IQ – It’s Not The End All Be All

What does it mean to have a high IQ? Does it really mean anything? Admittedly, we live in a world where labels are plentiful and often important.  Is IQ one of the important ones? People in general don’t always know their IQ – likely because there is wide speculation about the validity of IQ tests.  In general, people only talk about IQ’s if they are very high or very low.  Why is that?  Many people believe that those who have a high IQ are going to do really well in school and make amazing grades, but I’m here to decide if that is really the case and if it doesn’t quite work like that.

In simple terms, an IQ is an intelligence quotient, and it is used to determine how intelligent you are by giving you a test to determine your cognitive ability (which is a big word for brain power). After completing the test, you will be awarded a number ranging from 0-270. The highest record ever was 270, but anything above 150 is considered a genius.

For the purposes of this article, we took a poll of three students at Cape Henry who would like to remain anonymous.  We will call them Student A, B, and C allowing us to compare data. I asked Student A was asked have you ever taken an IQ test? Student A responded with, “ I have and I don’t see the big fuss with the test.” I later inquired as to what he received on the test and how he thinks that plays into his grades in school. Student A responded, “I got a 123 on the IQ test and I maintain a 4.0 GPA in school. I expected to have a higher IQ because I believe that I’ve always been one of the smartest in the room.”  Therefore Student A thought that because he had a high GPA and knew what was going on around him, that he must be considered a genius. I later inquired why do you think that having a high IQ means that you will do well in school? Student A said, “ Well if you have a high IQ then you must have good grades because you’re considered smart.”  Being smart might not mean that you have the best of grades in school; sometimes some of the smartest people you will meet, can’t manage to get past a 3.1 GPA, but have an IQ of 157.

Student B was asked if they have taken an IQ test? Student B said, “ I have and I thought it was a waste of time.” I pondered the idea that most of us don’t really understand that an IQ test isn’t quite an accurate measure of the ability of students, rather the capability. Student B was then asked, “ What score did you receive on the IQ test?” Student B replied, “ I received a 100 on the IQ test.”  Later I then asked Student B, “What was your GPA in high school?” Student B then said, “ I got a 3.2 GPA all three years in high school. I then asked the student how he felt about his GPA and IQ test, and if there might be a connection between the two. Student B said, “I don’t think so. I think that people have the ability to study hard and make good grades even if they have a low IQ.”  How does your IQ make you feel?  Student B was recorded saying, “My IQ doesn’t define who I am and what I can do with my life. Though people will say that I’m naturally behind, I believe in the end I will be ahead.” We talked about how he feels about the idea that IQ is a way to separate people into classes and segregate people.

Student C was again asked their results to their IQ test, and was reported saying “I scored a 95 on my IQ test.” Student C was then questioned what their GPA was in high school, and they responded with, “I have a 3.8 GPA in high school.” I then asked if he thought if his IQ was reflective of his ability to get good grades. Student C then said, “ I’ve worked hard my whole life and I can’t say that I have been behind because of my IQ.” Student C made the connection that maybe IQ isn’t the root of success in school or in life. Maybe success comes from people’s ability to work hard and to always put their best effort forward and have it be rewarding to them. Student C was then asked if he thinks colleges should see his IQ and he said, “ No, because it has nothing to do with who I am and what I can accomplish.” Junior Jasper Smith was also asked, “Do you think colleges should see your IQ?”  He answered, “I can see both sides of the argument. I think that people with a high IQ are going to say yes, while people with a low IQ are going to argue against it. I think it should be optional if you want colleges to see it.”

Maybe IQ has nothing to do with someone’s ability to succeed but there is a trend that people with high IQ’s are more capable of doing better in school than people with low IQ’s. Junior Dylan Cake was posed with the question, “What do you think of IQ affecting someone’s ability to learn? He stated that, “IQ is important in learning and can help or hinder your learning process, but it can be done with or without a high IQ.” What we can learn from someone like Student C is that IQ doesn’t define who you are or what you can accomplish. Like Albert Einstein said, “You can’t judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree.” I also asked junior Nathan Branson what he thought of how IQ defines someone, and he said, “IQ means nothing to those who have a low IQ.”

Regardless of the number, many people still see IQ as something that defines who they are or what they can accomplish. However, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t define who you are.  It’s all about how hard you work at something. Don’t be the normal, be the outlier!