Special Report: What Do IQ Tests and the SAT Measure, and Where Does EQ Fit In?

Jan 8 22:00 2004 Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach Print This Article

I was telling a ... the other day about ... score on the SAT. “Oh,” he said, waving his hand in ... “THAT thing. It doesn’t measure a THING.” Let’s set the record state. What he mea

I was telling a therapist the other day about someone’s score on the SAT. “Oh,Guest Posting” he said, waving his hand in dismissal, “THAT thing. It doesn’t measure a THING.”

Let’s set the record state. What he meant was – (1) It doesn’t measure anything he cared about, or (2) It doesn’t measure anything that need slow the person down. But it definitely measures SOMETHING, and if you’re the HR person reviewing test scores, or the coach reviewing assessments, or the taker looking at your own results, or the college admission officer, it’s important to know what a test or assessment DOES measure.

The SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test – measures aptitude for college work and SAT scores have been shown to correlate with success as a college freshman (only). It consists of tests in Verbal Ability and Mathematical Reasoning.

To refresh your memory, go here http://www.the-big-test.com ests/index.htm - and take some of the sample tests. What’s your first reaction? For me, the Sentence Completions are fun. Then I came to Critical Reading Questions and suddenly felt a need to make a sandwich. Then came the “if one train leaves the station at 4 p.m. heading east at 5 mph…” and preparing a 6-course meal seemed more imperative.

I think it measures your ability to withstand torture. The test lasts 3 hours and requires incredible concentration. 3 hours, after all, is an eternity to a high school student. It may measure more in the testing, than in the knowledge, if you know what I mean. You have to sit down and read carefully something that’s irrelevant, just because it’s required. And many the college students feel that way about freshman year in college!

It’s also an endurance test. It gets harder as you go along, because your brain gets more tired.


The SAT has been called “the 50-year-old system that determines the course of Americans’ lives.” This sort of college admission testing began in 1901, but it didn’t really kick in until the U. Cal. System adopted it in 1960.

Is it biased? It’s been dubbed the “Survey of Affluent Teenagers,” and the debate rages, but you might be interested to know that a homeless teenager in California, who had been completely home-schooled, just scored a perfect 800/800 on the SAT: ( http://www.thekcrachannel.com/news/574672/detail.html )

It’s believed to have gotten easier over the years; however the nation’s high school class of 2003 achieved the highest score on the math section since 1967.


According to The College Entrance Examination Board, “students of the arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT.” [Source: http://www.menc.org/information/advocate/sat.html ]. In 2002, “SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math than students without.” This is one reason the arts are encouraged in The EQ Foundation Course©.

Does it relate to anything else in life? Not unless you think focus, perseverance, and being willing (and able) to do something mental that’s hard and unpleasant in order to earn a delayed reward do.

So the optimal word there is “aptitude.” “Aptitude” according to m-w.com means inclination, tendency; a natural ability; a capacity for learning; or a general suitability. In this case, one’s general suitability for college, and that it has been statistically proven to do.


Now what does it mean if someone has “a high IQ”? It stands for Intelligence Quotient and means they did well on an Intelligence Test. The IQ test was invented in 1905, by a French psychologist, Alfred Binet.

As you know, for a test to have any “validity” (to mean something beyond speculation) it needs to have been tested on a lot of people (a large “sample”), and the IQ test really got a rush during World War I when Robert Yerkes, a Harvard professor, realizing a captive audience when he saw one, got permission from the US army to IQ test nearly 2,000,000 recruits.

Most of the abilities measured by an IQ test tend to level off around age 16. (Some say they’re fixed at birth.) The test measures such things as factual knowledge, short-term memory, abstract reasoning and visual-spatial abilities.

“Intelligence is always measured relative to a particular culture,” says PsychologicalTesting.com. “’Culture-free’ tests of intelligence do not exist.” A few examples:

·Having the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to be able to throw a boomerang accurately is of no practical value if you live in Germany in 2004.

·Having what it takes to land a plane is of no consequence unless you should happen to become a pilot.

·Being able to predict where oil might be is essential if you’re a geologist in the oil industry, but not if you’re a chef.

What do they predict? Academic success, school grades, and, according to one source, about 6% of job success. IQ also correlates with some “social outcomes”, according to Linda S. Gottfredson, author of “The General Intelligence Factor.” For a graph, go here: http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfredbox2.html . To read a summary, go here: http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html .

Is this “intelligence”? It’s a form of intelligence, but we have hundreds of different mental “abilities,” and an IQ test measures only a few.

Your “score” is based on an average. An IQ of 100 is higher than 50% of the people taking the test. An IQ of 130 is higher than 95% of the people taking the test.

The Wechsler IQ tests are generally considered to be the best available measure and are preferred by the Social Security Administration. http://www.wvu.edu/~law/clinic/docs/margiqss.pdf . Incidentally, someone is considered “presumptively disabled on the basis of mental impairments,” if their IQ is 59 or less, and an individual with an IQ of 70 “has a 50-50 chance of mastering elementary school curriculum, and will have a hard time functioning independently without considerable social support.” (Source: The General Intelligence Factor,” Linda S. Gottfredson).


Check out Gottfredson’s graph re: training style and IQ. For an IQ range of 70-130, she lists 6 progressive learning styles:

·Slow, simple, supervised [70-80]
·Very explicit, hands-on [80-95]
·Mastery learning, hands-on [90-110]
·Written materials, plus experience [100-110]
·College format [110-120]
·Gathers, infers own information [115 and above]
·Around 80 - assembler, food service, aide’s aide
·Around 100 - clerk, teller, police officer, machinist, sales
·Around 115 - manager, teacher, accountant
·Around 130 - attorney, chemist, executive


John Locke, Philosopher, 165; Benjamin Franklin, Scientist, 165; Ludwig Von Beethoven, Composer, 165; Ulysses S Grant, General, 130; Bobby Fisher, Chess Player, 187; Leonardo da Vinci, Painter, 180; Martin Luther, Theologian, 170; John Stuart Mill, Economist, 200.

Daniel Goleman and others in the field of what’s called Emotional Intelligence are busy gathering data that IQ, and even performance on the SAT, are not the best predictors of success in life, or happiness, which isn’t a surprise to most of us. Analogous to money, the complete absence of either is not good, but the presence of vast quantities of either do not predict happiness.


Enter Howard and his Multiple Intelligences”( http://www.ericfacility.net/ericdigests/ed410226.html ), because the standard IQ tests do not measure such things as musical or artistic talent or physical coordination.

For example, one of Gardner’s intelligences is called Bodily-Kinesthetic, i.e., “using one’s mental abilities to coordinate one’s own bodily movements.”

An IQ test also does not measure emotional stability, awareness, or a number of other important things. As Arakkal Sebastian says in an article about IQ, there are all too many stories throughout history of very smart individuals “who nevertheless were incapable of solving the problem of how to be a human whose actions had [sic: would have] a positive effect on one’s fellow humans.”

Nonetheless, something called a “g” factor has been gleaned by comparing one person’s scores across various IQ tests. Attained through something called “factor analysis,” (see article from Scientific America - http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html ) the g factor seems to measure “intelligence,” as in ability to deal with cognitively complexity.

Says Scientific American, “More complex tasks require more mental manipulation, and this manipulation of information – discerning similarities and inconsistencies, drawing inferences, grasping new concepts and so on – constitutes intelligence in action. Indeed, intelligence can best be described as the ability to deal with cognitive complexity.” “g” corresponds to mental aptitude (reasoning, problem solving, abstract thinking, quick learning), rather than accumulated knowledge, but those correlate.
“Cognitive” is our keyword here. Yes, the world is cognitively complex. However, it is perhaps infinitely more emotionally complex.


Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of others for positive outcome.

Emotional Intelligence consists of a wide range of capacities which enable people to excel, such as intentionality, creativity, resilience, self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, and empathy. Four areas of mastery are (1) Identifying emotions, (2) Using emotions, (3) Understanding emotions, and (4) Regulating emotions.

The EQ-Map® is one assessment: http:/ inyurl.com/z94t .

According to Daniel Goleman, one theorist among many, but the one who popularized the concept in his book, Emotional Intelligence (http:/ inyurl.com/z9ny ), people who possess high Emotional Intelligence are the people who truly succeed, “building flourishing careers, and lasting, meaningful relationships.”

Cognitive intelligence has long been studied. You can see some of the research on Emotional Intelligence here: http://www.eoconsortium.org .

While our IQ is fixed at some point, we can improve and develop our EQ over our lifespan, i.e., it can be learned. Our EQ in many important ways facilitates our IQ.


If I asked you right now to multiple 11 x 111 in your head, and to take as long as you need, you probably wouldn’t have too much trouble using your cognitive intelligence to “solve” this problem.

But what if Ben Stein asked you that on television, in front of 1,000,000 viewers, and you had 10 seconds and $10,000 was at stake. This situation could render your cognitive intelligence dysfunctional if you were not able to handle the pressure, perform under stress, focus, and prevent “flooding” from anxiety from disabling your neocortex!

There are many resources available for increasing your Emotional Intelligence - certified EQ coaches, books and eBooks, distance learning courses, EQ Learning Labs and teleclasses. Take an EQ assessment (http:/ inyurl.com/z94t ). Then delight in the fact that whatever your “score” is, it can be improved.

Please keep in mind that since EQ involves learning emotional and social skills, you can’t “just” read about it. Read about it yes, to get the fundamentals and vocabulary, but then work with someone trained in the field so you can put theory into practice and get feedback.

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About Article Author

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach
Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach

©Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach™, http://www.susandunn.cc . I offer coaching around emotional intelligence for career, relationships, resilience, and personal and professional development. I train managers and coaches to teach EQ – http://www.eqcoach.net . Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE eZines. For daily tips on EQ send blank email to EQ4U-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

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