SAT, IQ, and Academia

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: SAT, IQ, and Academia
By Tomv (Tomv) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:22 pm: Edit

Someone posted this, "As studies have shown that one's SAT score is directly related to one's IQ"

I have a difficult time seeing this as true. I do not wish to be mean or anything, but I do know numerous people who have a very difficult time grasping concepts and thus do very poorly on most in class tests. Yet they manage to pull very respectable SAT scores. Most people say that low GPA and a high SAT score just means the person isn't trying. I know many people who try very hard yet perform very poorly in most subjects. Sometimes I manage to hear their SAT scores and am often astonished at the result. It's not that it is too low, but much too high for their current academic abilities...maybe I'm underestimating them you say? Well, one becomes aware when a student is struggling. Low GPA and high SAT scores are not 100% indicative of a genius slacker, trust me.

I have also seen the opposite, someone with a 4.6 GPA who can ace any in class test and absorb most abstract concepts without much trouble at all. Then when I hear their SAT score, expecting well over a 1500, I am often astonished that it is well below. There are also many that can do both, high GPA and SAT.

So what exactly is the SAT testing.....if it is directly correlated to IQ then IQ must not be an indicator of academic ability. Is the person with the 4.6 really just memorizing everything and does not understand how to problem solve? Does the person who performed too well know what they are doing but cannot remember things?

What about the people who can do both? I've met some of these people as well. I know one in particular who seems to have trouble forming abstract thoughts. Sure, she's smart, but when I try to explain myself in any sort of language that doesn't come across as straightforward, or attempt to have any sort of philosophical conversation with her.....well, let's just say the results aren't pretty. More time is spent explaining previous statements than having a conversation.

So what is the SAT measuring, what does IQ measure? What do grades measure? I think we should all remember that we're not robots, despite what the college board wants us to believe. Our design isn't as straightforward as these tests are measuring.

After observing these things I've come to the conclusion that our minds are more complicated than current quantifiable measurements can make.

So I no longer like the connotations of the word IQ. IQ has to be one of the dumbest things society has ever invented; and yes, I do find it highly ironic that I refer to the creation of IQ and dumb in the same sentence.

My intention was not to insult any of the aforementioned cases, it may be just politically correct to say everyone is equal, but I think there is more truth to this than we often give credit for.

By Cuponoodles (Cuponoodles) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:34 pm: Edit

That's bull. IQ scores are in no way correlated to SATs. Regardless of what people say, SATs can be studied and prepared for. IQ tests can be done the same way (people can get a feel for concept maps and ideas tested in the IQ test by looking at other or previous IQ tests).

By Enzo (Enzo) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:57 pm: Edit

GPA's measure work ethic and SAT's measure intelligence. I go to a very elite, difficult school and the people with high GPA's all have outstanding work ethics. However, some of these people are not necessarily those who I would consider to be particularly bright. They are just proof that success comes through hard work. On the other hand, I know many people who are incredibly smart but don't try hard for one reason or another. They might have mediocre or decent GPA's but they can still go take the SAT and score 1450+. The SAT is a relatively easy test. The math covers simple algebra and geometry and someone with only basic or average skills should be able to score highly. The verbal necessitates a decent to strong vocabulary and basic reading comprehension skills. If there is someone that you consider to be "smart" who can't score well, they are probably just the beneficiary of a good work ethic. The SAT is a test of an accumulation of basic skills/knowledge and it leaves kids who rely on work ethic/preparation in the dark.

By Curiousone (Curiousone) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 09:35 pm: Edit

I really disagree that SAT's measure intelligence. If it really was an aptitude test then there would be no way for people to improve drastically by practicing, taking classes, or getting coaching. But that's not true at all. It's an entirely coachable test, and just by taking a bunch of practice tests I improved 110 points between my October PSAT and my April SAT. If it really measured intelligence, then that number would always be somewhat static when in reality your score can easily fluctuate greatly if you study for it or get coaching.

By Dschnapps (Dschnapps) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 10:46 pm: Edit

If you think of intelligence as the ability to problem-solve without foreknowledge of the answer and don't attach "innate" to the word intelligence, then indeed this kind of intelligence can be boosted by practicing certain kinds of problems.

In this way the SAT measures a certain subset of intelligence: the ability to meet and solve certain kinds of problems.

But by no means does SAT measure innate intelligence, potential, or total accumulated intelligence.

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