Theses Bachelor's

The Adolescent Concept of Intelligence and Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Osterhaus, Sheila

This study examined sixth- and eleventh-grade students' definitions of intelligence as well as the relationship between their grades in school and their strengths in terms of Gardner's eight multiple intelligences. The experimenter hypothesized that sixth grade students would agree with the dictionary definition of intelligence less than eleventh grade students and that the logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences would be most important to a student's success in school. A 39-question survey was given to 52 participants: 13 females and 16 males from the sixth grade at Booker T. Washington Junior High School in New York, NY; and 10 females and 13 males from the eleventh grade at Bronx School of Law and Finance in Bronx, NY. The results indicated that sixth grade students agreed with the dictionary definition of intelligence less than did eleventh grade students, and differences in scores for each of the eight multiple intelligences could be seen based on grades in different subjects although these differences were not statistically significant. These data suggest that both logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences are important in students' academic performance, but are not the only important intelligences needed for good performance in a given school subject.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology (Barnard College)
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
May 16, 2011


Supplemental figures are available at A survey instrument used in this project is available at