What is IQ Testing?
Intelligence or IQ testing is a method used by Psychologists to measure a child’s intellectual capabilities in several specific domains. These domains include verbal comprehension, factual knowledge, abstract reasoning, visual-spatial abilities and short-term memory. Intellectual assessment is a good indication of a child’s academic potential. The results of an IQ test rank a child against a very large sample of children the same age. If a child scores in the top 5% for their age group it is reasonable to expect them to be performing within the top 5% academically.
The acronym ‘IQ’ means ‘Intelligence Quotient’. The term ‘Quotient’ reflects the mathematical formulae involved, which places the tested person on a scale relative to their age peers.
The Wechsler tests for children are the most common individually administered IQ tests. They currently include the WISC-IV (age 6-16 years), and the WPPSI-III (age 3 – 7 years). During the testing session a child is asked to solve problems and puzzles and to answer questions about the world. The majority of children enjoy the testing session as it is an engaging process involving novel and fun tasks.
Why have your child tested?
- Objective measure of intelligence – If a child’s teacher does not satisfactorily recognise their level of ability it may help to provide objective documentation of their learning capacity. A report is very useful to share with teachers, so that the parents’ opinion is not perceived as biased. A talented or gifted child may miss out on being identified unless an independent IQ test is administered.
- Access to educational options – Often IQ testing qualifies children for special educational programs that are only available to students with a demonstrated academic and/or IQ level in the superior range. Such educational options include enrichment, extension, acceleration, and mentor programs.
- Uncharacteristic behavioural/emotional issues – If a child is bored and under challenged in the classroom there may be a significant discrepancy between their ability level and the ability level of their class-room peers. A bored, gifted child may be showing their frustration by being disruptive in school, refusing to do homework, or displaying uncharacteristic behaviour or emotions. Often very bright children underachieve in order to fit in with their peers. It is helpful to identify giftedness as soon as possible so that a child’s environment can be adapted successfully to best fit their ability.
- Understanding your child’s preferred learning style – Many times parents simply want to understand more about their child’s abilities – their cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and preferred learning style (e.g., visual versus verbal learners).
- For children over 6 years: The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Forth Edition – Australian Standardisation (WISC-IV) is an individually administered instrument for assessing the cognitive ability of children aged 6 years to 16 years. The WISC-IV is one of the most reliable and valid IQ testing instruments available. It is the most widely used measure of IQ for school placement.
The WISC-IV provides scores that represent intellectual functioning in four specified cognitive domains: Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Processing Speed and Working Memory. The WISC-IV also provides a Full Scale IQ score measuring general intellectual ability.
- For children under 6 years: The Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-III) is an individually administered instrument for assessing the cognitive ability of children aged 2.5 years and 7 years. As with the WISC-IV, the WPPSI-II is one of the most reliable and valid IQ testing instruments available.
The WPSSI-III provides scores that represent intellectual functioning in four specified cognitive domains: Verbal IQ, Performance IQ, Processing Speed and General Language. The WPPSI-III also provides a Full Scale IQ score measuring general intellectual ability.
- Academic Test (all ages): The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-II) assesses academic achievement skills in children from the age of 4 years. Key subtests include spelling, word reading and numerical operations.
The first step in the evaluation process occurs when you initially speak with one of our Psychologists who will offer relevant information and provide you with an initial assessment form to complete. A time is then set to administer the test which takes on average 60-90 minutes in duration. After the testing session is completed a comprehensive written report is sent to parents outlining findings and recommendations based on the assessment.
A detailed report is generated which provides objective verification of a child’s needs and thoroughly outlines all the results in the test, highlighting test scores which indicate giftedness. Your report offers feedback in terms of personal advice and recommendations on how you can improve your child’s learning experience. Specific learning strategies are provided if relevant. The report is sent to parents within 5-10 days of the testing session.
What are the age ranges for IQ testing?
Children ages 3 years through to 16 years 11 months are appropriate for IQ testing.
How does an IQ test determine whether my child is gifted?
A child’s score on the various components of an IQ test reflects a performance level that we might expect from a child of a particular age. This test age or mental age (MA) may be beyond that of the child’s chronological age (CA), in which case the child’s ability level may be labelled as high average, superior, gifted or advanced or very superior, very gifted or highly advanced.
The average IQ is 100 and the average range is 90–109.. A child is considered gifted if their performance, relative to their chronological age peers, is in the top five, or three per cent of the population. These percentages reflect an IQ equivalent of approximately 125 or 130 respectively; therefore one child in an average sized class by this measure may be gifted.
To remain engaged in learning, students need to be learning at the edge of their ability, therefore the top 10 to 15 per cent of students in every class will need curriculum differentiation and extension to ensure they are appropriately challenged.
The higher the child’s mental or test age when compared to that child’s chronological age, the more gifted the child. Terms such as mildly or basically, moderately and profoundly gifted are often used to express the degree of variation between chronological and mental ages. Both the degree of giftedness and the type of giftedness or high ability of the child needs to be recognised to adequately devise appropriate and differentiated interventions.
Sam is 10 years of age and, on testing, can work at the level we would expect of a 13 year-old – three years above his current level. A good estimate of his general or intellectual ability would be 130 (MA/CA × 100; 13/10 × 100 = 130).
This is only an estimate and the level of potential has to be worked out carefully to ensure reliability. Sam might only be considered moderately gifted although his score would only be seen in about one child in 40.
Scarcity is the defining characteristic of exceptionally gifted children. As defined by IQ ranges, the levels of intellectual giftedness may be classified as:
|Qualitative description:||Moderately gifted||Highly gifted||Exceptionally gifted||Profoundly gifted|
|Incidence in the population:||1 child in 40 children to 1:1,000||1:1,000 to 1: 10,000||1:10,000 to 1: 1 million||Less than 1: 1 million|
|Incidence in the population:||1 child in 40 children to 1:1,000||1:1,000 to 1: 10,000||1:10,000 to 1: 1 million||1:10,000 to 1: 1 million|
How long does it take to do IQ testing?
Depending on the child’s age and abilities, testing can take 60-90 minutes in duration.