How effective are IQ tests?

“McGrew’s findings don’t apply only to those with IQs in the 70–80 range. No matter what IQ band you pull out from McGrew’s analysis, you’ll find the same thing. In fact, a law emerges. Using the most reliable IQ tests available today, McGrew notes that “for any given IQ test score, half of the students will obtain achievement scores at or below their IQ score. Conversely, and frequently not recognized, is that for any given IQ test score, half of the students will obtain achievement scores at or above their IQ score.” Clearly a child’s current discrepancy between IQ and achievement doesn’t necessarily indicate a learning disability.
But perhaps the biggest flaw in the severe discrepancy method is that it’s a fundamentally unintelligent method. It treats single IQ scores as the arbiter of truth, without looking at the person’s history and understanding the numbers in context. Responsible and intelligent use of IQ tests require us to consider the student’s overall pattern of strengths and weaknesses (not just on the IQ test but even more generally in terms of talents, and social and emotional functioning), life aspirations, developmental history, environmental circumstances, and opportunities to learn.”

Read full article here:
http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/iq_tests_hurt_kids_schools_and_dont_measure_intelligence/

What if the Secret to Success is Failure

“Levin had also spent many years trying to figure out how to provide lessons in character to his students, who were almost all black or Latino and from low-income families. At the first KIPP school, in Houston, he and his co-founder, Michael Feinberg, filled the walls with slogans like “Work Hard” and “Be Nice” and “There Are No Shortcuts,” and they developed a system of rewards and demerits designed to train their students not only in fractions and algebra but also in perseverance and empathy. Like Randolph, Levin went to Seligman’s office expecting to talk about optimism. But Seligman surprised them both by pulling out a new and very different book, which he and Peterson had just finished:“Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification,” a scholarly, 800-page tome that weighed in at three and a half pounds. It was intended, according to the authors, as a “manual of the sanities,” an attempt to inaugurate what they described as a “science of good character.”

It was, in other words, exactly what Randolph and Levin had been looking for, separately, even if neither of them had quite known it. Seligman and Peterson consulted works from Aristotle to Confucius, from the Upanishads to the Torah, from the Boy Scout Handbook to profiles of Pokémon characters, and they settled on 24 character strengths common to all cultures and eras. The list included some we think of as traditional noble traits, like bravery, citizenship, fairness, wisdom and integrity; others that veer into the emotional realm, like love, humor, zest and appreciation of beauty; and still others that are more concerned with day-to-day human interactions: social intelligence (the ability to recognize interpersonal dynamics and adapt quickly to different social situations), kindness, self-regulation, gratitude.

In most societies, Seligman and Peterson wrote, these strengths were considered to have a moral valence, and in many cases they overlapped with religious laws and strictures. But their true importance did not come from their relationship to any system of ethics or moral laws but from their practical benefit: cultivating these strengths represented a reliable path to “the good life,” a life that was not just happy but also meaningful and fulfilling.”

Full article at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?pagewanted=all