Debating Ability Testing Discussion

Debating Ability Testing Discussion

Debating Ability Testing Discussion

Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapters 5 and 6 in the textbook and the required articles for this week, and view the IQ: A history of deceit (Links to an external site.) video.


For your initial post, you will present at least two viewpoints debating professional approaches to assessment used in psychology for ages 7-16.  In addition to the required reading, research a minimum of one peer-reviewed article  on ability testing research at is pertains to ages 7-16.

In your initial post, you must

  • Briefly compare and discuss at least two theories of intelligence and the contemporary assessment measures related to those theories.
  • Analyze challenges related to assessing individuals in your assigned age group and describe any special ethical and socio-cultural issues which must be considered.
  • Analyze and provide evidence from validation studies supporting and opposing the use of specific instruments with your assigned population.
  • Present the pros and cons of individual versus group assessment of ability.
  • Summarize the implications of labeling and mislabeling individuals in your assigned age group as a result of testing and assessment.
  • attachment


    8/4/2019 Print,ch06lev1sec1,ch06lev1sec2,ch06lev1sec3,ch06lev1sec4,ch06lev1sec5,ch06lev1… 1/79

    CHAPTER 6 Group Tests and Controversies in Ability Testing

    TOPIC 6A Group Tests of Ability and Related Concepts

    6.1 Nature, Promise, and Pitfalls of Group Tests (

    6.2 Group Tests of Ability (

    6.3 Multiple Aptitude Test Batteries (

    6.4 Predicting College Performance (

    6.5 Postgraduate Selection Tests (

    6.6 Educational Achievement Tests (

    The practical success of early intelligence scales such as the 1905 Binet-Simon test motivated psychologists and educators to develop instruments that could be administered simultaneously to large numbers of examinees. Test developers were quick to realize that group tests allowed for the efficient evaluation of dozens or hundreds of examinees at the same time. As reviewed in an earlier chapter, one of the first uses of group tests was for screening and assignment of military personnel during World War I. The need to quickly test thousands of Army recruits inspired psychologists in the United States, led by Robert M. Yerkes, to make rapid advances in psychometrics and test development (Yerkes, 1921 ( ). Many new applications followed immediately—in education, industry, and other fields. In Topic 6A ( , Group Tests of Ability and Related Concepts, we introduce the reader to the varied applications of group tests and also review a sampling of typical instruments. In addition, we explore a key question raised by the consequential nature of these tests—can examinees boost their scores significantly by taking targeted test preparation courses? This is but one of many unexpected issues raised by the widespread use of group tests. In Topic 6B ( , Test Bias and Other Controversies, we continue a reflective theme by looking into test bias and other contentious issues in testing.



    8/4/2019 Print,ch06lev1sec1,ch06lev1sec2,ch06lev1sec3,ch06lev1sec4,ch06lev1sec5,ch06lev1… 2/79

    6.1 NATURE, PROMISE, AND PITFALLS OF GROUP TESTS Group tests serve many purposes, but the vast majority can be assigned to one of three types: ability, aptitude, or achievement tests. In the real world, the distinction among these kinds of tests often is quite fuzzy (Gregory, 1994a ( ). These instruments differ mainly in their functions and applications, less so in actual test content. In brief, ability tests typically sample a broad assortment of proficiencies in order to estimate current intellectual level. This information might be used for screening or placement purposes, for example, to determine the need for individual testing or to establish eligibility for a gifted and talented program. In contrast, aptitude tests usually measure a few homogeneous segments of ability and are designed to predict future performance. Predictive validity is foundational to aptitude tests, and often they are used for institutional selection purposes. Finally, achievement tests assess current skill attainment in relation to the goals of school and training programs. They are designed to mirror educational objectives in reading, writing, math, and other subject areas. Although often used to identify educational attainment of students, they also function to evaluate the adequacy of school educational programs.

    Whatever their application, group tests differ from individual tests in five ways:

    Multiple-choice versus open-ended format Objective machine scoring versus examiner scoring Group versus individualized administration Applications in screening versus remedial planning Huge versus merely large standardization samples

    These differences allow for great speed and cost efficiency in group testing, but a price is paid for these advantages. Debating Ability Testing Discussion

    Although the early psychometric pioneers embraced group testing wholeheartedly, they recognized fully the nature of their Faustian bargain: Psychologists had traded the soul of the individual examinee in return for the benefits of mass testing. Whipple (1910 ( ) summed up the advantages of group testing but also pointed to the potential perils:

    Most mental tests may be administered either to individuals or to groups. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The group method has, of course, the particular merit of economy of time; a class of 50 or 100 children may take a test in less than a fiftieth or a hundredth of the time needed to administer the same test individually. Again, in certain comparative studies, e.g., of the effects of a week’s vacation upon the mental efficiency of school children, it becomes imperative that all S’s should take the tests at the same time. On the other hand, there are almost sure to be some S’s in every group that, for one reason or another, fail to follow instructions or to execute the test to the best of their ability. The individual method allows E to detect these cases, and in general, by the exercise of personal supervision, to gain, as noted above, valuable information concerning S’s attitude toward the test. Debating Ability Testing Discussion

    In sum, group testing poses two interrelated risks: (1) some examinees will score far below their true ability, owing to motivational problems or difficulty following directions and (2) invalid scores will not be recognized as such, with undesirable consequences for these atypical examinees. There is really no simple way to entirely avoid these risks, which are part of the trade-off for the efficiency of group testing.



    8/4/2019 Print,ch06lev1sec1,ch06lev1sec2,ch06lev1sec3,ch06lev1sec4,ch06lev1sec5,ch06lev1… 3/79

    However, it is possible to minimize the potentially negative consequences if examiners scrutinize very low scores with skepticism and recommend individual testing for these cases.

    We turn now to an analysis of group tests in a variety of settings, including cognitive tests for schools and clinics, placement tests for career and military evaluation, and aptitude tests for college and postgraduate selection.



    8/4/2019 Print,ch06lev1sec1,ch06lev1sec2,ch06lev1sec3,ch06lev1sec4,ch06lev1sec5,ch06lev1… 4/79


    Multidimensional Aptitude Battery-II (MAB-II) The Multidimensional Aptitude Battery-II (MAB-II; Jackson, 1998 ( ) is a recent group intelligence test designed to be a paper-and-pencil equivalent of the WAIS-R. As the reader will recall, the WAIS-R is a highly respected instrument (now replaced by the WAIS-III), in its time the most widely used of the available adult intelligence tests. Kaufman (1983 ( ) noted that the WAIS-R was “the criterion of adult intelligence, and no other instrument even comes close.” However, a highly trained professional needs about 1½ hours just to administer the Wechsler adult test to a single person. Because professional time is at a premium, a complete Wechsler intelligence assessment— including administration, scoring, and report writing—easily can cost hundreds of dollars. Many examiners have long suspected that an appropriate group test, with the attendant advantages of objective scoring and computerized narrative report, could provide an equally valid and much less expensive alternative to individual testing for most persons.

    The MAB-II was designed to produce subtests and factors parallel to the WAIS-R but employing a multiple- choice format capable of being computer scored. The apparent goal in designing this test was to produce an instrument that could be administered to dozens or hundreds of persons by one examiner (and perhaps a few proctors) with minimal training. In addition, the MAB-II was designed to yield IQ scores with psychometric properties similar to those found on the WAIS-R. Appropriate for examinees from ages 16 to 74, the MAB-II yields 10 subtest scores, as well as Verbal, Performance, and Full Scale IQs.

    Although it consists of original test items, the MAB-II is mainly a sophisticated subtest-by-subtest clone of the WAIS-R. The 10 subtests are listed as follows:

    Verbal Performance

    Information Digit Symbol

    Comprehension Picture Completion

    Arithmetic Spatial

    Similarities Picture Arrangement

    Vocabulary Object Assembly

    The reader will notice that Digit Span from the WAIS-R is not included on the MAB-II. The reason for this omission is largely practical: There would be no simple way to present a Digit-Span-like subtest in paper- and-pencil format. In any case, the omission is not serious. Digit Span has the lowest correlation with overall WAIS-R IQ, and it is widely recognized that this subtest makes a minimal contribution to the measurement of general intelligence. Debating Ability Testing Discussion

    The only significant deviation from the WAIS-R is the replacement of Block Design with a Spatial subtest on the MAB-II. In the Spatial subtest, examinees must mentally perform spatial rotations of figures and select one of five possible rotations presented as their answer (Figure 6.1 ( ). Only mental rotations are involved (although “flipped-over” versions of the original stimulus are included as distractor items). The advanced items are very complex and demanding.



    8/4/2019 Print,ch06lev1sec1,ch06lev1sec2,ch06lev1sec3,ch06lev1sec4,ch06lev1sec5,ch06lev1… 5/79

  • attachment


    8/4/2019 Print,ch05lev1sec1,ch05lev1sec2,ch05lev1sec3,ch05lev1sec4,ch05lev1sec5,ch05lev1… 1/79

    CHAPTER 5 Theories and Individual Tests of Intelligence and


    TOPIC 5A Theories of Intelligence and Factor Analysis

    5.1 Definitions of Intelligence (

    Case Exhibit 5.1 Learning and Adaptation as Core Functions of Intelligence (

    5.2 A Primer of Factor Analysis (

    5.3 Galton and Sensory Keenness (

    5.4 Spearman and the g Factor (

    5.5 Thurstone and the Primary Mental Abilities (

    5.6 Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory (

    5.7 Guilford and the Structure-of-Intellect Model (

    5.8 Planning, Attention, Simultaneous, and Successive (Pass) Theory (

    5.9 Information Processing Theories of Intelligence (

    5.10 Gardner and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (

    5.11 Sternberg and the Triarchic Theory of Successful Intelligence (



    8/4/2019 Print,ch05lev1sec1,ch05lev1sec2,ch05lev1sec3,ch05lev1sec4,ch05lev1sec5,ch05lev1… 2/79

    This chapter opens an extended discussion of intelligence and achievement testing, a topic so important and immense that we devote the next two chapters to it as well. In order to understand contemporary cognitive testing, the reader will need to assimilate certain definitions, theories, and mainstream assessment practices. The goal of Topic 5A ( , Theories of Intelligence and Factor Analysis, is to investigate the various meanings given to the term intelligence and to discuss how definitions and theories have influenced the structure and content of intelligence tests. An important justification for this topic is that an understanding of theories of intelligence is crucial for establishing the construct validity of IQ measures. Furthermore, because the statistical tools of factor analysis are so vital to many theories of intelligence, we provide a primer of the topic here. In Topic 5B ( , Individual Tests of Intelligence and Achievement, we summarize a number of noteworthy approaches to individual assessment and focus on one important application, the evaluation of learning disabilities. We begin with a foundational question: How is intelligence defined?

    Intelligence is one of the most highly researched topics in psychology. Thousands of research articles are published each year on the nature and measurement of intelligence. New journals such as Intelligence and The Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment have flourished in response to the scholarly interest in this topic. Despite this burgeoning research literature, the definition of intelligence remains elusive, wrapped in controversy and mystery. In fact, the discussion that follows will illustrate a major paradox of modern testing: Psychometricians are better at measuring intelligence than conceptualizing it!

    Even though defining intelligence has proved to be a frustrating endeavor, there is much to be gained by reviewing historical and contemporary efforts to clarify its meaning. After all, intelligence tests did not materialize out of thin air. Most tests are grounded in a specific theory of intelligence and most test developers offer a definition of the construct as a starting point for their endeavors. For these reasons, we can better understand and evaluate the multifaceted character of contemporary tests if we first review prominent definitions and theories of intelligence. Debating Ability Testing Discussion



    8/4/2019 Print,ch05lev1sec1,ch05lev1sec2,ch05lev1sec3,ch05lev1sec4,ch05lev1sec5,ch05lev1… 3/79

    5.1 DEFINITIONS OF INTELLIGENCE Before we discuss definitions of intelligence, we need to clarify the nature of definition itself. Sternberg (1986 ( ) makes a distinction between operational and “real” definitions that is important in this context. An operational definition ( defines a concept in terms of the way it is measured. Boring (1923 ( ) carried this viewpoint to its extreme when he defined intelligence as “what the tests test.” Believe it or not, this was a serious proposal, designed largely to short-circuit rampant and divisive disagreements about the definition of intelligence.

    Operational definitions of intelligence suffer from two dangerous shortcomings (Sternberg, 1986 ( ). First, they are circular. Intelligence tests were invented to measure intelligence, not to define it. The test designers never intended for their instruments to define intelligence. Second, operational definitions block further progress in understanding the nature of intelligence, because they foreclose discussion on the adequacy of theories of intelligence.

    This second problem—the potentially stultifying effects of relying on operational definitions of intelligence—casts doubt on the common practice of affirming the concurrent validity of new tests by correlating them with old tests. If established tests serve as the principal criterion against which new tests are assessed, then the new tests will be viewed as valid only to the extent that they correlate with the old ones. Such a conservative practice drastically curtails innovation. The operational definition of intelligence does not allow for the possibility that new tests or conceptions of intelligence may be superior to the existing ones.

    We must conclude, then, that operational definitions of intelligence leave much to be desired. In contrast, a real definition ( is one that seeks to tell us the true nature of the thing being defined (Robinson, 1950; Sternberg, 1986 ( ). Perhaps the most common way—but by no means the only way—of producing real definitions of intelligence is to ask experts in the field to define it. Debating Ability Testing Discussion

    Expert Definitions of Intelligence Intelligence has been given many real definitions by prominent researchers in the field. In the following, we list several examples, paraphrased slightly for editorial consistency. The reader will note that many of these definitions appeared in an early but still influential symposium, “Intelligence and Its Measurement,” published in the Journal of Educational Psychology (Thorndike, 1921 ( ). Other definitions stem from a modern update of this early symposium, What Is Intelligence?, edited by Sternberg and Detterman (1986 ( ). Intelligence has been defined as the following:

    Spearman (1904 ( , 1923 ( ): a general ability that involves mainly the eduction of relations and correlates.



    8/4/2019 Print,ch05lev1sec1,ch05lev1sec2,ch05lev1sec3,ch05lev1sec4,ch05lev1sec5,ch05lev1… 4/79

    Binet and Simon (1905 ( ): the ability to judge well, to understand well, to reason well. Terman (1916 ( ): the capacity to form concepts and to grasp their significance. Pintner (1921 ( ): the ability of the individual to adapt adequately to relatively new situations in life. Thorndike (1921 ( ): the power of good responses from the point of view of truth or fact. Thurstone (1921 ( ): the capacity to inhibit instinctive adjustments, flexibly imagine different responses, and realize modified instinctive adjustments into overt behavior. Wechsler (1939 ( ): The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with the environment. Humphreys (1971 ( ): the entire repertoire of acquired skills, knowledge, learning sets, and generalization tendencies considered intellectual in nature that are available at any one period of time. Piaget (1972 ( ): a generic term to indicate the superior forms of organization or equilibrium of cognitive structuring used for adaptation to the physical and social environment. Sternberg (1985a ( , 1986 ( ): the mental capacity to automatize information processing and to emit contextually appropriate behavior in response to novelty; intelligence also includes metacomponents, performance components, and knowledge-acquisition components (discussed later). Eysenck (1986 ( ): error-free transmission of information through the cortex. Gardner (1986 ( ): the ability or skill to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued within one or more cultural settings. Ceci (1994 ( ): multiple innate abilities that serve as a range of possibilities; these abilities develop (or fail to develop, or develop and later atrophy) depending upon motivation and exposure to relevant educational experiences. Sattler (2001 ( ): intelligent behavior reflects the survival skills of the species, beyond those associated with basic physiological processes. Debating Ability Testing Discussion



    8/4/2019 Print,ch05lev1sec1,ch05lev1sec2,ch05lev1sec3,ch05lev1sec4,ch05lev1sec5,ch05lev1… 5/79

    The preceding list of definitions is representative although definitely not exhaustive. For one thing, the list is exclusively Western and omits several cross-cultural conceptions of intelligence. Eastern conceptions of intelligence, for example, emphasize benevolence, humility, freedom from conventional standards of judgment, and doing what is right as essential to intelligence. Many African conceptions of intelligence place heavy emphasis on social aspects of intelligence such as maintaining harmonious and stable intergroup relations (Sternberg & Kaufman, 1998 ( ). The reader can consult Bracken and Fagan (1990 ( ), Sternberg (1994 ( ), and Sternberg and Detterman (1986 ( ) for additional ideas. Certainly, this sampling of views is sufficient to demonstrate that there appear to be as many definitions of intelligence as there are experts willing to define it!

    In spite of this diversity of viewpoints, two themes recur again and again in expert definitions of intelligence. Broadly speaking, the experts tend to agree that intelligence is (1) the capacity to learn from experience and (2) the capacity to adapt to one’s environment. That learning and adaptation are both crucial to intelligence stands out with poignancy in certain cases of mental disability in which persons fail to possess one or the other capacity in sufficient degree (Case Exhibit 5.1 ( ).