Essay on Individual Differences amoung students


Individual Differences:

Individual differences are the individual’s abilities, aptitudes, attainments, interests and attitudes. There are also temperamental and emotional differences.



Individuals vary in both the quality and quantity of their intelligence. Three broad categories of intelligence have been identified in school children when they are about to enter secondary schools. These are general intelligence, verbal intelligence (including ability in number) and practical-spatial intelligence.

Memory and Ability to Reason:

In is also possible to distinguish within general intelligence between memory and the ability to reason and find relations. With American pupils Thurston has identified primary abilities, which include verbal ability, word fluency, numerical ability, memory, spatial ability, reasoning and perception.

Variation in Quantity of Intelligence:


In order to study variations between individuals in the quantity of intelligence we may take the results of applying a verbal intelligence test designed for a 10-11 year old population.

Many of the published and unpublished tests contain about one hundred times and the mean scores usually fall within the score range of 40-50 correctly answered items. These items are shown in the following table:

Standardized Score To an I.Q. Basis

Percentage of Children within This Group


Approximately Suitable for Secondary and Higher Education

145 and over


Exceptionally bright

University and higher education.

130-144 115-129

1.8 10

Very bright

Grammar school, technical schools and technical college university

110-114 85-99

38 38


Secondary Modern School



Dull and Backward

Special class in Secondary Modern School



Mentally Deficient

Schools for educationally subnormal

Below 55



Institutions (uneducable in the ordinary sense).

Other Conditions:

It does not follow that the exceptionally bright child will become a Newton, Goethe, Shelley, or Galton. Many other conditions have to be fulfilled. The child would need zeal, energy and opportunity. Very brilliant children may tend to become isolated, particularly if they have poor or restricted home backgrounds.

Their vocabulary and thought is on different plane from that of their relations and intimates: The ideal conditions for brilliant child are that his home and surroundings should be cultured and intellectually stimulating. Galton was such a child, that he enjoyed a stimulating and intellectual background at home. Conditions were nearly ideal for him.


When the psychologist speaks of an aptitude has in mind the potentiality a person has to succeed in an occupation or school attainment. He devises tests to discover in advance whether a person has an aptitude for learning foreign languages or for engineering.

The aptitudes which interest us most at the end of the primary school years are those for the different kinds of secondary education. It is primarily a question of aptitudes, on the one hand, for academic, abstract and bookish education and, on the other, for practical, constructive, creative, technical education.

Problem of Variations:

Clearly the problem of variations (from individual to individual) if these aptitudes relates to the similar problem of variation in the quality of intelligence, which we have just discussed in the previous section.

Are these individual differences so marked as to justify our view that the aptitudes for the two broad field of study really exist? The answer is affirmative on the whole The tests and other situations designed to measure the aptitudes correlate very significantly with the later measure of attainment in the grammar or technical school subjects.

The Criterion:

This measure is called the criterion, and the correlation between aptitude tests and the criterion given the predictive power of the tests. The choice of a criterion, whether of success in a grammar or technical school, presents some difficulty.

For instance, we usually make use of examination results, but a child may profit more from a secondary school than his success in school examinations reveals. For all that, success in examinations during and at the end of school ranks very high in the pupils, parents, teachers and employers opinion of what constitutes secondary school progress.


Such estimates have to be discussed carefully to avoid unwanted ‘halos’. Generally the fuller and richer the criterion the less objective it is.

The simple compromise seems to lie in the five or fifteen point scale, preliminary discussion of the scale, and the choice of concrete examples to illustrate the criterion; for the benefit of those required to make the assessments.

Graded Scale

The graded scale can also be applied to less tangible features of the secondary pupil’s development-his emotional and social reactions to school life, his interests and aptitudes-which form a considerable part of his ‘profit’ in the secondary school.


It is unfortunate that the interest we have shown in the past in attainment in the barest ‘core’ subjects of the three R’s has itself limited the children’s opportunity for enriching their experience and making the widest use of their powers.

This tendency has been further aggravated by the objective test methods used to evaluate attainment in Arithmetic and ‘English, for these methods tend to be reflected in current teaching practice. When the pupil passes to the grammar school we assume that the richer the curriculum the better.

It is also particularly important to apply this principle fully in the curriculum of the secondary modern school.


Any topics which interest a child are of significance in his education, but two fields of his interests are of particular value: the school subjects he likes best and the leisure activities with most interest him.

Among interests in school subjects, those marking off academic or bookish interests from practical and non-literary interests may be of assistance in the allocation of pupils to secondary schools.

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