December 5, 1997


Developing different ways of measuring intelligence

J.P. Das and Ohio State colleague develop "Pass" method to help teachers diagnose learning problems

Folio Staff

Traditional intelligence quotient tests have fallen into disrepute over the last decade or so. Critics say they're too closely associated with school knowledge. If you go to a poor school, you do poorly on the test.

IQ tests are also culturally biased, say critics, and discriminate against minorities. Move to Britain from a Third World country and you won't be able to answer some questions because you simply don't know the context and meaning of some words. Many American states have decided to ban them.

A University of Alberta educational psychologist, Dr. J.P. Das, and a colleague from Ohio State University, Dr. Jack Naglieri, have been listening to these criticisms. They've developed a new test, one they say more accurately measures intelligence and will give educators sophisticated ways of detecting learning difficulties and prescribing ways of tackling those problems.

The Das-Naglieri cognitive assessment system is designed to expand traditional measurements of intelligence by focusing on a person's planning, attention, simultaneous and successive processing skills-based on the so-called "PASS" theory.

Here's what the Das-Naglieri cognitive assessment system measures:



Simultaneous processing:

Successive processing:

Das says the test measures cognitive strengths and weaknesses. A person may do very well in memorization, but do poorly in abstract reasoning. Or, a person may have poor attention skills, but may be able to plan his daily life. That kind of specific information will help educators prescribe remedial programs to help people cope with their disabilities.

Graduate student Timos Papadopoulos says the test-unlike conventional tests-will help clinical psychologists and educators identify attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, mental retardation and giftedness.

So far, the test, designed for ages five to 17, has been given to 3,000 different children in 30 different areas of the United States. These have been done to establish norms, or benchmarks, for the test. The test has been published in a binder form and the two researchers have delivered workshops and papers on the test to colleagues across the continent. The researchers gave a day-long workshop to Edmonton clinical and educational pyschologists earlier this month.

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