How to Oppose IQ Testing

So you want to know how to argue against IQ testing? If you disagree with the concept of basing someone's worth off of an intelligence test, and want to know how to oppose this, read on.


  1. 1
    Learn about IQ testing. Read up on how an IQ test works and the criteria they use for their scoring. The more you know about IQ testing, the more you can say in a debate about it.
  2. 2
    Read about racial and economic differences in IQ testing. Studies show that low IQ scores in children with low socioeconomic status are affected more by their environment than by their genes.[1] The score reflects lowered opportunities more than it does their innate intelligence.
  3. 3
    Examine the effects of IQ testing on disabled people. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities may score very low, or may have subscores that vary wildly. Consider whether these are accurate representations of them, and whether they could cause mislabeling of needs and abilities. If disabled students are told that they are below average, this may hurt their self-confidence and performance.[2]
    • Some capable students with disabilities may underperform on IQ tests due to unmet accessibility needs, and thus be underestimated.
  4. 4
    Consider the downsides of labeling children as gifted. In telling children that they are innately smart, they may fear failure and shut down when challenged,[3] or look down on children whose intelligence is measured as average or below average.
    • Gifted students with disabilities may be overlooked if their IQ is high.
    • Students with anxiety issues may not do well in timed or high-stakes testing.
  5. 5
    Consider what IQ tests don't measure. Creativity, mechanics, and social skills play an important role in future success, and IQ tests do not measure these.[4] IQ tests tend to focus on pattern recognition and reading comprehension, while general intelligence has many more components.
  6. 6
    Evaluate the stakes, and variability of performance. A child who comes to school tired might score lower than one who is well-rested and well-fed that day. Sleep, diet, personal issues, stress, time of day, and more can all affect a person's concentration. One day may not provide an accurate snapshot.
  7. 7
    Consider how removed IQ testing may be from real-life challenges. In what is called the "drop from the sky" method, examiners provide a set of questions in a controlled circumstance with a limited amount of time.[5] This is not how problems frequently surface in the everyday world.
  8. 8
    Read about benefits of IQ testing as well. Few issues are black and white, and it is important to gain a well-informed perspective by reading many different opinions. Evaluate the information you read and use it to form a nuanced, thoughtful opinion.
    • Are any of the opinions flawed? How so? Do they have personal experience and/or expertise?
    • Who is most affected by these issues? How do these people feel?
    • Are there some situations in which IQ testing may be the best tool available?
    • Are there other ways to achieve the benefits that IQ tests provide?
  9. 9
    Consider alternatives to IQ testing. Are there other tests that work better? Do these succeed where IQ tests fail, or do they carry similar limitations?
    • The Stanford-Binet test has been proposed for cases of severe intellectual disability.[6]
  10. 10
    Base your cases on solid facts. How did they judge intelligence before the creation of IQ testing? Is judging intelligence even necessary? Find out the history of measuring intelligence and reasons the former ways were changed. You may be able to quote historical figures that had similar viewpoints to you.
  11. 11
    Decide how you will make a difference. Choose how you are going to oppose the IQ standard. Be it a letter to the editor, a blog, or public debate. It will be easier to battle for your cause once you know how you are going to go about it.
  12. 12
    Carefully evaluate new information as you receive it. Becoming trapped in dogma is dangerous. Be sure to listen when others talk to you (even if you don't like what they are saying) and absorb it. You may find that their argument has holes, or you may decide to adjust your opinion. Critical thought will help you form a nuanced and powerful viewpoint.


  • Taking a few IQ tests will help you better understand how they work.


  • Make sure your information is correct. The last thing you want is to debate IQ testing and be proven wrong on the very facts your case is based on.

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Categories: Disability Activism