- "Academic success is usually a good predictor of intelligence but not always. Its just that in our system, we take it as the only indicator which is a mistake. Being exam smart is not enough if you have zero interpersonal skills or find it difficult to think on your feet.
There are several perspectives on the issue, so I'm not sure where's the best place to start. I'll just offer two for the readers of Commentary Singapore to mull over:
Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences developed in the 1980s. Essentially, Gardner says that the IQ concept is too narrow, for there are at least eight distinct kinds of human intelligences:
Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals.
Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically.
Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements.
Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others.
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.
Traditional methods of assessment in schools (that is, EXAMS) tend to favour those who possess high levels of linguistic and/or logical-mathematical intelligences. However, those who don't have high levels of such intelligences are not necessarily "stupid" - they may merely be highly intelligent in other ways.
Thus even if you do not do well in school, it doesn't mean that you're intrinsically lacking in the ability to do well in life. For example, you could have average or below average levels of linguistic or logical-mathematical intelligences; but a very high level of interpersonal intelligence that allows you to lead a team of fellow workers effectively.
Of course the fact that the PSC favours academic success means that it inherently favours linguistic or logical-mathematical intelligences, which means that it will probably:
(1) neglect those who are smart in other ways;
(2) favour scholars (who tend to be linguistically or logical-mathematically intelligent); AND
(3) favour scholars who are linguistically or logical-mathematically intelligent BUT are retarded as far as other kinds of intelligences are concerned (for example, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences).
ROBERT KELLEY ON STAR PERFORMERS
There are plenty of books that spout advice about how to do well in your career. However, there aren't many authors who have assembled a team of psychologists and HR experts, and systematically, scientifically studied top performers in their work environment, and sought to identify the secrets of success - over 10 years.
Robert Kelley is such an author, and his discoveries are in this book. He devoted years of his life to studying star performers, and his definition of "star performers" are people who are most highly appraised in the workplace, not merely by their bosses, but their peers. In other words, the "star performers" that he has studied are the people whom everyone in their workplace agrees are "star performers".
After years of study, Kelley has identified nine key patterns in star performers. Surprise, surprise. None of the nine key patterns have anything to do with academic success, good CCA records, a high IQ or a 1st class honours from a fancy university. Which really means that the PSC has got it all wrong, wrong, wrong.
What are those nine key patterns? Read the book, if you're interested. Heck, I'll tell you a few of the nine patterns. They include initiative, the ability to build a network, the skill to work in a teamwork and the ability to understand work issues from a bigger, broader perspective. No, they do NOT include the ability to score S-Paper distinctions; memorise 10-year-series model answers or speak well during a PSC interview. So let me say it again - the PSC got it all wrong, wrong, wrong.