A Multidimensional Approach
Education and intelligence are two subjects, when combined, creates many issues, much controversy, which motivates research. Over the past century, the dynamics of the issues concerning intelligence, intelligence testing and education have changed drastically. The relationship between intelligence theory, testing and education has proceeded to become a highly sophisticated multidimensional approach emphasizing the explanation of differences in cognitive functioning and treatment of learning disabilities. The technical, more advanced multidimensional approach to intelligence provides school psychologists, as well as teachers, with useful information necessary for a more optimistic future in education. The transformation of theory, testing and educational practice and policy is a product of an outdated conceptualization of intelligence. Old conceptualizations were limited to a unidimensional approach, focusing on predictions of academic success, paying no attention to explanation or treatment. This view challenges the traditional methods of teaching and assessing students because, traditionally, all students are taught and assessed the same way.
Today in the United States a free and appropriate education is available to everyone under the age of 21. “Only recently – indeed, only in the past century – have societies advanced the notion that every individual in a community should be educated” (Gardner, Kornhaber & Wake 1996). Furthermore each state has set mandates specifying what is appropriate by outlining requirements and standards each student is expected to obtain. For those students who are at risk of failure or students who are suspected of a learning disability are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to a full and individual evaluation. This means, among other things, “that the child is assessed in all areas related to suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional state, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities” (Reschly 1997). Heller, Holtzman, and Messick (1982) believe, “the main purpose of assessment in education is to improve instruction and learning… a significant portion of children who experience difficulties in the classroom can be treated effectively through improved instruction”.
Considering the wide availability of education offered to students, and the mandates set forth by the government psychologists as well as teachers must ask themselves what is the purpose of education? “Two fundamental, often – opposing, purposes of schools are to transmit society’s knowledge and values, passing on the cultural baton, and to reconstruct society, empowering students to engineer social change as adults – and, sometimes, students” (Sadker & Sadker 1997). Serving the purpose of schools requires a closer inspection of the relationship between intelligence and education being...