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August 28, 1987 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-08-28

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Continued from previous page
a test of practical in-
telligence, looking for insight
and the ability to adapt.
Gardner himself is working
with the Educational Testing
Service, which developed the
Scholastic Aptitude Test
(SAT) for college admissions
and other standardized tests.
He is seeking ways to ascer-
tain students' strengths in
the arts and humanities and
although he would not elab-
orate further, Gardner says,
"so far, our collaboration has
been mutually beneficial."
Gardner suggests that IQ
tests may be useful for iden-
tifying problems, but he does
not recommend IQ testing for
gifted education. Neverthe-
less, he says, "80 percent, of
the school systems that use
IQ testing for determining
gifted children say, '130
you're in, 129 you're out:',"
Although IQ tests are still
used to pinpoint specific
students for special education
or for gifted and talented pro-
grams, there are indications
that strict reliance on stan-
dardized IQ tests may be
lessening. IQ tests were
originally developed in
France in the last century,
and became important in
America during World War I,
to test soldiers and im-
migrants at Ellis Island.
The tests were eventually
introduced into schools
throughout the country to
classify skill levels. The two
tests most commonly used to-
day are the Stanford-Binet
Test and the Wechsler Scale
Test. Now, however, IQ tests
are no longer given on a
broad basis in many school
Instead, school systems ad-
minister achievement tests.
Baltimore County public
schools administer the Otis-
Lennon School Ability Test to
all students in grades one,
three, five and eight. This
test measures verbal and non-
verbal skills, and is useful to
school officials in spotting
students who have a discrep-
ancy between abilities and
The IQ test measures a
more stable trait while the
Otis-Lennon test measures
school ability, says Baltimore
County's Paul Mazza to dif-
ferentiate between the two
types of tests. "We can teach
kids skills. The (achievement)
test is given four times to
determine the relationship
between function and abili-
ty," he says.
However, 'according to Dr.
Robert Gordon, Johns Hop-
kins University professor of
sociology, the IQ and achieve-
ment tests measure the same
thing in certain circum-
stances. "Most tests are high-

ly correlated," he points out.
"If everyone has been ex-
posed to the same curriculum,
then achievement tests are
like IQ tests."
Baltimore County also ad-
ministers, in grade eight, the
Differential Aptitude Test,
which measures such skills as
numerical, verbal, spatial
and mechanical reasoning,
spelling and clerical speed.
This test is part of a career
education program. "The
counselor and social studies
teacher may talk with
students to help them begin
to explore realistic career
choices," Mazza. says.
Mazza adds that Baltimore
County schools destroy test
scores four years after a stu-
dent graduates. This action is
intended to protect former
students against abuse of bad
scores. "The only context (test
scores) should be in is your
life at that time," he says.
In the Baltimore City pub-
lic schools, the California
Achievement Test is admini-
stered twice a year, and com-
pared to the national norm
for evaluation purposes, says
Dr. Lewis Richardson, assis-
tant superintendent of Balti-
more City Schools. This test
is used to identify youngsters
for special programs and for
entrance into city-wide
Despite the charges of mis-
use that are sometimes
raised, standardized testing
does have proponents who
contend that it provides a
more objective view of the
student: For example, school
administrators and teachers
may subjectively downgrade
the ability of students based
on the way they dress or talk;
a "pencil and paper"test does
not bring any subjective judg-
ment about the ability of the
On the other hand, oppon-
ents to the strict usevf stand-
ardized testing suggest that
teacher evaluations, albeit
more subjective, are also a
useful tool in measuring in-
telligence. And, according to
some educators, peer ratings
may also be excellent predics.
tors of a student's ability.
Dr. Lissitz, of the Universi-
ty of Maryland's College of
Education, believes it is
useful to have multiple in-
dicators of student ability, of
which, he says, "the IQ test
is one." Eventually, though,
all pencil and paper tests may
become obsolete as more
sophisticated brain measur-
ing techniques are developed.
"I think this is a temporary
way of doing things," Lissitz
says of student test-taking. "I
think we are going to be able
to have direct physiological
measurements of intelli-

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