Intelligence and Mental Tests

Intelligence tests are measurements of the childs mind. They seek to measure his native, inborn strength and fineness of mind, quite apart from what has been stored in it by environment, experience and teaching. They attempt to answer the question: How good is this childs brain ? not What does he know ?

Intelligence testa are of two types, individual and group. By an individual test only one child can be examined at a time; the examination takes time (usuallyto 1£ hours) and needs a skilful and trained tester. By a group test numbers of children can be tested at once, and the technique of group testing can be acquired in a short time by a careful teacher or other person competent in handling classes of children. The individual test gives a more accurate and detailed indication than the group test.

Intelligence tests consist of series of questions or problems, which may be practical in nature, devised to test only native strength and shrewdness of mind. The perfection of this, of course, is impossible. The test is given to huge numbers of children – the best tests have been applied in hundreds of thousands of cases – and according to the results, standards or norms are worked out for each age.

Thus, if there are 100 questions in a test, it may be found that on an average P.N.E.U.

A child of 6 will get 30 answers right, a child of 7, 35; one of 8, 40; and so on. Tested children are then measured against the norm, and in accordance with the result are given a mental age, or intelligence quotient (I.Q.). So,if our hypothetical test is given to three children of 7, of whom one gets 30 marks, the second 35, and the third 40, we say the first has a mental ago of 6, the second of 7, the I third of 8; that is, number two is absolutely normal, number one is a year behind his age, number three a year in advance. Children more than two years backward or advanced are regarded as very dull or very clever respectively.

An average I.Q. Is reckoned 100, so child number two has an I.Q. Of 100, child number one has f of 100, Le. An I.Q. Of 85.7, child number three $ of 100, i.e.. I.Q. 114.3. To get the I.Q. We divided the mental age by the chronological age. An I.Q. Below 70 denotes dullness bordering on feeble-mindedness, one above 130, very superior intelligence.

Intelligence is not supposed to increase after the age of 16, so tests from that age upwards are measured by a normal adult intelligence standard.

Intelligence testa are loosely called mental tests, but mental tests include tests for special aptitudes (e.g. musical ability, mechanical ability), a test of character, emotion, will, eto. These last are at present much lese reliable than intelligence tests, none having been found as yet quite satisfactory. Special aptitude tests are much used in vocational guidance, especially in the United States.

Montessori. The Montessori method has been very widely adopted for the education of young children. Its two basic principles are freedom of movement and development, and training of the senses through specially devised apparatus. There is no teaching in the ordinary way; a teacher is always present, to see that each child is happily and busily occupied, but little or no attempt is made to compel or induce him to any special task.

The material devised by the founder of the method, Dr. Maria Montessori, is always at band, and the teachers main business is to see that this is being properly used. Each piece of apparatus is skilfully dovised to train the senses, and there is a regular sequence of apparatus.

Reading, writing, spelling, numbers, are acquired by use of the apparatus. The method includes games, group activities, and household activities, e.g. serving and clearing away meals.

Well-trained Montessori children learn quickly, develop great sense of responsibility and initiative, and have acute powers of touch and dexterity. The re-sidts, however, vary very greatly according to the skill of the teacher in charge.

Nursery Schools. Nursery schools are schools for children below school age. They will take children from 2 upwards, for the whole day. They are largely open-air, and no formal teaching is done, the care and training being such as would obtain in a good modern nursery. Nursery classes are the classes for children from 3-5 in elementary schools; these are formod when there is room available, and follow as far as possible the practice of the nursery schools.

P.N.E.U. The Parents National Educational Union was formed to advocato and develop the theory and practice in education of Miss Charlotte M. Mason, an educational reformer who first began to make known her views in the 80s of last century.

The aim of the method is to secure interest, and the theory that if one gives children knowledge such as they can assimilate, in literary form, interest will be seoured. So, under the skilled direction of the teacher, children teach themselves, largely through reading all sorts of books of proved literary value, and retell the contents to each other, and to the teacher. History is the foundation of the work.

The method is practised hi large numbers of elementary schools in Gloucestershire, and some elsewhere.

Self-government. This word means the practice of giving children in a school some share in the running of the place. It varies widely, from the limited and accepted prefect system in public schools, where responsible senior pupils exercise authority at the discretion of the head of the school, to School Parliaments, elected by the whole of the school, which practically rule everything – lessons, games, punishment. Sometimes it is applied only in a class, when children arrange to a certain extent their own lessons.

The advocates of self-government maintain that it develops the sense of responsibility, teaches citizenship in practice form, and, by allowing children to have a say in their work, increases their interest in it. Opponents say that it creates muddled organization, wastes time, makes children conceited, and results in much unfairness when children punish each other. The moderate opinion is that it all depends upon the teacher at the back of it, and that little real self-government can be achieved before the age of 15-16.