becomes all the more complex.

The foundation has vanished

You can find all the above discussed parameters - the level of difficulty, the matter, standard deviation explained in detail in the IQ tests. But you will never be able to find the systedm from which the test was designed.

The system is a perfect sample taken from the population. But the population cannot be perfect since the pubic varies a lot. The situation even more convoluted when you compare different societies. Hence no IQ score can be perfect or be considered the best, even though the variables remain stable.

IQ Score: does it exist?

No digit cannot be established as a good IQ score. Any such claim is false and biased. So there neither exists a good IQ score or a bad one for that matter. But the industry is not at all concerned to remove this misconception. No efforts are being taken to clarify this issue by anyone.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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