Social Quotient Validity

1. Does SQ predict future success?

SQ measures social skills, which seem to be an important predictor of long term success, according to research in Emotional Intelligence. The social skills of job applicants are also viewed by employers as a good predictor of short term on-the-job success. See "Using SQ results in job applications" and related links, especially the data in "Traits employers look for in job applicants." Reasoning behind that data is analyzed in employer comments on SQ.

2. How valid is SQ in measuring social skills, especially compared to other methods?

a. First, SQ is a concrete number, rigidly normed to a 100.0 average (like IQ). Unlike other social skills assessments, SQ can be readily correlated to other data and mathematically measured for its validity.

b. SQ is the first unbiased measure of social skills. Distinct from Myers-Briggs and many other personality assessments, an SQ score completely avoids the subject's conscious or unconscious bias as the instrument is completed.

c. SQ is based on the input of a large number of observers, often 20-30 peers. Psychological assessments made by one observer (as with many youth tests) include the observer's biases, including the fact that the assessor is usually not a peer. In an SQ survey, the biases of far-out markers tend to cancel out, leaving a true impression of what peers think - a meaningful result that is not available with any other assessment method. The 360-type personnel assessment also uses multiple inputs, but the number of markers is lower, and the system can reveal who gave what marks (discouraging fully honest appraisals).

d. Virtually all teachers who have participated in the SQ process (see list) agree that SQ scores are more accurate overall than their own assessments of student social skills. From interviews, teachers report that their misperceptions fall into these categories:

1. Particularly in large classes, some teachers say they don't really know the out-of-class personalities of all students.

2. Teachers say they often have difficulty separating a student's social skills from his/her academic performance (the "halo" effect).

3. Quiet students who are behind-the-scenes leaders are hard for teachers to identify. Some non-flashy girls often get higher SQ marks from peers than from a teacher. Colleges and employers also have difficulty identifying these quiet but desirable students (see news article on UC Berkeley applicant).

e. Teachers considered skilled by their peers and principals tend to assess student social skills closer to class-generated SQ's than do less skilled teachers. This finding indicates the validity of SQ scores, because student recommendations from such respected teachers would carry extra weight. It also indicates that skilled teachers have high social intelligence (not necessarily high SQ). Two teachers recruited to Vallejo High School by the principal show a particularly high 0.65 average correlation between class SQ's and teacher assessment - a correlation much higher than the 0.48 between high school and college grades. Part-time teachers, teachers in a class outside their area of interest, and visitors giving first impressions show much lower correlations. The ability to understand the social dynamics in a classroom helped a substitute teacher get a full-time job, and, in reverse, helps validate the accuracy of SQ marks (confirming the principal Gross' high opinion of the new teacher). For an overview of this topic, see Sloan's analysis of what makes a great teacher.

f. The question asked in an SQ survey influences the validity of the results as a pure measure of social skills. A correlation of traits with SQ scores shows that IQ is important when a person considers what makes a desirable sales clerk. When the SQ question was "Whom would you want to be with at a lunch break?", IQ-type traits had much lower correlations, as predicted by professor Ceci of Cornell.

Go to: SQ research

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