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This chapter addresses multicultural perspectives of intelligence in the United States. Topics include fairness in testing; environment, social location, and cultural context; measures of intelligence; and outcome implications in testing ethnocultural populations. Definitions of intelligence from a cultural perspective are highlighted. Contextual factors include: poverty, home environment, education, fluency in English, and acculturation. Testing constructs such as fairness in testing, test bias, cultural loading, and various forms of testing equivalence are discussed. Alternative assessment practices focus on nonverbal intelligence tests; dynamic assessment procedures; performance-based, authentic, and curriculum-based assessment; response to intervention, think aloud protocols, cross-battery assessment; and a multidimensional bilingual assessment model. Usage of mainstream intelligence tests is discussed in relation to Black, Asian, American Indian/Native American, and Hispanic and Latino/a communities. The numerous challenges, controversies, and complexities of interpreting test scores in cultural contexts are discussed as intelligence tests are transported, renormed, and restandardized globally.
This chapter focuses on the influence of environmental factors, especially instruction. It provides some of the more compelling reasons for believing that intelligence is changeable as a consequence of environmental factors. Beliefs, especially about intelligence, can have large effects, both beneficial and detrimental, on cognitive performance. Many researchers have identified working memory capacity as a factor that limits performance on cognitively demanding tasks. There is considerable agreement among many researchers on intelligence that both nature and nurture play major roles in determining intelligence and cognitive performance, despite differences of opinion regarding the relative contributions of the two types of factors. The obvious conclusion is that those who aspire to increase intelligence or to enhance people's ability to perform cognitively demanding tasks, by instruction or other environmental means, are not tilting at windmills but are pursuing a reasonable goal.
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