Intelligence: Definition and Measurement

Different individuals have defined intelligence in various ways. This means there is no standard definition of intelligence that exists due to the different perspectives among individuals. For instance, intelligence has been defined as a general mental capacity that enables individuals to reason, solve problems, think, and reason. The other definition is that intelligence is the ability to understand complex ideas, the ability to adjust to the environment, the ability to overcome obstacles, and the ability to engage in various forms of reasoning. Researchers argue that the levels of intelligence vary between different individuals. Intelligence tests have also been conducted animals such as apes to measure their mental abilities. The theories explaining intelligence have been subjected to considerable criticisms both positively and negatively.

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This paper explicates intelligence and the measurements used to determine its level.

The definitions clearly give a view that intelligence involves a mental ability. The inclusion of mental ability in the definitions is positive because intelligence emanates from an individual’s mind. For one to be regarded as intelligent, he must have some measure of mental capacity. According to Elliot (2005) the theories’ explanation that intelligence involves the ability to think is reasonable because individuals who do not possess the mental capacity cannot reason. Therefore, one needs the backing of the mind in the process of reasoning. Intelligence has been defined as the ability to solve complex problems. This is a sensible definition of intelligence because individuals would not be able to attempt finding solutions to complicated and complex problems if they do not possess mental capacity. All the theories aimed at defining intelligence are given meaningful explanations of intelligence as the mental ability of an individual.

Louis L. Thurstone’s theory of primary mental ability would fit best in my selected instruments. The definition is related to the measurement as it has elements of verbal comprehension. This means an individual is able to understand what is being said by others without straining. There is a relationship in the manner that they both address language fluency as a measure of intelligence. In addition, the perception speed is a common feature among all of them.  Huang (2008) reports that perception speed is the rate at which an individual is able to form conclusions and develop attitudes towards various issues occurring in the surroundings using his mental capacity. They are related in the manner they both feature mathematical abilities in the explanations relating to intelligence.

The measures are reliable because they have a close relationship with the theoretical definitions of intelligence. This makes them give detailed information drawn from the theories hence reliable. The validity level of the measures is high because they could be tested in the real world, to determine their level of truth. Normative procedures could be easily applied to measure because they give universally accepted tests relating to intelligence. This attracts some form of formality in the presentation of the measures relating to intelligence. Weiner, Freedheim, Reynolds, Schinka, Miller, & Velicer (2003) assert that the measures have some degree of bias because they only base on an individual’s ability to undertake a given activity. They do not put into consideration the fact that intelligence varies greatly among various individuals and animals all over the globe.

Both the intelligence theory and the tests focus on the ability to comprehend. Comprehension is about the clear understanding of a given subject matter. The theory explains that an individual’s intelligence would depend on his ability to understand various situations and matters in the society and ultimately make something out of the happenings. The tests also emphasize that the level of intelligence in an individual would be based on his tested ability to understand given situations affecting them. This would help them come up with solutions.

The achievement assessments and intelligence both highlight that an individual’s mental capacity would be based on the processing speed in analyzing events. They both explain the view that the processing speed of the mind would determine somebody’s intelligence. In line with this, they emphasize the view that individuals with slower mental processing speed are less intelligent compared to those with very high processing speed. This common feature between intelligence and the assessment would help measure the intelligence capacities of various individuals if subjected to a given questioning tests.

On the other hand, intelligence highlights the view that an individual’s ability would be based on one’s associative memory while the assessments base on quantitative knowledge.  Lindsay, Wyoming, & Psychology (2006) intimate that associative memory involves creating multiple databases basing on both structured and unstructured data. The theory emphasizes that the intelligence of an individual is based on his ability to relate both structured and unstructured information in his mind. On the other hand, the assessments talk about quantitative knowledge that involves storage of large amounts of information to be used in the analysis of certain events in the future. They emphasize the sense that one’s intelligence is based on his ability to apply what he learns today to other issues in the future.

The goals of the tests are similar in that they all aim at testing the varying intelligence levels among different individuals. According to  Weiner, Freedheim, Reynolds, Schinka, Miller, & Velicer (2003) the tests are aimed at measuring the growing levels of intelligence among individuals at varying stages in life. For instance, they measure the intelligence levels from starting from childhood to adulthood. With this, they all aim at measuring the varying intelligence levels in individuals at different stages in life.

The difference between the goals of the test lies in groups of individuals that are tested. General Educational Development and National Assessment of Educational Progress mostly target students at the high school levels. The tests are mainly conducted among high school students, to determine their intelligence capabilities.  Elliot (2005) observes that Woodcock and Wechsler focus on determining the intelligence capabilities of all individuals without putting into consideration their levels of education. The two tests cover everyone in the society.

The tests are used to compare intelligence levels among various individuals covered in the study. This is after they are taken through similar processes involving different activities. The differing tests are vital because they help ascertain everyone’s best area.  According to Huang (2008) an individual would likely perform better in one test compared to another. This gives the researchers a chance to determine each person’s best area.

The achievement and intelligence tests raise ethical concerns relating to education. They tend to demoralize some students and make them appear less intelligent. This is likely to lead to deteriorating performance among most students. Therefore, the researchers should conduct the tests with due respect and confidentiality to avert the problem.

In conclusion, intelligence varies among different individuals. Researchers have asserted that animals also do have some given levels of intelligence that would enable them detect various changes in the environment. The primary mental ability theory relates to the selected tests and assessments. They both relate as they emphasize that intelligence is based on one’s ability to comprehend various issues through speech. In addition, they relate in the manner they highlight the issue of perception speed. This is the ability of an individual to come up with conclusions on various issues, as they understand them. The assessments and tests raise various ethical issues in schools. They would demoralize some students and make them appear weaker compared to others. Therefore, researchers should conduct the tests with due respect and confidentiality.

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