Sternberg’s theories and corresponding studies
Theory of Successful Intelligence
Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory (Sternberg, 1997), hypothesizes that for intelligence to be considered comprehensive, there has to be an interplay and balance between the three classifications of intelligence, namely, analytical, creative and practical abilities. Originally conceptualized as the Successful Intelligence theory, the three-fold view of intelligence as it is also referred, necessitates that one must acknowledge their strengths and learn to utilize them in such a way they eclipse their weaknesses. This should all be achieved while navigating through an unfamiliar environment and eventually settling in effortlessly. However, Sternberg (2018) most recently integrated the wisdom component of his WICS model into the Triachic Theory. The assimilation was based on the premise that; it is only with the capability of setting goals beyond oneself, with the common good of others considered, over time, that successful intelligence can be achieved. Creativity is envisioned in the ability to create new ideas and products so that an individual with high creative abilities can embrace an unfamiliar, novel situation. Analytical abilities encompass the aptitude to select the most viable solution through analyzing, comparing and contrasting, and synthesizing new ideas. Practical abilities are demonstrated by the capacity to adapt solutions to everyday challenges and hence the capability to persuade others that the new ideas are practicable. A person who demonstrates wisdom will accept new ideas if the feelings, perspectives, and experiences of others are also considered over the long term.
Individuals with high analytical abilities are most often recognized and valued in an educational setting. Their abilities relate strongest to ‘g’ intelligence and they are often achieving high scores on standard achievement tasks (Kaufman & Singer, 2004). Renzulli (1986, 2005) refers to these types of learners as ‘schoolhouse gifted’, while their peers may refer to them as ‘nerds’. These students are high academic achievers who can memorize facts, have strong vocabularies, and are often able to understand advanced rates and levels. Renzulli (2005) agrees that these abilities are required to navigate the standard educational system with ease, but also speculates possible limitations in that analytical abilities may not produce innovative research by themselves. Sternberg (1999, 2003c) appears to scrounge on Renzulli’s view by postulating that there is a need to incorporate additional measures of intelligence, hence his proposition of the Theory of Intelligence.
Sternberg developed the Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesised (WICS), often referring to it as a model of giftedness (2003a) but also as a model of leadership (2003b). The WICS relies on the balanced interaction of his Triarchic Theory of Successful Intelligence (Sternberg, 1985, 1999), Balance Theory of Wisdom (1998) and Investment Theory of Creativity (Sternberg & Lubart, 1991) to achieve giftedness. However, the components of WICS should be synthesized in such a way that it is possible to determine how each influences the other. The WICS along with the Successful Intelligence theory have provided the framework for his Rainbow Project (2006) and the Kaleidoscope Project (2006). Both studies have impacted the admissions’ process at select universities by broadening the universities’ criteria for acceptance and challenging their traditional views of intelligence.
Sternberg’s theories and corresponding studies
Feldusen (2003) critiques the WICS for its difficult application, inadequate corresponding studies, and inaccessibility to supporting material. However, he also acknowledges the WICS for being solidly based in psychology. In the same context, Heller (2003) raises concerns that the corresponding theories are complex and will be a feat to prove in the field. Koro-Ljungberg (2003) adds to Heller’s concern by claiming the theories should have a stronger relationship with each other. However, she appears to deviate from her main claim by criticizing the syntactic connotation of WICS, implying that the last letter ‘S’ is grammatically inconsistent with the other letters and that it is impractical and unnecessary. In her critic, she questions whether S should stand for synthesizing or synthesized. Baker and Cote (2003) raised questions on WICS usability on particular populations. They posit that the highest achieving athletes with the highest opportunity to nurture their skills are often those who are simply born earlier in the year and their development as an elite athlete is independent to the WICS. Further, the WICS model does not support those lacking in resources or not exhibiting task-commitment.
Sternberg delved deeper into the wisdom component of the WICS model and investigated wisdom as a necessary characteristic that goes beyond gifted identification and access to appropriate provisions. He recognizes that giving gifted provisions should not be the only concern. This insinuates that the identification and the strategic actions to nurture the gifts and promote critical thinking skills constitute the process of developing active, global citizens. He is more apprehensive about the production of global thinkers and leaders with the capacity to create meaningful and positive change in the world around them (Sternberg, 2017). To achieve this, Sternberg created a model the ACCEL, which expands beyond the WICS to develop active concerned citizens and ethical leaders. Various researchers have expressed the need to address existing concerns in order to promote sustainable existence (Maker & Zimmerman, 2008; Bruce-Davis, Gilson, Matthews, 2017; Sternberg, 2018). Therefore, the ACCEL makes a significant contribution to the field by providing a framework that can be emulated. However, Olszewski-Kubilius, Subotnick and Worrell (2017) acknowledge the potential difficulty in actualizing the ideas addressed in the ACCEL model into practice and advocating for acceptance by the field and beyond. More specifically, Persson (2017) posits that the field’s reluctance to change is a contributing factor to why implementing the ACCEL model may prove difficult. Considering practicality, ACCEL, just like the WICS fails to address the question of usability in the classroom.
Ambrose (2017) recognizes the worth of the ACCEL model and applauses it for advocating for ethical and moral awareness to the challenges that could be detrimental to our future. Further, he plays an important role by demonstrating the urgency in finding solutions. However, he raises concerns that children coming from disadvantaged situations, despite being gifted may have limited opportunity to address the ACCEL’s ambitious goals and recommendations introduced by Sternberg. Brimager (2017) commented on the ACCEL from a feminist point of view and found that the ACCEL model to accommodate more people, in that its theories correspond with the strengths of more than one gender.
Aurora Battery Assessment
The Aurora Battery is a multidimensional assessment through which a child’s intellectual profile can be analyzed based on the three capabilities identified in Successful Intelligence. The tool examines student abilities in a broader perspective than standardized tests by incorporating figurative, verbal and numerical perspectives in the assessment of analytical, creative and practical capabilities (Chart, Grigorenko & Sternberg, 2008). The assessment was developed with the objective of improving the understanding of giftedness, through incorporating an augmented intelligence view characterized by a more inclusive approach to giftedness recognition among upper primary students. Aurora Battery differs from Sternberg’s other works in that it focuses on a younger student group and also analyses the three aspects of successful intelligence based on numbers, images, and words. Unlike Sternberg’s other projects such as Rainbow and Kaleidoscope which are aimed at eliminating racial disparities, Aurora Battery mostly focuses on developing a tool that supersedes conventional tests in identifying gifted children.
Aurora-ɑ comprises 16 subtests: five subtests assessing analytical ability, five for creative and six for practical ability respectively. Further, these subsets are subdivided into four multiple choices, seven short answers and five open-ended. Each subset is linked to the three abilities (ability score) and a domain score (images, numbers or words), in an elaborate network aimed at identifying the highest scoring students.
Aurora Battery has attracted considerable attention among scholars, eliciting different reactions on its efficacy. Several studies including Aghababaei et al. (2016), Aljughaiman & Ayoub (2012), Kornilov, et al. (2011), and Prieto et al. (2015) have concluded that the assessment is valid and appropriate in identifying gifted children. Aghababaei et al. (2016), in their confirmatory factor analysis, determined that the Aurora-ɑ assessment is a valid instrument that can be effectively used in assessing giftedness. The study was conducted in Iran among 9-12-year-olds. Aghababaei et al. (2016) rated the assessment statistically reliable after the Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient calculation showed α=0.92.
Aljughaiman & Ayoub (2012) in their Saudi Arabia study established the reliability of the Aurora-a Battery for all the three components. The results of the reliability coefficient as calculated using Cronbach alpha showed that all the three abilities were statistically significant. The results indicated moderate values (α =.71 for analytical, α = .67 for creative abilities and α = .68 for practical abilities). In addition, there existed significant differences among analytical, creative and practical abilities as determined using the Kruskal-Wallis test. In this regard, a higher significance was recorded for analytical skills compared to both the practical and creative abilities (p < .01), while no significant differences were found between practical and creative abilities (> .05). THEY DID COMPARE THEM Grubells (2016) critiqued the Saudi Arabia study, stating that there was subtest parceling, which may have reduced constituent subset uniqueness.
Kornilov, et al. (2011) UK-based research sought to determine the link between the Aurora and the triarchic intelligence theory with the objective of expanding the scope in the measurement of giftedness. The results validated that the subset scores in Aurora-a had a positive and substantive correlation to standard English accomplishment tests. This insinuates that Aurora can be effectively used in identifying more gifted students than the normal tests. However, a notable result is that out of the gifted students that had been identified using conventional tests, Aurora only managed to identify 10-20%. The findings suggest that different tests provide varying results and the definition of giftedness under each is diverse. This manifestation was suggested in Mandelman et al. (2013) who determined that there exist differences and overlaps between what each instrument identifies as giftedness. Their research established that the Aurora and TerraNova test agreed 15.1% on what constitutes creative abilities, and 61.5% on practical abilities. Mandelman et al. (2013) also allude that regular achievement tests are incapable of ensuring high-level identification of creatively gifted children. This calls for the use of diverse assessments like Aurora.
Prieto et al. (2015) who conducted their study in Spain found that Aurora Battery identified a higher number of gifted students in creative, analytical and practical abilities compared to conventional tests. The study established stronger correlations between practical and analytical intelligence with numerical and verbal contents. Synthetic intelligence was on the other hand more correlated to figurative contents. Prieto et al. (2015) concluded that Aurora Battery is an effective measure for the identification of gifted students who would otherwise go unidentified by conventional tests. Despite a fairly high correlation of analytical and practical intelligence…
In an opposing view, Grubbels (2016) suggested possible deficits in the Aurora Battery, following a dismal fit between the assessment scores and the triarchic theory. The researcher sought to determine the effectiveness of Aurora Battery in assessing upper primary students’ gifted ability in the Netherlands. The results determined a very high correlation between the practical and analytical factors. She noted that the model created was best suited for a 2-factor model, though this has not been evident in any other study. In this regard, Grubbels (2016) criticized existing studies including Kornilov, et al (2011) and Mandelman et al. (2013) for assuming the presence of the three-factors in Aurora.
Based on the studies discussed above, it can be concluded that Aurora Battery is an effective tool for the identification of gifted students. However, there is a need for an alternative tool that can be used more practically within the classroom setting and which still assesses different forms of abilities besides analytical. This proposition is made by Kornilov et al. (2016) who note that the assessment is very time-consuming in its administration and scoring, such that it may not be a worthy investment if the main objective was just to identify gifted students in the school setting. Prieto et al. (2015) also mention the time factor limitation based on the application criteria and a requirement for training on creativity assessment. Despite various studies being conducted in different locations in the world, the Aurora does not seem to include diverse populations as none of the researches mention this. Furthermore, there is a need to perform the assessment in Australia since research on Aurora is limited to specific countries mentioned above.
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