The Irascible Professor SM
Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro

 
"There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence."...  ...Henry Adams.
 

Commentary of the Day - May 16, 2004:  Testing.  Testing.  1, 2, 3, Testing.  Guest commentary by Felice Prager.

The other night, a friend of mine gave me a link to a Super IQ Test - http://web.tickle.com/tests/superiq. I looked at the test and scoffed.  A student of mine had told me about this site and I had never taken the time to look at it.  This student told me he took the test a few times and finally got his score to 120.  He wouldn't tell me the score he got the first few times he took the test.  He also told me he did the math problems and recorded the answers on paper so he wouldn't have to keep doing them each time he retested.  He also admitted his father helped him with the ones he didn't know how to do.

 When I took the test, I did all the logic, reasoning, language, and sequential questions, but on the math questions, because it was late and I was tired and because I wasn't in a math mood, I just randomly clicked the bubbles.

Having taken legitimate IQ tests before, I felt fairly certain of what my IQ was. I just wanted to see what this Super IQ Test was like.

The score I got on the Internet Super IQ Test was not the same as the others I've taken, but the number is not what interested me, although it was lower than the IQ score I remembered.  What I liked was the follow-up response I got in my email.  "Felice, you are an Imaginative Mastermind.  Imaginative Masterminds are sometimes able to imagine things that you have never seen before."  (That's a quote.  I couldn't leave out the fact that the company who produced the Super IQ Email knew nothing about pronoun agreement, but they knew I could imagine things that I had never seen before.)  Here's the rest of the email: "Want to learn more about the way you think? Get your Super IQ Report. You'll learn more about your thinking type, discover the answers to the test, and find out how you can boost your brain power. Order it NOW!"

That scared me to itsy bitsy pieces.  If I'm already an Imaginative Mastermind and I boost my brain power, what will I become when I learn all the secrets hidden behind the Visa application?  Will I become an Imaginative Megalomaniac?  Or as the friend who sent me the test in the first place said, "I haven't heard the word Mastermind since Batman (The Series) went off the air."

His results were better.  He took the test seriously.  "The way you think about things makes you a Complex Intellectual.  This means you are highly intelligent and have extraordinarily strong verbal and math skills.  Compared to others you are a highly conceptual and complex thinker and are able to understand information in an abstract form.  You also show great attention to detail.  In fact, it's hard to find something you're not good at."  Then his email continued: "How did we determine that your thinking style is that of a Complex Intellectual?  When we examined your test results further, we analyzed how you scored on 8 dimensions of intelligence: spatial, organizational, abstract reasoning, logical, mechanical, verbal, visual and numerical.  The 3 dimensions you scored highest on combine to make you a Complex Intellectual.  Only 6 out of 1,000 people have this rare combination of abilities."

Imagine that!  I have a friend who is a Complex Intellectual.

Not to be outdone, and now curious about my real Intelligence Quotient, I took the Super IQ Test again.  This time I concentrated on the math questions.  I even used a pencil and paper to figure them out, but  I did not use a calculator.  The results were much better.  This time I got THE EXACT SAME IQ as my Complex Intellectual friend.  However, our descriptions were different: "Felice, your thinking style is Visual Linguist.  Visual Linguists know what they know and don't particularly enjoy having to explain why or how."  Is that me, or what?  "This means you are highly intelligent and have many diverse talents.  You have especially strong linguistic talents and are very good at interpreting visual information.  You've got your feet on the ground, but your mind is capable of very complex, abstract thought.  Compared to others, you are easily able to see situations from many different angles.  You also understand how things work in a very practical way."  The description continued with something that sounded vaguely familiar and oddly comforting, "How did we determine that your thinking style is that of a Visual Linguist?  When we examined your test results further, we analyzed how you scored on 8 dimensions of intelligence: spatial, organizational, abstract reasoning, logical, mechanical, verbal, visual and numerical. The 3 dimensions you scored highest on combine to make you a Visual Linguist.  Only 6 out of 1,000 people have this rare combination of abilities."

Upon further examination of the web site, I noticed it specialized in standardized tests.  So I took another test; this time I took the Classic IQ Test. I even amazed myself with the results:  "Felice, you are a Visionary Philosopher.  During the test, you answered four different types of questions — mathematical, visual-spatial, linguistic and logical.  We analyzed how you did on each of those questions which reveals how your brain uniquely works.  We also compared your answers with others who have taken the test.  According to the sorts of questions you got correct, we can tell your Intellectual Type is a Visionary Philosopher.  This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways.  Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others -- and at anticipating and predicting patterns.  And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results."

They compared me to Plato.  Is there no higher compliment?  Perhaps someday, someone will write books about me.  Perhaps, when I die, my manuscripts will be published posthumously, and my great-grandchildren will have to study my thoughts in school.  My name may be in the Encyclopedia, and when children go online and take The New Improved Super IQ Test, it will say, "Like Felice Prager, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others --- and at anticipating and predicting patterns.  And unlike Plato, you have an exceptional sense of humor."  I am an Imaginative Mastermind,  a Visual Linguist, and a Visionary Philosopher.  I just don't know how life can get any better….unless someone suddenly told me that there were no carbs in spaghetti.

© 2004, Felice Prager.
_______________________________________________
Felice Prager is a former English teacher and freelance writer from Arizona.  She publishes the Write Funny pages.

The IP comments:  Much has been written about intelligence and IQ tests, and whether the cognitive abilities of humans can be reduced to the single number that comes out the IQ testing process.  However, just as humans come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, their cognitive abilities vary widely.  That's a fact that should be remembered by those who propose "one size fits all" curricula for the public schools.

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© 2004 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.