The accuracy of IQ tests

Hannah Adams, Assistant Opinion Editor

In 1971, The Supreme Court banned the use of IQ tests in the business world because of the case Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. It was determined by court during this case that there can be no barriers to employment that are targeting or discriminating against a certain race. An alternative to the IQ test that is still used today are called cognitive aptitude tests. According to Criteria Corp.’s “Pre-Employment IQ Tests,” these are assessments that are “designed and validated specifically for predicting employee success.” 

Both IQ tests and employment aptitude tests measure critical thinking skills, learning ability, and problem solving,” Criteria Corp. said. “In this sense an employment aptitude test has much in common with a traditional IQ test.” 

Some people argue that IQ tests or cognitive aptitude tests are necessary for employment to determine the general success rate of the considered employee in the field. Others feel that the tests are non-inclusive and that it is not possible to determine intelligence in this way. I think knowledge is such a subjective thing that it cannot be determined by a test with specific questions about certain criteria. In general, knowledge for everyone is different. For example, a successful artist is most likely to be highly educated in artistic concepts. In the same way, a scientist will have the most awareness of scientific related experience. With this concept in mind, I believe that it would be impossible for a test to determine a person’s true capabilities and intellectual range. This line of thinking is backed by Independent Co.’s article, “IQ tests are ‘fundamentally flawed’ and using them alone to measure intelligence is a ‘fallacy’, study finds,” written by Steven Connor. 

“The idea that intelligence can be measured by IQ tests alone is a fallacy according to the largest single study into human cognition which found that it comprises at least three distinct mental traits,” Connor said. “IQ tests have been used for decades to assess intelligence but they are fundamentally flawed because they do not take into account the complex nature of the human intellect and its different components.” There are some professionals that argue the validity of cognitive tests for a business setting. For example, Thomas Co. released an article in 2020 titled, “The Importance of Intelligence Tests in Modern Recruitment”, which argued that IQ tests are crucial for ensuring that employee positions are filled by the most qualified candidate. The writing claims that IQ assessments are advantageous because they make recruitment more targeted, save time and money and get future insights into candidates.

Intelligence assessments are trying to uncover insights across different disciplines,” Thomas Co. said. “As a business manager, if your line of work poses daily challenges, you want someone that can demonstrate the ability to adapt and change and show the attitude to do this before hiring.”

I think that IQ tests could have been a good concept had they been conducted with a wider range in mind and provided inclusivity to those of any demographic or race. It is a shame that there was a period that these tests were used for the malicious purpose of not allowing minorities the opportunity to get a job. In general, it is not possible to truly measure the intelligence of a person. The human mind is incredibly complex, and everyone retains information differently. With this in mind, it does not seem possible for a test to determine an individual’s capability to succeed in a position.