Cognitive assessment


The existence of individual differences in cognitive aptitude for learning from instruction is the most longstanding, well-established fact in educational psychology. Indeed, in virtually every classroom, it is common for teachers to observe that some students struggle to acquire certain knowledge and skills, while others learn that same material quickly and with ease. Intelligence tests were originally developed to improve educational efficiency by identifying children and youth who were at risk for educational failure. Such tests were used to classify students to fixed educational structures on the basis of general intellectual ability. This chapter reviews the current status of intelligence testing in the schools. It defines intelligence, its structure, and distribution, and discusses the origins of individual differences in intelligence and its malleability. The chapter examines how intelligence is measured and how tests of intelligence are used in the schools. It concludes with a discussion of intelligence and social justice.

Publication Title

School Psychology: Professional Issues and Practices