A Letter from Glen Wooten
Dear Dr. Hoeflin,
I just read Noesis 155 and wanted to interpose some of my thoughts. In Chris Cole's article on high range testing, he stated half the answers to the Titan Test were "easily available" on the Internet. I suspect this is an exaggeration to make his point.
Anyway, let's not forget, the use of computers is not allowed! Even when the tests were first designed, there was no way to prevent dishonest testees from using an assortment of software programs or their own written programs to solve problems. An inspection of all people who have qualified for membership in the Mega Society via your tests reveals a superabundance of individuals with educational backgrounds in computer science, mathematics and physics--the people most likely to have knowledge of cheating methods using computers.
Not unlike the present, there was also no way to enforce the no-collaboration rule. Again, people with certain educational backgrounds, especially at certain universities, are likely to know talented professors or other students in their respective fields with the ability to assist them.
We also can't forget several individuals, some current Mega Society members, who submitted an unknown number of answer sheets using pseudonyms. Any excuse for doing so is highly suspect.
There were also two people who qualified for the Mega Society who admitted to spending three months on a single test. What do those scores purport to measure?
The bottom line is that the current Mega Society is trapped in a glass house. Some of the most suspicious-looking people of all are already members. Casting stones at the six thousand truly qualified potential members seems silly, especially given the fact the society is considering merging with the psychometrically dubious Pi Society. (No offense intended.)
I think a new, more respectable society should be formed which requires supervised test scores in addition to your tests. This standard would be expected of all members. It should not only cut down on the number of cheaters but would add much needed respect and legitimacy to the society.
For income-challenged persons, the CTMM could be used. It isn't as respectable as the Wechsler, but ceiling scores should work just fine.
I also think Ferguson's formula should be implemented so that people have the option of qualifying via supervised tests only, providing ceilng scores on at least two respectable tests (using only tests administered in adulthood) are submitted. This would help eliminate complaints similar to those of Paul Maxim.
Chris Langan is the only Mega Society member I'm familiar with who has achieved a ceiling score on a well-respected supervised test in addition to a high score on one of your tests. Again, it adds legitimacy to the claim of an IQ score in the Mega range and I think it's a standard all "true" Mega Society members would want to espouse.
Although I personally fully support your tests' continued use and believe they are far superior to any other unsupervised tests, complaints have been raised by Grady Towers, Paul Maxim and Marilyn vos Savant, among others. These complaints involve questions about the "true" IQ of members of societies that don't require supervised test scores. Grady Towers went so far as to suggest some Mega members couldn't qualify for Mensa!
Another complaint is that the unsupervised tests don't correlate well with standardized IQ tests. An alleged reason is that unsupervised tests don't measure intelligence so much, but rather educational background skills such as mathematics. The same may be said of the "old" SAT and its somewhat low correlation with intelligence tests.
However, the method I have outlined should satisfactorily allow testing to continue.
If you have any thoughts on these suggestions, please let me know. To my knowledge, few realistic ideas have been suggested regarding admittance criteria and certainly no action has been forthcoming. Unfortunately, most members seem quite content with the quietus of the position of membership officer.