Intelligence … moving beyond the lowest common denominator

Despite a century of use in assessing children for predicting academic success, IQ theory and assessments largely overlook the intellectual repertoires of adolescents and adults that are not common, including declarative, procedural, and tacit knowledge. Such knowledge and skill repertoires are essential elements of adult intellectual life and livelihood. A proposal for considering a wider range of knowledge and skills in the definition and assessment of intelligence is offered, along with ideas for moving forward in both research and applications. When intelligence is considered beyond the lowest common denominator, it is clear that there are many important questions have yet to be answered about adolescent and adult intellectual development, maintenance, and decline, occupational performance, relations between intelligence and nonability traits, and the role of engagement in day-to-day intellectual functioning. The proposed focus is to reconsider what it means to be an intelligent adult beyond the IQ measures and to recognize that adults, on average, are far more “intelligent” than they have been considered to be by traditional IQ assessments developed over the last century.