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In the past, children's intelligence was inspected by their outward physical capabilities. Abnormalities were considered signs that one had defects in mental capabilities. However, these practices did not fully assess the overall mental capability of an individual. Due to this reason, measuring human by means of testing was begun as an alternative method to identifying the students at risk of school failure (Siegler, 1992). Alfred Binet believed such intelligence tests could provide much better assessment between the fine differences exhibited across individual intelligence levels.

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In 1905, the vision of identifying at risk students became a reality when Binet developed the first intelligence test. The test comprised of 30 different types of questions relating to everyday life. The questions ranged from sensory tasks to verbal abstractions (Siegler, 1992). It is from these first few tests that the field of modern intelligence testing bases its foundation.

 
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Binet determined that a number of complex processes compose the human intelligence and that a reliable estimate to intelligence can be obtained by sampling the component processes and summing the results across theses samples (Siegler, 1992)

The main objective of IQ tests is to measure a person's general ability (Siegler, 1992).

IQ tests like all other tools, if misused, can have severe detrimental effects. For example, most IQ tests are culturally biased. As a result, the people who do poorly on IQ tests may not always be the ones that actually need the most help. IQ test in schools can be especially demoralizing for students that frequently fail in school. IQ tests may serve as a confirmation that causes students to accept their own inabilities.

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IQ testing has many benefits that cannot be simply ignored. However, there are important long term consequences to such testing and that more research on IQ tests is needed before any decisions of practical value can be implemented.