Intellectual and Cognitive Assessments: Comparing Inaccuracies

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Standard Intellectual & Cognitive Assessments:
A critical evaluation of inaccuracies in cultural testing
Dragana Lucic-Jozak
University of Western Sydney

Abstract
Standard intellectual and cognitive assessments are defined as the use of specified testing procedures that evaluate ones abilities and behaviours in terms of cognitive and intellectual development. Intelligence is the notion of ones perception, learning, memory, reasoning, complex problem solving, and the internal representation of knowledge. Research evidence indicates that standard intellectual and cognitive assessments sometimes display inaccuracies when tested on different cultural groups. This can be due to the varied and profound cultural, environmental and biological discrepancies that are present in the testing methods.

Standard Intellectual & Cognitive Assessments:
A critical evaluation of inaccuracies in cultural testing
Standard intellectual and cognitive assessments sometimes display inaccuracies when tested on different cultural groups. This can be due to intense cultural and environmental contrasts to the norm ethnicity on which the test was formed. Inconsistencies that are present within the back-bone of these assessments are vital to understanding how intelligence can be measured and defined in terms of our greater society and its future in psychological research. Succinctly, intelligence is a fuzzy construct that includes perception, learning, memory, reasoning, complex problem solving, and the internal representation of knowledge (Rosch & Mervis, 1975). Intelligent behaviour is both adaptive and goal directed (Estes, as cited in Scarr, 1991). Different aspects are valued by cultures that form the idea of intelligence. It is important to emphasise that cultures may be very different from each other in terms of beliefs and concepts but each culture is just as valid in its own terms as any other culture. The following will; outline the importance of intelligence testing between cultures, demonstrate its necessity with reference to past research and findings which support the notion that ‘assessments may not be accurate for some cultural groups, such as indigenous Australians’ and explore recent developments that are shaping psychological research in terms of IQ testing. Standard intellectual and cognitive assessments are specified testing procedures that calculate ones abilities in terms of cognitive and intellectual behaviour and development (Sternberg & Pretz, 2005). There is a lot of history in cognitive and intellectual testing. The first to carry out intelligence testing was Sir Francis Galton and he remains a central figure for other researchers. He was particularly interested in the differences in individuals’ abilities. There are numerous factors in standard intellectual and cognitive assessments that are not recognised due to the standardisation of tests. This is a process by which researchers are able to test groups of people in an equivalent way, under identical conditions. Studies have shown that cross-cultural differences in intelligence occur among cultural groups (Matsumoto et al., 2008, p141). For example, in African cultures, definitions for the concept of intelligence vary.

The Baganda of East-Africa uses the word abugezi which signifies mental and social skills that make a person steady, cautious and friendly (Wober, 2008). In comparison to Djerma-Sanghai in West-Africa which uses the term alkal which refers to social skills (Bissalt, Laya, Peirra & Pidoux, as cited it Matsumoto et al, 2008)

Consequently, this shows that even within a single culture there are discrepancies for simply the definition for intelligence. Matsumoto and Juang (2008) have judged that differences highlight a profound influence of cultural standards that contribute to the value of intelligence....
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