The term intelligence is defined as the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with the environment. People differ in intellectual ability. This difference is due to the particular genes we inherit and due to the environment in which we are raised. The environmental conditions that determine how an individual’s intellectual potential will develop include nutrition, health, quality of stimulation, emotional climate of the home and type of feedback elicited by behaviour.
The only way one can evaluate intelligence quantitatively is by the measurement of the various aspects of intelligence. The measurement of intelligence consists essentially of some qualitative and quantitative evaluation of mental production in terms of their number and the speed which they are affected. The intelligent behaviour might be roughly classified into three kinds: mechanical, social and abstract.
The test result of intelligence shows that those who make high scores on any one of the type of intelligence test tend to make high scores on the remaining ones and the same hold for those who make low or intermediate scores. All intellectual abilities could be expressed as a function of two factors one general or intellectual factor common to any ability, and other specific factor specific to any particular ability.
Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices test has been extensively used across a wide variety of settings in different countries all over the world including Pakistan as a fair culture measure of non-verbal intelligence. It is designed for use with children between the ages 5 ½ and 11/2 years. It measures abstract reasoning through the use of meaningless geometric diagrams. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of age, gender and grade on the intelligence scores.
The sample consisted of 192 students of Karachi High School, including 107 boys and 85 girls of first, second and third grades. Their ages were between 5 1/2 to 10 yrs. and 5months.
Before the actual testing, rapport was established with the children and the nature of test was explained to them in order to reduce their test anxiety. Hence it was held in an informal atmosphere. The test was administered individually according to the standard instructions. However they were given in the Urdu language for better understanding. R.C.P.M was scored by hand scoring key. Number of correct responses by the subject constituted the total score on the test. The age (in years) of children was also verified from the school record register.
Results and Discussion
The data of the 192 students reveals that there is no significant difference between the intellectual performance of boys and girls on the R.C.P.M (Mean for boys is 16.02 and for girls is 16.69). This finding is consistent with previous findings ( e g Aiken, 1982, Halpern, 1986).It may be suggested that the quality of stimulation and feedback which are necessary for the development of mental faculties such as to educe relationship and analogical reasoning, is more or less same for the both sexes. In addition the reinforcement of the problem solving behaviour, encouragement and sex typing by parents and teachers may not be different for the children of age included in the present study.
The test result regarding the grades indicates that the higher grade children perform better than the lower grade children. Ansari and Iftikhar (1984) suggested that while there is no significant effect of grade on S.P.M scores in the rural school children in Pakistan, a significant effect of grade on S.P.M scores does appear in the urban group. Schooling appears to improve several perceptual skills (e. g. mental rotation, same-different judgements, visual- spatial reasoning (figure -ground discrimination) and conceptual skills (e. g. rule learning, free association, analogical reasoning, multiple classification) that is necessary for successful performance on IQ tests.
Schooling also help students with attitudes and values (e.g. to attend to testing environment, to monitor and time their responses and intrinsic motivation, that may improve their test performance. However, one cannot ignore the possibility of the confounding effect of motivation on better performance of higher grade children.
The present study also indicates that the effect of various age groups on R.C.P.M is significant.
Aiken, L, R. (1982). Psychological testing and assessment (4th Ed.). Boston; Allyn and Baccon.
Ansari, Z.A. & Iftikhar, M.N. (1984). Validity of Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices for urban and rural school children in Pakistan( Part 1, Basic Facts). Islamabad; National Institute of Psychology.
Halpern, D.F. (1986). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. New Jersey; Lawrence Erlbaum.