A couple months ago I got the wild idea to contact my old public school district and ask for a copy of my permanent records. I was curious about what files they had on me and if there was anything in my permanent records that was worthy keeping or sharing. To my surprise (and simultaneous dismay), I found that they had kept my intelligence quotient score (above) in my permanent file.
At the beginning of my 4th grade school year, my mom had suggested that I take the school administered IQ test so that I might be able to qualify for the school district’s Talented And Gifted Program (TAG). The special program was for students who had an IQ above 130 and had scored well in standardized tests so that they could be provided a more robust public school education. So two days before I turned 10 years old I took the exam with Ms. Delia, the elementary school’s counselor. She had platinum blonde hair, a perpetual suntan, and would always wear funky, multicolored dresses. I still remember her generous smile and supportive words that she’d always offer me during my six years of elementary school.
The test that I took was the revised edition of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. According to her written note in the margin of the results, I hurried through the exam. I don’t remember if it was because I was a little cocky 9-year-old who thought he knew it all or if I was nervous about how my scores would turn out or if it was some latent ADHD symptoms that were never fully addressed. My guess is that it was a combination of all three. Regardless of my possibly reckless speed, the final result was that my IQ score was 131, which was one IQ point higher than I needed in order to be allowed into the TAG program.
From fourth grade until sixth grade, one day each week I was bused out to the TAG center to take “enrichment” classes. It was here where I first learned how to program in BASIC, where I surfed the internet for the first time, created my first pinhole camera, and even where broke my right arm. I look back at this part of my public school education very fondly and believe that it helped shape me in ways that I’ll never fully comprehend.
However, I am posting this discussion today because I am curious about how much my intelligence quotient has changed over years. If I were to take the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, how would I fare? Would my IQ be very much different today than it was nearly 20 years ago? Would I be less intelligent, more intelligent, or about the same? What if I took a different IQ test like the Stanford-Binet? What good would it do for me to know this information at 28 years of age? Does it even matter???
I’ve always had some persistent issues knowing that my IQ placed me into the top 2% of the population. As in, if I was in a crowd of 100 randomly selected people, this IQ score would statistically make me the second smartest person in the crowd. But so what? Innate intellect does not automatically get you the job you want or even help you obtain friends or get you a college degree or even lead the crowd of 99 others to safety. It’s just an arbitrary number, right? I don’t have any intention of joining MENSA because I could really care less about belonging to a group of people that theoretically pride themselves enough to join an organization simply based on their score on a standardized test.
The beauty of this blog, which is now over 5 years old, is that I have a digital repository for documenting & sharing what my intellect has helped me accomplish. I take solace knowing that an IQ is not simply an arbitrary number that can differentiate someone from others, but rather, its their actions and creations that set them apart.