Intelligence tests are controversial, partly because they sometimes determine important aspects of people’s lives.

Intelligence tests are controversial, partly because they sometimes determine important aspects of people’s lives.

Intelligence tests are controversial, partly because they sometimes determine important aspects of people’s lives.

Intelligence tests are controversial, partly because they sometimes determine important aspects of people’s lives. For example, intelligence test scores have factored into determining school placement, identifying giftedness, and diagnosing mental retardation and learning disabilities. Even when an intelligence test shows that a child has normal intelligence, there might be speculation of a learning disability due to him or her falling behind in academic achievement. A child’s biology and environment influences his or her academic achievement, as well. Children from different cultures and socioeconomic status have diverse experiences, beliefs, and attitudes that affect their academic achievement. There are also differences in skills that caregivers emphasize during a child’s development that contribute to a child’s school readiness, which influences intelligence and academic achievement.

Intelligence and academic achievement are often used to determine many aspects of a person’s life, including the diagnosis of a learning disability. Most identifiers of learning disabilities are seen within the realm of intelligence and achievement. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 is an example of a federal mandate that allows for identification of indicators of learning disabilities, such as limited response to intervention or a meaningful discrepancy between a student’s intelligence and achievement scores. When diagnosing a learning disability in determining a child’s intelligence, a combination of indicators is more accurate than a single test score.

For this Discussion, you will explore the differences between intelligence and academic achievement (as opposed to other types of achievement). You also will examine environmental and/or biological influences on intelligence and academic achievement.

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To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources related to intelligence and academic achievement and consider environmental and biological influences.
  • Select two influences: environmental and/or biological (you can select two of either category or one of each) that have been associated with intelligence and academic achievement.

Some readings to view for question:

Berk, L. E. (2014). Development through the lifespan (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Chapter 7, “Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood” (pp. 214–253)
Chapter 9, “Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood” (pp. 288–327)

Liu, J., Li, L., Wang, Y., Yan, C., & Liu, X. (2013). Impact of low blood lead concentrations on IQ and school performance in Chinese children. Plos ONE, 8(5), e65230. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065230
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. American Psychologist, 67(2), 130–159. doi:10.1037/a0026699
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Required Media

Films Media Group. (Producer). (2007). Intellectual growth and achievement: Human development—Enhancing social and cognitive growth in children [Video file]. Part of the Series: Human Development: Enhancing Social and Cognitive Growth in Children. New York, N.Y.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 28 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Transcript

Optional Resources

Bowman, B. T. (1994). Cultural diversity and academic achievement. Chicago, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved from http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/virtual_disk_library/index.cgi/4273355/FID840/eqtyres/erg/111564/1564.htm

Christoffersen, M. N. (2012). A study of adopted children, their environment, and development: A systematic review. Adoption Quarterly, 15(3), 220–237.

Welsh, J. A., Nix, R. L., Blair, C., Bierman, K. L., & Nelson, K. E. (2010). The development of cognitive skills and gains in academic school readiness for children from low-income familiesJournal of Educational Psychology, 102(1), 43–53.

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