Testing for Intelligence

In order to view young children holistically, every aspect about the child must be taken into consideration. By this I mean physical, cognitive, psychosocial, social and emotional development.  The assessment of the child would not be complete if the family situation, environment and cultural background are excluded. 

The physical development measures the physical growth of a child.  In this measurement the child’s ability to use fine and gross motor skills would be examined as well as the use and control of the body.  There would be some “tell tale” aspects recognized that can help detect if the child could have something to be aware of while assessing him/her.  For example, a bigger brain for the age could be a physical sign of an intellectual disorder.  There are some physical deficiencies that could be confused with intellectual disabilities, for example hearing problems could be mistaken for signs of autism.

The cognitive development of a child can be measured by looking at their knowledge skills, problem solving, how they think, explore and process things through.  This aspect is what helps them to think about and understand the world around them. 

The psychosocial development determines how they can assert their power and control over the world through play and other social interactions (Erikson, n.d).  Erikson also defined different stages of psychosocial development according to different age groups.

Social and emotional development determines how they measure who they are, what they are feeling, what they expect when interacting with others.  This also determines how they form and sustain positive relationships, how they experience, regulate and express their emotions and how they explore and engage their environment (NSCDC, 2004).

I think it is important to consider what kind of family the child comes from and how the family functions and if those functions are in the framework of what the child needs (Berger, 2018 p.376). The economic situation is also an important aspect since this would determine if the child can afford to have proper care and how this could affect self-esteem and confidence.   We could also consider the culture at home and how the child behaves at home as opposed to public places.  Some cultures encourage being quiet as a positive virtue and may not encourage self-expression in comparison to other cultures, this could breathe misconceptions about the child’s abilities when they are in school. 

I decided to research on how children are assessed in Nigeria, West Africa.  I grew up in Nigeria and I was curious to see what methods were used here.  It was researched by Ajayi, H.O. (2019), that the methods of assessing pre-school children was mainly cognitive based.  From the table below we can see the types of assessment tools that were used in 162 schools in Nigeria.

Types of Assessment tool(s) Adopted in Public Pre-primary Schools in Nigeria

Table 2. Percentage Distribution of Types of Assessment Tools Adopted in Public Pre-primary Schools

Types of Assessment tool(s) Adopted in Public Pre-primary Schools in Nigeria

Table 2. Percentage Distribution of Types of Assessment Tools Adopted in Public Pre-primary Schools

S/N         Type of Assessment Tool(s0        Adopted     NotAdopted          

1       Paper and Pencil Tests (Continuous       162 (100)                 –           Assessment Tests, Termly/Annual


2             Report Cards/ Grades 162 (100) –                                                                                 

3             Anecdotal Records                                     –                          –                                           

4             Checklists                                                      –                                                                 

5             Portfolio                                                          –                       –                                           

6             Running Records                                          –                     –                                               

7             Time Sampling                                            –                           –                                           

8             Event Sampling     – —                                                                                                         

9             Rating Scales                                                   18 911.2%           144(88.8%)                            

10           Rubrics – –

11           Interview                                     162(100%)                –                             

Table 2 shows that all the observed schools 162 (100%) and teachers adopted paper-and pencil tests (Continuous Assessment Tests and Termly/Annual Examination) to assess the children in the content areas such as numeracy and literacy, so also adopted interview as the mode of assessing pre-primary school children during an examination. Report cards/grades were used as a means of recording children’s performance with Letter Rating Scale as a tool was indicated as part of the report cards of the 144 (88.8%) observed.  Tools such as anecdotal records and running records were not adopted in any of the schools observed (Ajayi, H.O. 2019).

Ajayi, H.O, stated that, “It shows that these assessments were academic-oriented rather than all round assessments.  The assessments were not an on-going process, but “one-shot assessment”.  These types of assessments would not capture the necessary information needed to guide and improve teaching, learning, and development of children.  The implication is that other developmental aspects of the children were not given adequate attention, and then, the true picture of the children’s skills, ability, and personality are not being explored to make concrete and high-quality decisions that would benefit the children and their families as well as the viability of the program”.  As a result, UNESCO (2002) called for deemphasizing the milestone of academic development of children to the complete physical, emotional, and psycho-social well-being of a child in order to establish the holistic assessment of the child.


Ajayi, H.O. (2019).  Analysis of the Pre-Primary School Children Assessment Procedure in Nigeria.  Retrieved from


Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person through childhood (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.