I'd been prepared to post a "This Space for Rent" sign here. Other things have been consuming my attention, and I really felt like I was running low on time and topics to discuss.
Fortunately, I chose not to do that. This is fortunate because I came across a post that I think warrants discussion. This Brazen Teacher writes about Testing Intelligence. The crux of the argument is that our society focuses on IQ and ignores other talents which may contribute to an individual's success. I would disagree with the first part of the statement and agree with the second part.
Starting with the first point (that society focuses on IQ), I can't say that I agree. Perhaps I should rephrase that: the school system doesn't focus on IQ. Most schools, as I have discussed previously, use the Renzulli Method. That is, a student must be intelligent, motivated, and willing to display their gifts. This criteria only applies to a segment of the gifted population and using it results in lack of identification of many students who have a very high IQ. Additional problems occur when gifted behaviors confound the identification of gifted students.
If children test well enough- they might even get extra funding for their education because they are gifted. As a whole, our culture idolizes high IQ's and rewards them by offering even more opportunities to grow smarter, while the rest continue to receive "standard" opportunities. You can imagine that over time the gap between children actually widens because of this. The smarter children get even smarter because of the expanse of experience and opportunities their test scores open up to them, while the rest just "stay the course."
Unfortunately, it is also clear that Brazen Teacher also doesn't have much familiarity with the issues of gifted students. It is also sad that this is a very common misconception among teachers as well as the population in general. Students who are gifted don't necessarily "get smarter" because they are allowed to accelerate while the rest are left to rot. An average student would not work up to the same level if provided the same opportunities because there is an inherent difference in ability. A gifted student who is not able to accelerate their learning will often suffer from such impacts like depression, negative self-esteem, loneliness, etc. It is in the child's best interest to accelerate a gifted learner, and this should be happening because it enables the child to learn at their full potential, not because of expected outcomes.
I also take issue with the point made in the post that divergent thinking and IQ are mutually exclusive. This may be true when tests like the WISC-IV are administered. Such tests emphasize processing speed over reasoning ability. Because a person is a divergent thinker doesn't imply they are naturally doomed to failure when confronted with an IQ test. A divergent thinker will not necessarily be less capable of reasoning than a convergent thinker. A divergent thinker, however, will probably require more time to come to a conclusion. Further, the person administering the IQ test should be astute enough to question whether an "incorrect" conclusion is a result of inability or an alternate way of viewing the problem. This should be taken into account when scoring an IQ exam.
I do concede the point that there is more to success than IQ. However, those skills will not be gained by a child who is forced to conform to a classroom which operates far below his or her ability. Begrudging the minority of gifted children who do have the privilege to participate in a challenging gifted program will not enable those with other gifts or creativity to have their gifts recognized. All this does is tear things down for everyone rather than creating a system which would, ideally, recognize every child's gifts and enable to them to learn and work on material which is challenging and interesting for them.