Piaget and Intelligence Tests

Early in his career, Piaget, one of history's most significant psychologists, went to work with Simon, the co-author of the Binet-Simon IQ test. Piaget realized that the Simon team, who were focusing on the total number of correct answers in their intelligence tests, were overlooking what was perhaps the most interesting data - the kinds of answers students were giving.

Piaget felt that by looking at the answers themselves (rather than their correctness), he could see how the children were thinking. He noted that while many children were giving the same incorrect answers this important pedagogical fact was not even noticed by the Simon team because they looked only at the numbers of correct answers. He studied these wrong answers and learned that although children were giving incorrect answers, they were reasoning in ways similar to each other. Piaget recognized that teaching needed to focus on how children were reasoning rather than focusing on how well they might recall facts for a test. Nevertheless, while his work is lauded by most researchers, it has had little effect on the school system.

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