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  • Kathryn Patterson

Children and Multiple Intelligences, Part 2

Before we proceed to comparing the theories of multiple intelligences to the standard IQ tests, I believe a little history lesson is in order. The modern intelligent quotient (IQ) test began in the early 1900s.  France passed a law requiring school for all children during this time, but the French officials worried about how much money to put into the system.  Specifically, they worried about slow learners.  This is where Dr. Alfred Binet and his team enter the picture.  Dr. Binet agreed to help the French government.  To get around the problem of testing pre-literate children, Dr. Binet used three criteria for his tests:

  1. Attention span

  2. Problem Solving Skills

  3. MemorySoon, Dr. Binet and his team noticed that while the majority of children performed the tasks within one standard deviation, some children performed the tasks on par with children either significantly older or younger.  They created a formula to describe this phenomena:

Mental Age of Child


Real Age of Child

Note that this gives you the "quotient" part of IQ.

Dr. Binet multiplied the resultant number by 100 to get rid of the decimal.  So the first formula for IQ was

 Mental Age/Real Age x 100 = Intelligent Quotient

So if a child who is 10 years old performs as well as a 12 year old, her IQ is:

12/10 x 100 = 1.2 x 100 = 120

While a 10 year old child who performs as well as an eight year old child has an IQ of:

8/10 x 100 = .80 x 100 = 80

The scientific community latched onto Dr. Binet's work as ground-breaking in the arena of measuring intelligence, something that had not been done before.  But Dr. Binet stressed that his tests were limited in their scope, and that further research needed to be done.  Dr. Binet died before this research was completed, but several scientists took over, continuing his research and evolving the test to what we have today.

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