To move beyond the limitations of IQ, it is essential to adopt a holistic view of intelligence

If you ask someone how intelligent they are. They would normally respond by rating themselves on a scale of 1-10. I have never encountered anyone in my life who would ever see the flaw in the question itself. This is because people assume intelligence to be a fixed measurable trait that expresses itself through certain abilities such as Mathematical, logical and linguistic and can be quantified on a numerical scale. This definition of intelligence runs through our culture, It’s at the heart of the idea of academic ability, is the basis of entry into educational institutions and employment and stands as a foundation of the idea of IQ. This in simple words means that we could quantify intelligence and rely on IQ and other standardized tests to identify who among us is truly intelligent and how much by giving him a number on a numerical scale. For decades, intelligence quotient (IQ) has been considered the gold standard for measuring intellectual capabilities.
While these tests can of course provide insights into certain aspects of intelligence, they fail to capture the full range of human capabilities. As we delve deeper into understanding the complexities of human intelligence, it becomes evident that reducing it to a mere number falls far short of capturing the true nature and essence of human intelligence. Even, Alfred Binet, one of the creators of the IQ test, intended to identify children with special needs so they could get appropriate forms of schooling. He never intended to identify degrees of intelligence as such. In fact, Binet himself said that the scale he created does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured.
Nor did he ever intend it to suggest that an individual could not become more intelligent over time. History throws enormous stories of successful people excelling in various spheres of activity who had never been good at school or could never have scored high on the scale of IQ and standardised tests.
We know at least three features of intelligence. The first is that intelligence is diverse. We perceive the world in many ways we experience it. Intelligence encompasses a wide array of skills, including emotional intelligence, creativity, social intelligence, and practical intelligence, which IQ tests often overlook. Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences, suggesting that intelligence is not a single entity but rather a combination of various abilities. Gardner identified eight types of intelligence-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Although, this theory emphasizes that individuals possess different strengths and excel in diverse areas, challenging the narrow focus of IQ testing, yet if we only look at the extraordinary richness and complexity of human culture and achievement. We could safely agree that we can’t ever capture all of this in a single theory with merely eight separate categories of intelligence.
The second is that Intelligence is distinctive. Everyone’s intelligence is as unique as his fingerprint. No two individuals could ever have the same level of intelligence. I believe that intelligence is as vast as are as human population itself. Thirdly, intelligence is dynamic and wonderfully interactive. Intelligence is not a fixed and static trait. It never remains constant in a person’s life. It is a malleable entity that can evolve through interaction with the external environment.
To move beyond the limitations of IQ, it is essential to adopt a holistic view of intelligence. Recognizing and valuing diverse forms of intelligence can help individuals better understand their unique strengths and areas for growth. By embracing this broader perspective, we can foster a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of human intelligence.
While IQ tests have long been considered a reliable measure of intellectual abilities, they fail to capture the full range of human intelligence. Understanding that intelligence encompasses multiple dimensions, including emotional intelligence, practical intelligence, and various other forms, is crucial. By moving away from the narrow focus of IQ, we can embrace a more inclusive and accurate understanding of human potential and abilities.
The writer is an Educator and can be reached at [email protected]

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