Chapter 7: Intelligence vs. IQ

Words to know for chapter Seven:

Discrepancy – a difference between two things

Ability – what you are able to do
Intelligence – how smart you are

Estimate – an educated guess IQ – Intelligence Quotient

Achievement – what you have already done

– how your brain uses information “We have learned a lot about your learning disability. One of the most important things that we have learned is that you sometimes have difficulty showing how smart, or “intelligent” you really are……especially in school.” “But what is intelligence anyway????”
When teachers and psychologists talk about the intelligence they use terms like:

  • Ability
  • Potential
  • Capability
  • Aptitude

All of these terms are supposed to indicate what you could do under the best circumstances…..with no interference. But you do have interference. You have a learning disability that certainly interferes in some situations.
So, can your intelligence really be measured?

The answer to that question is a very definite maybe!!

You have probably taken at least one or two intelligence tests or “IQ Tests” as part of the “diagnosis” of your learning disability.

There are two main reasons for taking IQ tests:

1.  To estimate your intelligence and “learning potential”. This is important in order to measure the “discrepancy” between what you should be able to learn and what you have already learned.

2. To start finding out about how you “process” different kinds of information.

For most people, IQ tests provide a pretty good estimate of intelligence. But, when you have a learning disability, your processing weakness will naturally interfere during the IQ test just like it interferes in school.
School psychologists are trained to look beyond IQ scores when testing your intelligence. You may have done much better on some parts of the test than you did on other parts. These differences can provide valuable clues to the psychologist about your real “potential” and how you “process” information.
Intelligence tests often provide three types of IQ scores:


  • Verbal IQ
  • Performance (non-verbal) IQ
  • Full Scale (overall) IQ

Although the Full-Scale score is usually used to indicate general intelligence, for some types of learning disability, either the Verbal or Performance IQ score is considered a better estimate of your real intelligence. But for other types of LD, any IQ score will “underestimate” your real abilities.
So, the IQ score that you got when tested may not actually be the best estimate of your true intelligence.
  It is very important for the psychologist who gave you the test to clearly explain how you did, what the different scores mean, and whether or not the IQ score is a good estimate of your intelligence.
  If you don’t remember or were never really told how you did on your last IQ test, you may need to ask the psychologist to explain it to you again.
Important! IQ scores are pretty good at predicting how well you will do in school, but may not really measure your intelligence. Don’t feel “dumb” if you got a “low” IQ score. It probably indicates how serious your learning disability is . . . . not your real intelligence.

What about other forms of intelligence?
  Many people believe that IQ tests give you very little information about your real intelligence.
  A psychologist by the name of Dr. Howard Gardner came up with a very popular idea that everyone may actually have seven different types of intelligence:

1. Linguistic – Able to use words well for writing or speaking (like writers, speakers, etc.).  

2. Logical-Mathematical – Able to use numbers well and solve problems (like scientists).  

3.  Spatial – Able to see the visual world accurately (like artists).  

4. Musical – Able to use and enjoy musical forms (composers, musicians, etc.).  

5. Bodily/Kinesthetic – Able to control your body to express feelings and ideas (dance, sculpture, sports).

6. Interpersonal – Being “tuned in” to other peoples’ moods and feelings (teachers, psychologists, etc.).

7. Intrapersonal – Ability to understand and “sense” yourself (psychologists, social workers, etc.).
Note: According to Dr. Gardner, the Linguistic and Logical-Mathematical areas are mostly used for learning in school.
  If this theory is true, you could be very “smart” in some areas even though you may have difficulty in school.
“Obviously, there is much more to intelligence than an IQ score or grades. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.”

Review Questions:

1. Why are IQ tests used?

2. If you get a low IQ score, does that mean you aren’t very smart?

3. Can IQ tests help to measure your “processing” skills?

4. Name three of the seven different types of intelligence discussed at the end of the chapter.

5. Which type of intelligence is your strongest?

6. Which type of intelligence is your weakest?

  Return to Table of Contents
Proceed to Chapter 8 – Exercising Your Weakness 

Published with Permission Of Writer: Scott L. Crouse, Ph.D. A website dedicated to the advancement of practical knowledge and understanding about the often mysterious world of Learning Disabilities. 
Copyright � 1996 Scott L. Crouse