Cavalier teacher questions accuracy of IQ test analysis


The approach to interpreting IQ tests is fundamentally flawed, according to research conducted by Dr. Stefan Dombrowski, a professor in the School Psychology Program at Rider University.

“It’s not that IQ tests are inherently bad or wrong – it’s the interpretive approach attributed to them that is problematic,” says Dombrowski.

Dombrowski’s research could have important implications.

“When millions of children undergo these tests and there is a risk of misinterpretation and misapplication, I think that’s a problem,” he says.

Dombrowski first stumbled upon an unexpected discovery related to test analysis during research 15 years ago. “I was doing a review and review of an IQ test,” he recalls, “and noticed a disparity between what the test editor said the instrument was measuring and what my independent analysis was. said he was actually measuring. I wondered why is this the case? “

He began to take a closer look at additional cognitive skills tests and found similar results. With a few exceptions, he says the interpretive manuals provided by the editors were not supported by independent empirical analysis.

“My independent analyzes suggested a more parsimonious approach to interpretation than what the test publishers claimed,” Dombrowski said. “Those with a background in psychometrics (the science of measuring mental abilities and processes) might question the statistical analyzes they used to underpin their models. In fact, if many of these technical manuals were blind peer reviewed, I suspect that some aspects would be dismissed as having a less comprehensive scientific basis. “

Even though IQ tests are complex and offer many scores to interpret, Dombrowski says it is inappropriate to use these tests in a way that is not supported by empirical evidence.

“When independent research suggests that a test does not measure what it claims to measure in the test technical manual, then interpreting the test in that way may be nothing more than psychometric phrenology, resulting in Potentially inaccurate diagnostic decisions regarding children that could have a significant impact on their lives, ”he said.

Dombrowski believes that more emphasis should be placed on training the psychologists of tomorrow in the area of ​​evaluation. “I think training needs to change with more emphasis on understanding what the evidence suggests these tests actually measure.”

Despite the inconsistencies he studied, Dombrowski remains optimistic that they can be fixed.

“There isn’t really a need for a new IQ test, there is a need for a new approach to how they are interpreted,” he says. “I believe that the process of test interpretation could be more scientifically sound if best psychometric practices and an increased knowledge of independent scientific literature are permitted to guide the analyzes and the approach to test interpretation.”

The result, from his point of view, would be a win-win.

“Psychologists would feel a little better about what they interpret, definite decisions could be made about children, and test editors could benefit from their hard work,” he says.


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