Education Opinion

Battle of the Wits: E.I. and I.Q.

By Emily Douglas-McNab — December 12, 2012 2 min read
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Andrew Ansoorian contributed to this blog. Andrew is a 15 year human capital practitioner and is currently the Director of Human Resources for Shenandoah County Public Schools in Virginia. Andrew believes the “true test of one’s character isn’t how one handles adversity, but how one handles power.” (Quote, Mike Petrilli, Stanford)

After posting the blog “Emotional Intelligence: The Flip Side of Smart” on November 21, a few people tweeted me that intelligence shouldn’t be measured in one way; however, IQ is still important. I agree. When it comes to measures, the right multiple measures will always provide a clearer image.

After further conversations with individuals at my office, I realized that many people do not know a great deal about EI or IQ. Hopefully this helps!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

IQ stands for “Intelligent Quotient”. According to William T. Dikens of the Brookings Institution, the concept of IQ or general mental ability (GMA) has been around for more than 100 years and was popularized by Spearman in 1904. From Spearman’s work, measures of GMA/IQ were developed by such researchers as Binet (1905) who created the first IQ test as a way to identify student’s academic potential by assessing peoples’ problem solving in relation to verbal, numerical, and spatial material.

In the work context, IQ/GMA tests have been used to make hiring decisions since the end of World War I. Schmidt and Hunter (2004) demonstrated that GMA “is highly predictive of job performance” and “people who are higher in GMA acquire more job knowledge and acquire it faster.”

According to the website “Human Intelligence,” hosted by Indiana University, IQ tests compare your test performance with others of your same age. A person of “normal” or “average” intelligence has a score 90-109 or 110. Fifty percent of individuals fall into the average category while only about 2.2 percent of individuals have scores over 130. Mensa International, or the International High IQ Society, is an organization for these individuals whose IQ is in the top 2 percent of the population. Their membership ranges “in age from 2 to more than 100, but most are between 20 and 60. In education, they range from preschoolers to high school dropouts to people with multiple doctorates. There are Mensans on welfare and Mensans who are millionaires. As far as occupations, the range is staggering. Mensa has professors and truck drivers, scientists and firefighters, computer programmers and farmers, artists, military people, musicians, laborers, police officers, glassblowers--the diverse list goes on and on. There are famous Mensans and prize-winning Mensans, but there are many whose names you wouldn’t know.”

It is important to remember that no measure is perfect--including GMA/IQ tests. While GMA/IQ tests are a valuable predictor of performance, they only explain at best 25 percent in the differences in people’s performance. In turn, it is always better to utilize quality multiple measures that align to purpose of the job.

In the next blog on EI and IQ, we will discuss how organizations are utilizing EI tests during interviews and/or as part of creating a personalized professional development plan.

The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.