What does it mean to be intelligent?

For this essay, I want to focus on how there has been a shift in what it means to be intelligent in our society. When we think of intelligent, we think of those who study and work hard in and succeed in specific subjects like math, science, or reading. But there are so many other ways to be “intelligent” and slowly, I think our society has come to realize that. Why has there been so much attention on how standardized testing isn’t a reliable way to measure a student’s intelligence? We’ve come to notice that numbers cannot accurately measure anyone’s intelligence because there is no set definition of intelligence; being intelligent is different from one person to another. In my draft, I want to prove that there has been a shift. First, I will show how before, numbers and testing and being “book smart” dominated the notion of being intelligence. It is worth mentioning the development of intelligence testing, for example the Binet-Simon test and the Stanford-Binet test. There was a trend to quantify intelligence, resulting in the development of standardized testing. However, as time passed, different intelligence tests were created, such as Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory.Now, there is still that struggle in schools. I will address the issue of the “killing of creativity” that some individuals have voiced, citing Sir Ken Robinson’s views. He was the reason I thought about addressing this in my essay. Here is a video that really got me thinking. I might have to change what I am talking about so that it isn’t exactly what he says. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

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3 Responses to What does it mean to be intelligent?

  1. Sarah Summers says:

    I agree that there’s lots of research here! When I was in high school, I remember people talking a lot about EQ, or emotional intelligence. And, as we discussed in the library, there’s now a push toward character education and measuring interpersonal skills as a means of intelligence. I think you’re going to find a lot of great research! The trick might be plotting it along a timeline and finding out how cultural values have affected and/or been affected by the shifts you notice.

  2. Matt Swatski says:

    I am really excited to read this paper, because I completely agree with the premise that what society views as “intelligence” has changed for the worse. For example, I have usually done pretty well in the traditional school subjects and standardized tests, but I understand that I completely lack some incredible skills that others have. I could never write a best-selling novel or create a beautiful piece of music. I just don’t have that creative ability. Most musicians are incredibly intelligent people, but society does not value their talents as much as say, an engineer or a doctor. The rise of standardized tests reduces intelligence to a number, and completely ignores creativity, which is the hardest intelligence to acquire.

  3. Amy Ketcham says:

    I believe this could be a great paper. Showing the shift might not be too difficult either, since there are so many studies done on intelligence and testing scores and opinion pieces on creativity. Often people think of intelligence in the old way, where students who go to ivy leagues are the “most intelligent;” but this is really constrictive on other great qualities people have. Restricting our intelligence to simply math, science, and reading prevents great music, art, dance, fashion, and so many other things from being explored and created.

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