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Human Competencies[11]

Human Competencies[11]



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Published by: Krishnamurthy Prabhakar on May 22, 2007
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Third AIMS International Conference on Management January 1-4,2006 
An Analytical Study on Assessing Human Competencies Based on Tests
Krishnamurthy Prabhakar, KSR College of Technology
Testing Instruments are used to test Intelligence Quotient or personality tests to evaluate past-acquired competencies or future success in education or employment. A close examination and study of human cognition based on biological and anthropological evidence such as plasticity of brain we may haveto include more universal set of competencies than ordinarily been considered such as verbal,mathematical and logical competencies. This paper attempts to address issues relating to definition of intelligence, its components and application of study for educational testing and selection process. 
Key words
: Plasticity of brain, Intelligence Quotient, tests, Multiple Intelligences, contextualization, pluralization, distribution
1. Introduction
The educational and job opportunities in most of the countries in the world depend on one type of testing or other. Admission to best educational institutions is based on tests and for entry-level jobs in the bestorganizations is to achieve prized end states. They are supposed to test present competenciesand work as predictive tools for future performance. Do all these tests predict success of the candidate’s future performance? Most important question is whether results of the tests translate into everyday performance.The central question is whether mental competence is produced by special ability, applicable in manysettings, or whether competence is produced by specialized abilities. If that is the case how tests measurethese competencies. As a corollary, how tests measure individualcompetencies? If we examine differentcultures in different eras across time and space, we find some of the prized end-states such as hunter, priests, kings, warriors, artists, writers, athletes and military strategists; one question occurs to us, how didthey acquire the status? Is it through testing or by other means? If we have to include human cognition incontrast to psychometric approach, we may have to include a far wider and more universal set of competencies than that has been considered.Some of the questions that occur to us are,1.What is Intelligence?2.When did we start this methodology of testing?3.Do we have a timeline for the intelligence testing tradition?4.Do these tests test the potential of a human being to perform future tasks or tests what is alreadyknown?5.If the measure is defined, how are they measured?6.Is it tests focused on the tool than on what it is supposed to measure?7.What is the reliability, validity of these tests?8.Is there any relevance of latest findings in brain and its functions, which provide us better understanding of intelligence?9.Do we have a global brain theory that is suitable to any culture?This article is in no way try to provide right answers to these questions, as it is beyond the competence of the author. Issues are addressed for better understanding of human intelligence and testing mechanismadopted. If we observe the nature of these questions, depending on a single discipline may not lead us to better understanding. We may in hindsight likely to brush aside these questions by saying that they are notin the realm of human resources discipline and it is upto psychologists to provide answers. However,research of Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon indicate that study of intelligence or multiple intelligences help us to understand and explain learning, thinking, leadership,innovation, ethics better from fundamental analysis of latest research in neurobiology and anthropology. Wewill start with historical influences in the development of intelligence theory and testing.1
Third AIMS International Conference on Management January 1-4,2006 
1understanding about intelligence
The general understanding is, it is a single general capacity that every human being possesses to a greater or lesser extent. It can be measured by standardized verbal instruments, such as short answers, paper and pencil tests. These tests depend largely on the linguistic, logical and mathematical competencies. However,if we examine the end states that are appreciated and prized by various cultures as described, such asmusicians, artists, poets , we feel the strong need to include universal set of competencies with a possibilityof some of them not amenable to any type of measurement. Samuel Johnson, described a true genius as one
whose mind of large general powers accidentally determined to particular directions
”.The definition gives raise to one dimension known as “large general powers”. The mind may have ability todeal with different kinds of content; however, ability to deal with particular content need not necessarilyhelp him or her to excel in other content. We will examine the fundamentals during the course of discussion.
Development of Intelligence Theory and Testing historical foundations
We will go through the following chart that helps us to trace the history of intelligence theory and testing.This chart will be helpful and a discerning reader can visit the website and understand individualcontributions by working on the interactive map. However, for the purpose of discussion some of thehistorical Foundationsare discussed. The nature of the human intellect has fascinated scholars for centuries.The investigators are caught between two styles of explanations. The reductionist and holistic. Is brain anassembly of parts or coherent whole such as a general framework of connections that shape mental patterns? The English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) about whom the diagram has no mention, isworth noting here. He said that we are born as blank slate, and then are molded by our experiences. Wehave to acquire habits of perception, networks of mental associations, and skills of self-awareness.2
Third AIMS International Conference on Management January 1-4,2006 
Modern foundation
Several prominent European schools of psychology have emerged during this particular period.Some American psychologists worked at these schools and established psychology programs in the UnitedStates. The study of intelligence gained popularity during this era, based on work of Wilhelm Wundt, JamesMcKeen Cattell, G. S. Hall, and Hermann Ebbinghaus.
Great Schools Influence
A number of theoretical and empirical investigations of intelligence increased during this particular period.One of great achievement of this period was development of the Army Alpha and Beta testing program,established under the direction of Robert Mearns Yerkes. This project gave rise to the first groupintelligence tests and provided training ground for many psychologists. The enthusiasm generated by theformation of the Schools and the Army Alpha and Beta testing program laid the foundation for the work done during this period.
Contemporary Explorations
The champions of two opposing views such as reductionist and holist continued. Holistic approach iscriticized as being unscientific. Reductionism is seen as proper science. However, latest techniques of research and study where we can inject microscopic glass tubes into neurons have helped us to have better understanding of brain and its functions. New statistical techniques and modern experimental designshelped to make standardized testing of intelligence and achievement a way of life. Although one singlefactor measure of intelligence theory to determine the competence of a person dominated, theories of "multiple intelligences" began to appear in the work of Thurstone and Guilford. Current trends inintelligence theory and research involve the formation of more complex multiple intelligence theories and ade-emphasis on the use of standardized testing to measure intelligence. The emergence of reliable geneticand neurological research methodologies is creating a new area of study in which environmental, biological, and psychological aspects of intelligence are studied simultaneously.
Intelligence- earliest views
We will start our analysis from that of work by Joseph Gall. Joseph Gall has observed a relationship between certain mental characteristics of his schoolmates and shapes of their heads. He developed"cranioscopy", a method to divine the personality and development of mental and moral faculties based onthe external shape of the skull. Cranioscopy (
=vision) was later renamed to phrenology(
=study). He could not provide scientific proof of his theory. Galls phrenological theories and practices were accepted in England, where the ruling class used it to justify the"inferiority" of colonial subjects. Therefore, more than the science of measurement of intelligence, it isused as a social tool to let down a race or set of people. His followers identifiedthirty-seven mental and moral facultiesten more than twenty-seven identified by him, whom they thought, were represented in theexterior surface of the skull. These faculties were divided into several spheres: intellectual, perceptiveness,mental energy, moral faculties, love, etc. Most of the faculties dealt with hard-to-define personality traits,such as firmness, approbativeness, cautiousness, marvelousness, spirituality, veneration, amativeness. Etc.Other phrenological traits have modern scientific counterparts that can be evaluated with proper  psychological tests, such as constructiveness, destructiveness, individuality, self-esteem, idealism,affection, etc. However, his ideas gave raise to thinking that brain has fundamental role in influencingvarious activities of an individual and led importance to reductionist view. The result of Gall's theory was akind of chart of the skull, which mapped the regions where the bumps and depressions related to the 37faculties could be palpated, measured and diagnosed. This was an excellent device for practitioners for easyunderstanding. However, his work has given raise to the relationship of brain with that of specific functionsof human being.
Contribution of Binet
Binet, originally a proponent of craniometry, began to doubt the method after conducting a number of hisown experiments on young schoolchildren with great variability in head size and conflicting results. Thedifferences among the higher and lower functioning students were negligible and failed to support the phrenology of Gall. He decided to abandon this technique in favor of better methods of measurement.3

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