Focusing on a Child's Multiple Intelligences Instead of IQ

Many parents and educators focus on a child's IQ, but understanding a student's multiple intelligences could be more useful in creating math and reading lesson plans. Read on to learn more.

Find available tutors

Administering IQ tests can be useful for parents and teachers, but the labels that result from these tests can damage children's egos and damage self-confidence when it comes to school. Children know they are labeled according to their test taking ability, and often children will stick to the label that has been assigned to them instead of trying to excel beyond their test results. Instead of using IQ tests, many teachers across the nation are recommending the implementation of the Multiple Intelligence Test.

The idea behind the Multiple Intelligence Test was developed in 1983 by Howard Gardner. Through vast research he found that people used multiple intelligences when solving problems. Moreover, he found that people were stronger in some of these intelligences while weaker in others. The multiple intelligences that have been established are verbal-linguistic, math-logic, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalist.

The 8 Intelligences

  • Verbal-linguistic
    • Child easily produces language, sensitivity to grammar, loves reading and writing, and has a good memory for words and trivia.
  • Math-logic
    • Child reasons deductively and inductively, recognizes abstract patterns, has strong problem-solving and reasoning skills, and asks logical questions.
  • Spatial
    • Child has the ability to create visual representations, needs a picture to process new information, is able to use maps or charts, is strong with mazes and puzzles, and has a strong talent with the arts.
  • Musical
    • Child is sensitive to pitch and rhythm and emotional content of music, easily remembers melodies and rhythms, and enjoys listening to sounds and music.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic
    • Child uses the body to make things, solve problems, express emotions, and convey ideas; has good eye-hand coordination; and likes to touch and gesture.
  • Intrapersonal
    • Child understands their own emotions and goals, has strong sense of self, enjoys working alone, is confident and independent, and has good instincts about strengths and abilities.
  • Interpersonal
    • Child works effectively with others, understands others' goals and motivations, thrives on cooperative work, has leadership skills, and is skilled at organizing and communication as well as mediating and negotiating.
  • Naturalist
    • Child can recognize various plants and animals, makes distinctions in the natural world, and understands how nature interacts with civilization.

Multiple Intelligences as a Diagnostic Tool

The idea behind the Multiple Intelligence test is to ask kids 'how are you smart?' instead of 'how smart are you? This produces useful results without injuring a child's self-esteem. It does not measure how intelligent a child is within each category, so children can not use the results of the test as a competition. Instead, the results of the Multiple Intelligence test enable teachers to see how students learn and which of the eight areas they tend to be strong in. This is done by giving students a questionnaire. Students answer with a yes or a no to each question, and each question pertains to a preference or skill of one of the eight categories. This is valuable information when structuring a classroom, and can also be utilized by parents at home. Parents can use the results to help their students learn their lessons and complete their homework assignments.

Helping Your Child Succeed

Three specific ways a parent can utilize the results from their child's test are to cultivate children's capabilities and talents, approach new concepts in different ways, and personalize children's education. By understanding students' differing strengths, parents can design lessons that use these intelligences to explain any concepts that the students may be failing to understand. Understanding multiple intelligences is far more effective than just knowing a child's IQ.

Tutoring Programs

It is also important for tutoring programs to use various methods when teaching students. While tutoring programs might not use the multiple intelligences outright, parents should see if the service uses various activities that play to many of the child's senses. By using activities and games that stimulate more than one sense, an educational program is using a child's multiple intelligences.

If you're looking for a tutor for your child, ask the centers you are looking into if you can view a sample lesson. Many centers, including online programs, have sample lessons or videos of sample lessons that you can watch. Also, see if you may be able to sit in on some of your child's lessons to verify that their various intelligences are being used. Online tutoring creates a situation where you can watch your child's lesson without being a distraction to the tutor.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Can Reading Bridge Racial, Socioeconomic Gaps?

    Study after study shows the achievement gap in education between students of different cultures and economic backgrounds. Recently, two New Jersey schools successfully used literature to show students how 'the other half lives'. Can this experiment be a model for other schools to use books to bridge racial and socioeconomic...

  • More Blog Articles
    MIND Games Lead to Math Gains

    Imagine a math teaching tool so effective that it need only be employed twice per week for less than an hour to result in huge proficiency gains. Impossible, you say? Not so...and MIND Research Institute has the virtual penguin to prove it.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth