The various limitations of standard IQ tests can be assessed with reference to validity (whether the tests actually measure intelligence) and reliability (whether the tests produce consistent results). These shortcomings limit the usefulness of standard IQ tests and can have negative socio-political implications when data is extrapolated without taking these limitations into account. Several limitations of IQ testing stem from the attempt to conceptualise, or define, intelligence. Although some evidence suggests that IQ tests may not be measuring the abstract concept that is intelligence, results are extrapolated to suggest that some groups are less intelligent than others. This perpetuates attitudes that lead to stereotype threat, and evidence of tests determining (rather than solely measuring) IQ can be seen, which problematizes and limits certain “strengths” of IQ tests. High predictive validity becomes more problematic when explained in terms of the Pygmalion effect and the high reliability of IQ tests evidence could be challenged by evidence from studies teaching that intelligence is malleable.
A lack of agreement on the definition of intelligence means that IQ tests may have limited representation validity. This is the extent to which intelligence, an abstract theoretical construct, can be turned into a practical test. Since psychologists have no universal conceptualisation of intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996), any subsequent operationalization, or attempt to define the measurement of intelligence in a practical test, may be measuring an individual psychologist’s conceptualisation rather than intelligence itself. In this way, tests such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) may have limited representation validity
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