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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Eleven Plus and Intelligence

Is this a true story or is simply an eleven plus allegory?

Two mothers were in the playground enjoying a little chat while their children were waiting to go into school.

“No, you are not right. The teacher was talking last night about the intelligence quota. Everyone knows that IQ stands for Intelligence Quiz.”

If we look at the children of the mothers in the playground one may have a mental age that is roughly average – and close to his or her chronological age. One of the other ten year olds may have a mental age that is almost fifteen.

A German psychologist, Dr. William Stern, worked out that we could get a number if the mental age was divided by the chronological age. It was left to an American, Professor Lewis Terman to popularise the term. Every eleven plus mother or father knows that the result of a division is a `quotient’. This led to the term `Intelligence Quotient’.

An I.Q. is not the quotient of the two ages – it is the product of the quotient multiplied by 100 – to get rid of the decimal point. The Intelligence Quotient is the Mental Age divided by the Chronological Age multiplied by one hundred.

But what happened to that poor ten year old with the mental age of 15? When he reached 15 would his mental age still be 15 so was he now average in ability?

Imagine the mothers outside the school gates waiting for their fifteen year old children to saunter slowly towards them.

“I used to think that my son was bright because he had a mental age of fifteen when he was only ten. When I quiz him now on what he has done at school he looks at me as if I am mad. It is almost as if he has used up his intelligence quota. I would hate to give him an intelligence quiz – he may be doing well at school but I cannot ask him anything.”

“Does he answer with a grunt?”

“How did you know?”

“I think he uses up all his quota of intelligence when he is at school.”

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