C/O Jesse Martini

Intelligence is made up of more than one IQ test

By: Rankini Kulatilake, Contributor

If FP = 10 and HX = 16, what does DS mean? The answer? 15, the number of alphabetical spaces between the two letters. This is an example of a question from the Mensa IQ test. The Intelligence Quotient test is largely regarded as a way to assess intellectual capacity.

Yet, a closer look at the IQ test reveals that intelligence cannot be measured using a single test. This is illustrated through the reality that the IQ test isn’t subjective, coupled with the fact that intelligence is not composed of one element.

When approaching intelligence in a culturally diverse context, using an IQ test created in Western society in a different community would result in the exclusion of factors that determine what each community sees as intelligent behaviour. One model of intelligence is not universal as it doesn't take into account key points such as cultural values.  

Richard Nisbett, an American psychologist, suggests that the Western belief includes the ability to engage in logical discussion while the Eastern view focuses on social roles and the capability to identify contradiction and complexity. Therefore, the IQ test is neither objective nor equal in its assessment of cognitive ability. Intellect cannot be quantified using one biased form of evaluation as it does not consider the vast differences between cultures.

In a study conducted by Adrian Owen, a professor at Western University, it was concluded that one test cannot judge the cognitive performance of a person. Human intelligence is not made up of a singular component, but rather a multitude of elements. Therefore, the idea of intelligence has a variety of definitions and ideas. 

One recent theory is Howard Gardner’s, in which he proposes the idea of eight intelligences which includes values from different cultures and various skills. Intelligence is not composed of one element but is categorized by different capacities, including interpersonal and musical capacities.  

Now, if a writer with exceptional literature skills isn’t math-oriented, their intellectual ability isn’t diminished. Contrarily, it proves that there is another field where they would excel. As university students, there may be subjects that many of us still struggle with. The same argument goes for many of us who feel that our unsatisfactory results in one area lessen our intelligence. Judging the mind through one viewpoint takes away value from the other kinds of intelligence present. 

In spite of this, the IQ test is an effective way to identify young children who may need additional education services, such as “gifted” programs. The gifted program uses IQ tests to determine a student’s admission. These programs help students who are struggling in the general stream reach their full potential as the classroom supports each student’s learning style. However, these programs have traditionally shown a lack of diversity. 

In TDSB public schools, students in the gifted stream are disproportionately white and from higher-income families. This imbalance only allows for further inequities beyond public school, translating into post-secondary and work life as well. 

“TDSB’s gifted program is lacking in racial diversity and needs a total overhaul,” stated Carl James, a professor at York University. 

The fact is the IQ test has indirectly led to inequality and has negatively impacted students of colour. Judging students’ intellect by one subjective test does more harm than good. Casting aside all other factors to place a label on one group of students based on one test is not only harmful to others who harness the potential to fulfill that label, but sets a dangerous precedent for future educational development. As intelligence cannot be accurately quantified, using one test that does not take into account many crucial elements of intellectual ability results in social inequality that translates beyond school. 

The IQ test claims to objectively measure intelligence, yet it has been proven otherwise through its exclusion of important cultural differences and other components that contribute to intelligence. When we look around at our peers, we see different values and abilities. While one may argue that one subject produces “smarter” students than another, that’s simply not true. “Intelligence” incorporates a wide variety of elements that cannot be judged through one lens. At the end of the day, our intelligence cannot be compiled into a single number.

Photo by Catherine Goce

By: Evonne Syed

The topic of integrating artificial intelligence and robots into the workforce rouses the concern of anyone wishing to enter the job market, and the same goes for postsecondary students.

Fortunately, the future is optimistic for students as automation is not expected to prevent graduates from attaining their career goals.

In fact, the rise of automation actually improves career prospects for university graduates, as it is creating a new job market. Forbes Magazine reports that artificial intelligence is predicted to create 58 million jobs as 2022 approaches.

As the popularity of automation systems and the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace becomes more widespread, there will be more and more people required to actually build and develop these systems.

This will open up opportunities for those who wish to enter the fields of robotics and information technology. BBC News anticipates the prominence of data analysts, social media specialists and software developers, as a result.

For this reason, while one may argue that automation has resulted in the elimination of certain jobs, the introduction of automation in the workforce is actually creating more jobs and opportunities in our current digital age.

Luckily, McMaster University has many programs to equip students with the necessary skills to flourish in our digital age. The recent construction of the Hatch Centre shows McMaster’s testament to students advancing in these fields.  

Even if one is not interested in working in the field of automation, that does not mean that they are otherwise at risk of being unable to obtain a job. There is an increasing demand for “human skills” in the workforce since these skills are what distinguish robots from actual human beings.

University graduates tend to seek out careers that require a higher level of education which simply cannot be programmed into automation systems. It would be way too costly and time consuming to teach a robot the knowledge a person has acquired from their post-secondary education.

There are also plenty of skills, academic and otherwise, that students learn and develop through their time at university. Education and experiential opportunities prepare students to apply their knowledge in a variety of situations.

For example, critical thinking skills and problem solving are transferable “soft skills” that employers seek and students develop during their time at university.

Some jobs require humanistic qualities, which are simply not possible for a machine to replicate. For instance, no matter how much technology advances, robots may never be capable of understanding human emotions and experiences.

The interpersonal skills, empathy and compassion that people develop by interacting with one another are skills that are beneficial for the work environment. These skills equip anyone to thrive professionally as the future of the job outlook changes.

Technological advancements such as automation will inevitably impact life as we know it, and that includes changing our work environments. However, these changes are not inherently harmful and the possibilities for post-secondary graduates remain promising.

Students must be proactive, take initiative to educate themselves as much as possible and work on developing these skills. Provided that students make the most of their university experience, and are willing to undergo some extra training to keep their learning sharp, robots are sure to have nothing on them.


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