Is british mensa culturally fair ?

Watch
jhervy
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Hi,

I have always been interested in knowing my iq, and I took advantage of my year abroad to book a british mensa test, since it is a cheap way of getting an iq-like score.
The tests were presented as culturally-fair, and for the first one that we got I can agree since it was only with pictures, but the second one was 90% about words, and I felt like I didn't have the vocabulary to perform well there as english is not my first language. I am not too bad in english, but not good enough to understand every words especially in the parts about finding opposites/adjectives etc...

So in this sense can we say that the second test is biased towards english ? And even for british people, someone that is a bit 'less good' in english will be disadvantaged compared with others no ?
should I pay attention to the score I will have on the second test ?

thanks
0
reply
username1799249
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#2
Report 2 years ago
#2
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
3
reply
jhervy
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#3
(Original post by ByEeek)
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
Most certainly, and for sure I believe that most people can achieve anything with work and perseverance.
And I am not interested in Mensa as an organization, I just like that they provide cheap standardized IQ tests, when you would need to spend several hundred pounds to get a test with a psychologist.

And my question still holds, is the british mensa test biased towards english ?
0
reply
DarthRoar
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 2 years ago
#4
(Original post by ByEeek)
I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
You say that, but you've probably not met any truly unintelligent people yet. With some of these people, I've been literally unable to teach them repetitive tasks or even get them to understand basic maths.
0
reply
username1799249
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#5
Report 2 years ago
#5
(Original post by DarthRoar)
You say that, but you've probably not met any truly unintelligent people yet. With some of these people, I've been literally unable to teach them repetitive tasks or even get them to understand basic maths.
As a teacher, sure I have. But is their inability to do repetitive tasks down to their inability or the fact that you haven't found the right technique to teach? The kids in my school can't do maths because they can't read. And they can't read because their parents didn't read to them or encourage them to read at primary school. But they can speak 5 languages. So how does one evaluate their potential?
0
reply
Student-95
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report 2 years ago
#6
An English verbal test is obviously not culturally fair. An incredibly intelligent person who doesn't speak English won't do well at all.
Last edited by Student-95; 2 years ago
2
reply
jhervy
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#7
(Original post by Student-95)
An English verbal test is obviously not culturally fair. An incredibly intelligent person who doesn't speak English won't do well at all.
Ok that's what I thought. You take the extreme case but I think that it is also true for different degrees of level in English.
Actually I did some research and it turns out that verbal tests measure crystallized intelligence, which is the intelligence you acquire through learning, compared with fluid intelligence which is the 'innate' one.
So I am a bit relieved, even if I have a result of 80IQ on this test it won't mean much
0
reply
Student-95
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report 2 years ago
#8
(Original post by jhervy)
Ok that's what I thought. You take the extreme case but I think that it is also true for different degrees of level in English.
Actually I did some research and it turns out that verbal tests measure crystallized intelligence, which is the intelligence you acquire through learning, compared with fluid intelligence which is the 'innate' one.
So I am a bit relieved, even if I have a result of 80IQ on this test it won't mean much
Of course. A culturally fair test should be non verbal.
0
reply
fallen_acorns
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report 2 years ago
#9
(Original post by ByEeek)
As a teacher, sure I have. But is their inability to do repetitive tasks down to their inability or the fact that you haven't found the right technique to teach? The kids in my school can't do maths because they can't read. And they can't read because their parents didn't read to them or encourage them to read at primary school. But they can speak 5 languages. So how does one evaluate their potential?
(Original post by ByEeek)
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
its an interesting discussion. The most persuasive arguments I have heard from academics studying intelligence is that its not fixed, but we have through our genetics and early-year experience a fixed propensity towards improvement/acquiring new knowledge/skills, rather then a fixed IQ. As in, everyone has the scope to learn, improve and be better. There is no reason at all why (if you presume IQ is reliable) if you tested a 110 one year, you couldn't train to a higher score the next. But you ability to improve is not the same as others. For some people they will be able to improve their intelligence very quickly, with ease and needing little help at all... while for others its a big and hard task.

For me, this matches what I have seen in classrooms and educational environments over the past few years. All the students have the potential to improve their ability to reach the required goal, but the amount of work they require to get there varies hugely. For some the work they require is simply to much or would such a long time, that they are deemed incapable, but rather its just that what they require isn't possible within the educational environment. Similarly for people with an IQ of say 80, they would be deemed to stupid to ever understand or be able to do certain things.. when in reality according to this theory its more that they could potentially improve to the point of being able to understand, but the time and work it would take them is so great that in reality it seems impossible for them.

For me, this is the attitude I take when I am working with students.. presume that they all have the capability, but just that some will require more time and work then others, and accommodate for that up until it becomes impossible within the boundaries of the educational environment. Often though the limiting factor is the student themselves, as if the time/effort required exceeds the time/effort that the student is willing to expend, unless you have the resources/time to motivate/force them, they will never make it to the goal.
0
reply
fallen_acorns
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report 2 years ago
#10
as for the OP, obviously a test which uses language is culturally biased. Do mensa have a test in your native language? that would seem to be the obvious solution.
2
reply
Underscore__
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#11
Report 2 years ago
#11
(Original post by ByEeek)
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
So you think there’s no natural intelligence? That doesn’t really make sense given that I’m sure we’ve all been to school with that person who put in next to no effort and still got really good grades and known someone who was the opposite.
1
reply
username1799249
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#12
Report 2 years ago
#12
(Original post by Underscore__)
So you think there’s no natural intelligence?
Perhap, but what does that look like? I teach 15 year old kids that can't read (and therefore can't do maths) but can speak 5 languages. Are they intelligent?

Alan Sugar famously left school with no qualifications. Is he intelligent?

My point is that to a greater extent than we might like to admit, intelligence is learned.

Kids with supposed natural intelligence are more likely to have been read to and to have been nurtured in an environment that values a love of learning. More kids than not do not grow up in that environment.
Last edited by username1799249; 2 years ago
0
reply
Underscore__
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#13
Report 2 years ago
#13
(Original post by ByEeek)
Perhap, but what does that look like? I teach 15 year old kids that can't read (and therefore can't do maths) but can speak 5 languages. Are they intelligent?

Alan Sugar famously left school with no qualifications. Is he intelligent?

My point is that to a greater extent than we might like to admit, intelligence is learned.

Kids with supposed natural intelligence are more likely to have been read to and to have been nurtured in an environment that values a love of learning. More kids than not do not grow up in that environment.
They speak a language but can’t read it? Those kind of kids seem like an extremely exceptional case, I would imagine most kids who can’t read struggle with basic English.

One of thing I’ve always maintained is that academic qualifications are not a good marker of intelligence, exams are as much about technique and preparation as they are anything else.

I think that in the same way that the average person could never be as good at football as Lionel Messi no matter how hard they tried, the average person could never be as smart as someone like Robert Oppenheimer regardless of what education you gave them (Messi also completely breaks the idea on natural talent, or lack there of, that Malcom Gladwell puts forward in Outliers but I don’t know how familiar you are with that book).
0
reply
username1799249
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#14
Report 2 years ago
#14
(Original post by Underscore__)
They speak a language but can’t read it? Those kind of kids seem like an extremely exceptional case, I would imagine most kids who can’t read struggle with basic English.

One of thing I’ve always maintained is that academic qualifications are not a good marker of intelligence, exams are as much about technique and preparation as they are anything else.

I think that in the same way that the average person could never be as good at football as Lionel Messi no matter how hard they tried, the average person could never be as smart as someone like Robert Oppenheimer regardless of what education you gave them (Messi also completely breaks the idea on natural talent, or lack there of, that Malcom Gladwell puts forward in Outliers but I don’t know how familiar you are with that book).
In my school it is more reading age deficiency. So most 16 year olds have a reading age of 12-13 which in order to do GCSE does not cit the mustard. But that said the national average reading age is 11 which ironically is how The Sun is written.

Sure some people have genetic specialism. In fact most probably do. But it comes down to whether sufficient opportunity is given to allow those talents to be revealed.
0
reply
Retired_Messiah
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#15
Report 2 years ago
#15
Any test in English is going to be biased towards people who are fluent in English. This feels weirdly obvious.
1
reply
Kill3rCat
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#16
Report 2 years ago
#16
(Original post by ByEeek)
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
Agreed with you that Mensa is a vanity organisation. However vocabulary is generally recognised to be a strongly g-loaded component to IQ tests. A person's intelligence is not fixed, but it is largely genetic (some of the more recent estimates put it at just under 90% heritability). There is variation, of course; for example it is estimated that a good night's sleep can give a person a temporary boost of up to 2 IQ points.

Some people are just less intelligent, and no matter how much work they put in, they will always be held back by their lack of intelligence. All traits in a population are distributed according to a bell curve, and many traits have a much greater genetic component than the layperson usually realises.

jhervy And by the way, OP, while vocabulary is a strongly g-loaded component (it represents more than just the ability to memorise words; loosely speaking it assess a person's language skills and their ability to organise complex thoughts in their head), you can ask for an IQ test which has no language-related tests, intended for those whose first language is not English.
Last edited by Kill3rCat; 2 years ago
0
reply
Student-95
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#17
Report 2 years ago
#17
(Original post by ByEeek)
Mensa is a vanity organisation. I do not believe in the idea that your intelligence is fixed. Through training and practice anyone can more or less achieve anything.
But can everyone achieve the same goal with the same amount of effort or will some have an easier time than others?
0
reply
jhervy
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#18
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#18
(Original post by Kill3rCat)
Agreed with you that Mensa is a vanity organisation. However vocabulary is generally recognised to be a strongly g-loaded component to IQ tests. A person's intelligence is not fixed, but it is largely genetic (some of the more recent estimates put it at just under 90% heritability). There is variation, of course; for example it is estimated that a good night's sleep can give a person a temporary boost of up to 2 IQ points.

Some people are just less intelligent, and no matter how much work they put in, they will always be held back by their lack of intelligence. All traits in a population are distributed according to a bell curve, and many traits have a much greater genetic component than the layperson usually realises.

jhervy And by the way, OP, while vocabulary is a strongly g-loaded component (it represents more than just the ability to memorise words; loosely speaking it assess a person's language skills and their ability to organise complex thoughts in their head), you can ask for an IQ test which has no language-related tests, intended for those whose first language is not English.
But isn't vocabulary strongly g-loaded because you consider a definition of g that encompass verbal intelligence, and crystallized intelligence ?

Does vocabulary correlates highly with fluid intelligence ?
0
reply
Drewski
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#19
Report 2 years ago
#19
(Original post by Retired_Messiah)
Any test in English is going to be biased towards people who are fluent in English. This feels weirdly obvious.
I think if someone has to ask this question then they're probably not going to be challenging for the higher scores in the first place.
1
reply
Napp
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#20
Report 2 years ago
#20
(Original post by jhervy)
Hi,

I have always been interested in knowing my iq, and I took advantage of my year abroad to book a british mensa test, since it is a cheap way of getting an iq-like score.
The tests were presented as culturally-fair, and for the first one that we got I can agree since it was only with pictures, but the second one was 90% about words, and I felt like I didn't have the vocabulary to perform well there as english is not my first language. I am not too bad in english, but not good enough to understand every words especially in the parts about finding opposites/adjectives etc...

So in this sense can we say that the second test is biased towards english ? And even for british people, someone that is a bit 'less good' in english will be disadvantaged compared with others no ?
should I pay attention to the score I will have on the second test ?

thanks
Surely this should have been a clue as to the language component...
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you made your mind up on your five uni choices?

Yes, and I've sent off my application! (150)
54.74%
I've made my choices but havent sent my application yet (38)
13.87%
I've got a good idea about the choices I want to make (31)
11.31%
I'm researching but still not sure which universities I want to apply to (26)
9.49%
I haven't started researching yet (16)
5.84%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (13)
4.74%

Watched Threads

View All