Measuring intelligence(s)

Yesterday our junior class took the PSAT, which prompted me to ask why. Why does anyone need to know how smart I am and how does this piece of paper with bubbles on it impact my self-worth? I came to the conclusion that as humans, we constantly feel the need to determine ranks and classes of each other. In this case, intelligence. Believing that you are superior to someone else is an instinctive trait we have. Acknowledging that you are a subordinate to someone may humble us. No matter your position, factioning our workers, students, or society into groups of smart and not, in my opinion, is wrong. It leaves many people feeling unimportant, unmotivated, and inferior.

I know there is no reform coming soon, because the first step to change is realization that something is wrong. Many people are oblivious to the injustice our society and school system place on us. Why do we need to determine who is smarter and who isn’t? In reality, tests in school are only evaluating one small area of intelligence, compared to the many that exist, leaving some students feeling stupid. Analyzing how well a student understood the material in a class (that is often unnecessary in the real world) compared to their peers? That’s stupid.

Howard Gardner is a psychologist who developed a theory of multiple intelligences, which suggests intelligence can be categorized into 8 different abilities: musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Interpersonal refers to your intelligence with other people, and intrapersonal is your intelligence with yourself. The rest are self-explanatory. In my opinion, this theory should be taught in classes besides psychology, to help students realize that just because they aren’t necessarily school smart doesn’t mean they’re not smart in another category. School favors students who turn in homework and memorize a vocabulary list for a quiz, and these people are labeled as “smart”.

To conclude: Your grades in school do not reflect your intelligence. They reflect your position and work ethic. No one knows what goes on in your brain, nor is it anyone’s place to say how smart you are.



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