Intelligence tests are controversial, partly because they sometimes determine important aspects of people’s lives. For example, intelligence test scores have factored into determining school placement, identifying giftedness, and diagnosing mental retardation and learning disabilities. Even when an intelligence test shows that a child has normal intelligence, there might be speculation of a learning disability due to him or her falling behind in academic achievement. A child’s biology and environment influences his or her academic achievement, as well. Children from different cultures and socioeconomic status have diverse experiences, beliefs, and attitudes that affect their academic achievement. There are also differences in skills that caregivers emphasize during a child’s development that contribute to a child’s school readiness, which influences intelligence and academic achievement.
Intelligence and academic achievement are often used to determine many aspects of a person’s life, including the diagnosis of a learning disability. Most identifiers of learning disabilities are seen within the realm of intelligence and achievement. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 is an example of a federal mandate that allows for identification of indicators of learning disabilities, such as limited response to intervention or a meaningful discrepancy between a student’s intelligence and achievement scores. When diagnosing a learning disability in determining a child’s intelligence, a combination of indicators is more accurate than a single test score.
For this Discussion, you will explore the differences between intelligence and academic achievement (as opposed to other types of achievement). You also will examine environmental and/or biological influences on intelligence and academic achievement.
To prepare for this Discussion:
• Review this week’s Learning Resources related to intelligence and academic achievement and consider environmental and biological influences.
• Select two influences: environmental and/or biological (you can select two of either category or one of each) that have been associated with intelligence and academic achievement.

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