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In Isaac Asimov’s story “What is Intelligence, Anyways?” we see many key points as to why standardized intelligence tests do not show the whole picture. In his article, he discusses how he can pass these major intelligence tests with no problems, but could not even begin to repair his own car. In today’s world, we tend to only acknowledge intelligence through difficult tests and not based off of any common sense. With that said, if we are only going to base knowledge and intellectual status off of tests, then why are we only testing for one specific skill set? The current mindset of people today has left so many great individuals unrecognized for their talents and skills, simply due to the fact that they perform poorly when it comes to standardized intelligence tests.
Common sense versus knowledge. In so many cases we see extremely intelligent people that simply cannot begin to grasp ideas that others see as common sense.
This is even true with Asimov himself. I also see this in my own family with my father. He is a very intelligent man and is exceptional when it comes to working with his hands, yet he failed the third grade and never went to college. Despite his struggles with school, he has become one of the top managers at his workplace. This can be attributed to his abundance of common sense, his knowledge of basic tasks and skills. Then you can look at my husband, who is brilliant and can pass extremely difficult tests with outrageous scores.
However, if he attempted to fix my broken car, he may do more harm than good. This in itself shows Asimov’s point; that he may be considered very knowledgeable and view others as inferior to himself, yet they know more than he does, just in different subjects. Standardized tests are not for everyone. In Asimov’s article, we see another standardized test “proving” his intelligence. He himself identifies that these tests are only geared toward certain people and have somehow taken over as the standard to judge whether someone is intelligent or not. But the truth is that people are intelligent in their own unique ways.
The standardized test only verifies the knowledge of an individual group of people and not the majority. These tests for many are like trying to put a circle through a square hole. They are built for squares yet many people are circles, triangles, and trapezoids. Even though the tests are squares and the individuals taking them are not, we are all expected to make ourselves fit through this square hole if we want to be considered intelligent and worthy of other people’s acknowledgment. Today’s society bases your status on how well you can conform yourself to fit their standards rather than how well you do in your individual skill set. Isaac Asimov discusses how these concepts apply to himself in “What Is Intelligence, Anyway?”. Many people out there are very resourceful, like my father, but are not being recognized for their abilities due to the way we currently test for intelligence. Does my conclusion need more sentences?
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