What’s IQ Got to Do With It?

IQ. . . What is it?

IQ stands for intelligence quotient, and is a measure often used to determine whether a child is intellectually below average. It is written as a percentage, such as:

In other words, if a child is chronologically age eight, but functions at the intellectual age of a four year old, her IQ would be 4/8 = 50% = “50.” In most cases, a normal IQ is considered to be between the range of 90 – 110. And an IQ of 100 would be absolutely average for that child’s age. A child with an IQ between 70 and 80 is considered to be in the borderline zone for mental retardation. Less than 70 is a relatively accepted criteria for determining that a child has a permanent cognitive disability.

How is a child tested to determine his IQ?

The most commonly used test as of the writing of this blog is called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC). It samples ten areas of intelligence: Five of these are subscales which are averaged together to determine a Verbal IQ (VIQ). Five other subscales are averaged to form the Performance IQ (PIQ). When these two IQs are again averaged together, we are able to determine a Full Scale IQ. Memory, Perceptual, Verbal, and Processing speed scores are derived from 16 subtests which are given in the newest version of the WISC. And it has score ranges for children with special conditions such as autism or attention-deficit disorder.

Under what conditions should I allow my child to be tested?

If your child seems to be having significant difficulties in school, or is generally functioning at a much lower level than same-age peers, you may receive a formal request to have your child assessed to determine whether he or she is eligible for special education services. Although some parents are offended by the suggestion that their child may need an IQ test, my opinion is that if educators refer your child for an assessment, you should give your consent. Testing will not harm your child. And if your son or daughter has a cognitive disability or delay, wouldn’t you want to know about it? How can your child’s academic needs be properly addressed without adequate information about her level of intellectual functioning? You can always pursue a second opinion if you believe the results aren’t accurate.

My stepdaughter was referred for an assessment, much to my husband’s dismay. He finally consented to it, and after testing she was found to be an average student with no significant cognitive delays. The testing determined that it was her ADHD which was significantly interfering with her ability to focus on what she was being taught.

Why does it matter?

Many parents have differing views on whether IQ tests are appropriate, and understandably argue that there is no test that can, or should determine a child’s intellectual potential.

Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.