In the Times-Herald of Vallejo CA 12/17/98

Are you social?

 New test determines your 'SQ'...your 'Social Quotient'

By MARY M. LEAHY Times-Herald staff writer

It's a one-question test. But for teen-agers, it can cause more trepidation than a physics exam. That's because it reveals what their peers think of them. Unlike the familiar IQ test, which tests intelligence, some Vallejo High School students took the "SQ" test this month. SQ stands for social quotient, and the test reportedly assessed their social skills.

Students in the health/careers classes were asked to rank their classmates according to one question: If your classmates were all sales clerks at the same store, whom would you want to help you? Students ranked each other between 1 and 5 [since changed to A-E], from the most to the least favorably. Based on a curve, the results were handed back Friday.

Asked how he scored, one student didn't bother looking up. "Huh? Oh, Fine," he mumbled, never making eye contact. He scored the equivalent of a D-plus. Students' scores won't go in their records and they won't influence their grade. No one else may ever see them although they may choose to use them when applying for jobs or to colleges. The purpose was to give students an idea of how others perceive them - while they're still young enough to do something about it." My hope is that they can learn something while they're still in school said Van Sloan, who developed the test. "My fear is they won't find out the truth until they've been turned down after five job interviews."

Sloan, a retired school district business manager, administers the test to high school students around the Bay Area. He hopes colleges eventually weigh SQ scores as seriously as they do SAT scores. "Getting along with people is as important a skill as brains," he said. "Right now colleges don't have a number that measures individual non-academic skills. But employers know social skills are more important, in certain cases, than what grade you got in algebra.

Sloan has tried using different questions for the social quotient test. He used to ask students which of their peers they wanted to spend time with during lunch break, but it just turned into a popularity contest. He also asked whom they wanted to work with on a school project, but this only showed who students thought were the brightest, he said. Asking whom they'd liked to be waited on by is a better indicator of social intelligence, he said.

In addition to the one-question test, Sloan had students fill out a questionnaire ranking themselves on things like how courteous, athletic, opinionated and happy they are. [The questionnaire is like the popularity test in this web site.] Sloan said Vallejo students ranked highest by their peers were the ones who "had good interpersonal skills like smiling a lot, an upbeat, positive attitude, and a general happiness."

Teacher Lynn Epp challenged students who complained about their low SQ scores. "This is something you have total control over," she told them. "If you don't like your score, change it. Change it by smiling, listening to others, being courteous and paying attention to people and making them feel accepted. You have total control over whether you smile at someone or blow them off with a put down."

(the bold text above appears as normal in the original)

This article is read by most survey takers prior to taking the SQ test

Please e-mail with your reaction to the Social Quotient survey idea. Would you like or not like to do it? Thanks for your comments.

Then choose one:

Go to: How to participate in an SQ survey

Go to: Comments on SQ by students and others

Go to: How a person's SQ is calculated

Go to: History of Social Quotient and this website

Web (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)

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