4ALL: Nothing’s Set in Stone, Even IQ

Albert Einstein

Teachers thought Einstein was "low" and look how he turned out.

I heard this report yesterday on NPR about a study that suggests IQ scores are not constant throughout life. It used to be thought that once an IQ score had been established in an individual, that person was stuck with that one measurement of her intelligence The study cited in the piece suggests otherwise. The study reveals that the IQ score of teenagers can fluctuate.

What does this mean to us?

The idea that one’s IQ can change means that students have capacity beyond what was thought to be a set score. Through a positive educational environment and improved instructional practices, students can actually become “smarter.” A student’s capacity should not be limited to a perceived fixed IQ score.

It never sat well with me when I would hear other teachers suggest that a student was “just low” as an excuse for not raising expectations for what that student could achieve. A study like the one in the NPR story means that we can make a difference in the intelligence quotient of our students at the very least. No matter how “low” we think a student might be, there is still an opportunity to help them reach beyond their perceived potential.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.