Digressions & Diatribes

by Kort E Patterson, Editor

New Area Coordinator

I'm pleased to announce that Diane Clayton has agreed to be the new Idaho Area Coordinator. She's already contacted the only other member in Idaho, and we'll be looking forward to Idaho becoming a new hotbed of Intertel activity. If you know of any qualified potential members in the Boise area, who have been waiting for some sign of local activity to join, now is the time to put them in contact with Diane, your RD, or the Intertel office. Diane's contact information can be found on page 2. It would serve Diane right if her efforts generated enough interest in Intertel to make her new position a real challenge.

We still have a lot of areas in need of an area coordinator to encourage and facilitate local events. If you're interested in stirring up a little trouble - or at least good times - in your area, please contact your Regional Director about becoming an Area Coordinator! (While your RD would consider it a great honor to be "influenced" by any number of different kinds of bribes from office seekers, the most effective path to this exalted and highly desirable office is to simply volunteer for the position!)

Test Scores

Mensa recently announced a decision that could have substantial impacts on the future composition, and even survival, of all Hi-IQ societies. How we respond today could well determine what kind of society Intertel will be tomorrow.

From a personal perspective, if this decision had been implemented back in 1990, I wouldn't be an Intertel member today. Like, I suspect, many people who take the Mensa tests, I didn't have a clue how well - or poorly - I'd score. I took them on a lark, primarily for the test scores. It was only after recovering from the shock of learning I qualified for Mensa, that I seriously considered applying for membership. I wasn't even aware of Intertel's existence until my Mensa test score encouraged me to consider previously unexpected opportunities. I would never have taken a pass/fail Mensa Membership Test since I didn't originally expect to "pass", and was only interested in a numerical score that would tell me which side of the 50th percentile I was on.

Mensa recently announced that it will no longer provide numerical scores to those who take their proctored tests. Test takers will only be informed if they qualified for Mensa or not (scored 98% or better). The official explanation is that Mensa's lawyers are concerned that Texas state laws could allow professional associations to file complaints about Mensa's nonprofessional use of IQ tests. No complaints have been filed to date.

Intertel accepts a number of tests in addition to those Mensa offers, but the list is getting shorter. Most importantly, there are few if any tests left on our list that are still available to the general public without the expense, and potential complications, of dealing with mental health professionals. I find it unlikely that prospective members will, in general, be willing to seek out a professionally administered test, and pay office fees in the hundreds of dollars, just to see if they qualify to join Intertel.

With recent versions of school based tests like the SAT becoming too politically manipulated to provide usable results, and now the elimination of the Mensa proctored tests, we're losing access to the curious, impulsive, "on a dare", and "couldn't get out of it" test takers. Having been a member of this group myself, I like to think that this "test population" is at least as promising a source of interesting new members, as those who seek out Intertel based on a "not yet tested" assumption they are exceptional, or those whose brain functions caused sufficient concern in the past for them to be professionally tested in a clinical setting. If we want to continue recruiting the kinds of new members who previously took the Mensa proctored test, we need to develop a new way to reach them.

Intertel's Constitution requires the use of "a supervised intelligence test". It's my understanding that, while we've tried to keep our testing criteria in sync with current professional standards, there isn't any specific test standard detailed in our governing documents.

Our new "testing problem" deserves careful consideration and vigorous debate by all members. Surely we can come up with a workable solution. The long term survival of Intertel depends on it.

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