Success is a relative word. Intelligence is not. We measure it and compare it and define it.
Intelligence is measure by the “consistency of individual differences.” How quickly and accurately can you identify and correct your mistakes? Intelligence.
Yet, there is wave of educators and psychologists who argue for a detrimental effect on those people who are most consistent. People who score perfect A’s and win all the games and never seem to fail a moment in their life are set up for a fall. This isn’t a warm autumn day in the sunshine.
“When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest,” says Dominic Randolph, headmaster of a New York private school. He and others are profiled in a NYT article about a new scale of ability.
Randolph and others want to measure corollaries of intelligence. Are kids socially intelligent? Do they show empathy? Do they play fairly?
These educators argue that succeeding in school isn’t as much about scholarly intelligence as it is about character traits. But I don’t remember integrity, humor and gratitude being tested on the ACT or the GRE.
What has now been developed is a list of attributes to test character. Report card grades were better indicated by character, while achievement test scores were better predicted by I.Q.
It’s reasonable, then, that character is important in schooling, the real-world, day-to-day learning. Specifically, seven traits help a person push through failure, a quantity lacking in many academic environments according to some in the article: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.
The takeaway is that intelligence and success are not determined by a perfect SAT score, and children’s report cards can be influenced by whether they’re good at sharing or if they’re curious.
Students should still go to class, but as employers, character traits should be higher on hiring checklist, even if a person’s GPA isn’t maxed out.
When journalism, or any other industry, begins to build a workforce solely constructed of good test takers, it immediately loses the creative combinations that come from those whose intelligence doesn’t fit into the standard achievement box. That move would truly be stupid.