# does getting top marks and ranks in school or college make one intelligent?

Please do not discuses about IQ tests that have problems like: 2,4,8,16,... what is the next number? having the answer as 32, because one can relate any number of random numbers mathematically*! When ever I ask this question to someone they would just say: yes! getting top marks and ranks in school or college does make one intelligent because they could just score a top rank in IQ tests!

This paradox about such IQ tests not being correct can obviously be reasoned, but are top rank holders in proper subjects at school or college more intelligent than the rest of the students?

I agree upon the fact that there can be diverse definitions for the word "intelligent". The definition I use for the term intelligent is: a person who has the ability to learn any kind of subject that involves reasoning and extend his abilities to be able to develop that subject**; time frame is not a problem in my definition. To be elegant, I believe that one who has the ability to learn and research on any subject is intelligent. I do not consider people who could do stuff any computer program can do, as the existence of an algorithm to solve that task makes that task less imaginative but could involve high calculation ability (a weight lifter is different from a martial artist) . Scientists haven't achieved human level intelligence in machines and that makes me set machines as my reference point for intelligence.

*lets imagine relating a series 2,4,8,16,111; to do this we would first have to define a 5th degree polynomial with unknown coefficient values. equate: $f(1) = 2, f(2) = 4,...f(5) =111$. Its obviously possible to solve and get 4 values for each coefficients and the rest 2 coefficients end up being linearly related to each other (substitute any value other than zero for one and get the other). So hence you have a polynomial relating 2,4,8,16,111!

**when I say "develop that subject" I do not mean writing books and teaching, but I refer to the method of using one's creativity to enlighten themselves on the deepest regions of that subject.

P.S. also please suggest the best possible ways to measure one's intelligence.

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"Intelligence" is a controversial word. You'll have to tell us what you mean when you use it before anyone can give you any kind of useful answer here, because it's been defined in countless different ways over the years. –  Eoin Jul 7 at 21:56
I have given a definition for Intelligence in my question. –  user3633270 Jul 8 at 6:55
Ah, sorry, my mistake. –  Eoin Jul 8 at 8:03

I think you have three core questions:

1. What is true intelligence and how can it be measured?
2. To what extent does school performance correlate with true intelligence?
3. To what extent does school performance cause true intelligence to change?

Intelligence tests provide the best known means to measure general cognitive ability. There is a huge literature on intelligence tests. Good intelligence tests will generally sample from a wide range of cognitive domains (e.g., verbal, spatial, numerical, etc.). The literature on intelligence tests shows them to be a strong predictor of a wide range of important life outcomes.

So in essence, I reject your assumption that seems to dismiss the validity of intelligence tests. Over a hundred years of research and thousands of studies tell a rich story about the inter-correlation of different ability tests and their correlations with variables like educational performance, work performance, and many other variables. The review by Neisser et al (1996) is an excellent introduction to this literature.

I think this existing question on the correlation between GPA and IQ provides a reasonable answer to your question about the association between school performance and intelligence. In short, there is a very strong correlation between the two variables.

The final question is actually very interesting. I.e., what is the causal effect of education on intelligence? and what is the effect of a student applying additional effort to their education on intelligence?

I'm not as familiar with literature evaluating the causal question. The default assumption given the stability of intelligence and the plausible causal mechanisms is that intelligence causes school performance.

That said, education must on some level cause forms of intelligence to develop. My sense is that interventions targeted at increasing intelligence have generally not had sustained success. Also, twin studies generally show a negligible correlation between adopting parent intelligence and child intelligence, which also reinforces the strong role of genetics. There may also be differences between education increasing domain specific knowledge as opposed to increasing general intelligence.

## References

• Neisser, Ulrich; Boodoo, Gwyneth; Bouchard, Thomas J.; Boykin, A. Wade; Brody, Nathan; Ceci, Stephen J.; Halpern, Diane F.; Loehlin, John C.; Perloff, Robert; Sternberg, Robert J.; Urbina, Susana (1996). "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns". American Psychologist. 51:77–101.
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