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If education is the training of thought and thinking, intelligence is the word used to cover speed, facility, responsiveness, perseverance and readiness in thought. It is what teachers are most grateful for, when they encounter it, what they must comment on favourably in their reports, and yet it resists definition and nobody is quite certain what it is and whether it may be taught. For a century or more, psychologists have sought to refine intelligence tests which will yield accurate and prescriptive results, but many still fall back on the old bromide, ‘intelligence is what the tests test’. Yet after the 1944 Education Act a generation of 11-year-olds in Britain had their educational futures decided by the administration of intelligence tests, and were assigned ...

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