Testing question

September 3, 2004

Richard Lynn writes that our exam board has "apparently reinvented the intelligence test" (Letters, August ). We have done no such thing, as he would understand if he visited either of our thinking skills assessment and biomedical admissions test websites ( www.tsa.ucles.org.uk and www.bmat.org.uk). Our tests originate from research carried out since the late 1980s and they have been used in various assessment applications since then. An especially incisive explanation of the distinction between thinking skills and IQ will be found on Edward de Bono's website ( http:///www.edwdebono.com/debono/worksh.htm ).

Our thinking skills assessments are not built as an "intelligence test" (whatever one of those may be) and do not set out to measure IQ. The aim is to provide an assessment of skills that are teachable and are useful to students in different subject areas. We focus on the skills of critical thinking and problem solving, which are skills that those in higher education tell us their students need.

Robert Harding
Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate

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