Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, has developed a theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI), which asserts that all people possess several types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial, and naturalist. He is currently reviewing a ninth intelligence: existential intelligence. Most classroom educators focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, which, according to Dr. Gardner, leaves students gifted in other areas out of the teaching equation. IQ testing as a measure of intelligence is very limited when compared to MI theory.
MI theory expands the ways educators reach students. For example, economics students studying the law of supply and demand might read about supply and demand (linguistic), study mathematical formulas (logical-mathematical), examine a graphic chart (spatial), observe the law in the natural world (naturalist) or in the world of commerce (interpersonal), or examine the law personally (when you supply your body with lots of food, the hunger demand goes down, etc.).
While hundreds of schools around the country have adopted MI teaching practices, thousands continue to educate students using the traditional logical-mathematical and linguistic methods. Project SUMIT (Project on Schools Using Multiple Intelligences Theory) investigated schools using Dr. Gardner's theory of MI. Among the schools observed by SUMIT staff, MI contributed to improved test scores, discipline, parent participation, and success for students with learning disabilities.