Joanne Jacobs reports an Education Week story about a new IQ test, developed by Yale psychologists and based on the ideas of Robert Sternberg, that redefines intelligence as encompassing not just the analytic skills that traditional IQ tests measure, but so-called "practical" and "creative" skills as well.
Designed, in part, to level the playing field for admission to gifted programs, the so-called Aurora test (named for the rainbow colors of the polar auroras) is, quoting Education Week:
...a comprehensive battery that includes a group-administered paper-and-pencil test, a parent interview, a scale for teacher rating of students, and some observation items. The paper-and-pencil test gauges creativity, for instance, by asking students to imagine what objects might say to one another if they could talk, or to generate a story plot to fit an abstract illustration on a children’s-book cover.
Teacher ratings, parent interviews, dubious creativity gauges: lots of room for subjective judgments of the sort that, as I've discussed here, here, here, here, and here, tend to disfavor left-brainers.
Consider, especially, Aurora's sample creativity question:
Number 7 and Number 4 are playing at school, but then they get in a fight. Why aren't 7 and 4 getting along?
This question so profoundly irritates my left-brained sensitivities that I'm completely stumped. Only in a fit of sarcasm could I possibly come up with something like Aurora's sample "high scoring" response:
They are not the same. One is even, the other odd. Seven doesn't like 4 because two 4's are 8 and 8 is 7's evil brother! 4 doesn't like 7 because 7 is a prime number.
As Joanne Jacobs notes, "I don't see the next Spielberg there."
The egregious lack of theoretical rigor and empirical support for Aurora's redefinition of IQ (discussed in this article by Gottfredson) doesn't stop it from, quoting Education Week, "attract[ing] strong supporters at the k-12 level."
Education Week reports the Yale researchers as faulting traditional intelligence tests for measuring only a "narrow subset" of intelligence: memory and analytical skills. According to EW, these "are the kinds of abilities that teachers tend to value and emphasize in the classroom."
Well, maybe once, but, as I've discussed here, here, here and here, not any more. Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences began infiltrating our classrooms long before Aurora was a twinkle in Sternberg's eye.
Today's classrooms are so biased against left-brainers that standardized tests like SATs, APs, and traditional IQ tests have been their one remaining recourse for academic distinction.
But now even these assessments are starting to downplay left-brained skills in favor of amorphous entities like "creativity" for which there is no objective measure--but plenty of room for right-brain bias.
First came the new SAT tests, which replace analogies with essays and mental math with calculators. Next up, it now seems, are school-sanctioned IQ tests.