Is The I Q Often Misleading?
Do the cases described in this chapter give a reliable picture as to what one
may expect of the various I Q levels? Does the I Q furnish anything like a reliable
index of an individual's general educational possibilities and of his social worth?
Are there not "feeble-minded geniuses," and are there not children of exceptionally
high I Q who are nevertheless fools?
We have no hesitation in saying that there is not o
e case in fifty in
which there is any serious contradiction between the I Q and the child's
performances in and out of school. We cannot deny the existence of
"feeble-minded geniuses," but after a good deal of search we have not
found one. Occasionally, of course, one finds a feeble-minded person
who is an expert penman, who draws skillfully, who plays a musical
instrument tolerably well, or who handles number combinations with
unusual rapidity; but these are not geniuses; they are not authors,
artists, musicians, or mathematicians.
As for exceptionally intelligent children who appear feeble-minded, we
have found but one case, a boy of 10 years with an I Q of about 125.
This boy, whom we have tested several times and whose development we
have followed for five years, was once diagnosed by a physician as
feeble-minded. His behavior among other persons than his familiar
associates is such as to give this impression. Nothing less than an
entire chapter would be adequate for a description of this case, which
is in reality one of disturbed emotional and social development with
It should be emphasized, however, that what we have said about the
significance of various I Q's holds only for the I Q's secured by the
use of the Stanford revision. As we have shown elsewhere (p. 62 _ff._)
the I Q yielded by other versions of the Binet tests are often so
inaccurate as to be misleading.
We have not found a single child who tested between 70 and 80 I Q by the
Stanford revision who was able to do satisfactory school work in the
grade where he belonged by chronological age. Such children are usually
from two to three grades retarded by the age of 12 years. On the other
hand, the child with an I Q of 120 or above is almost never found below
the grade for his chronological age, and occasionally he is one or two
grades above. Wherever located, his school work is so superior as to
suggest strongly the desirability of extra promotions. Those who test
between 96 and 105 are almost never more than one grade above or below
where they belong by chronological age, and even the small displacement
of one year is usually determined by illness, age of beginning school,