Intelligence: I.Q. Tests, What to know before you go

There are several widely known tests to measure intelligence. Some of the more common are:
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – for ages 6-16, provides scoring in verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – for children as young as 2 years old through adults, provides Verbal and Nonverbal scoring as well as fluid reasoning, knowledge, working memory, visual-spatial processing and quantitative reasoning
Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test – for ages 5-17, while the above 2 tests rely on language, including verbal instructions, this test does not. Instructions are given through gestures and modeling and children point to answers.
The Cognitive Assessment System – assess cognitive processes on 4 scales; attention, simultaneous, planning and successive

Nowadays, scoring is determined by comparing scores to those of similar age. A score of 100 is average. Most of these tests assume there is a g factor or general intelligence, however, knowing this is not as helpful to parents and educators as knowing the specific areas where children may struggle or excel. With this in mind and in keeping with Vygotsky’s theory on cognitive development, Dynamic Assessments are starting to be used. These tests focus on the child’s ability to learn, not just their actual knowledge today.

Some things to keep in mind regarding any of these tests:

  • Be sure the tester has sufficient training to properly administer the test and understand the scores.
  • Do not rely on a single score to evaluate a child.
  • Know that I.Q. tests do not assess equally important factors such as motivation, self-discipline or critical thinking.
  • Beware of cultural bias on tests.
  • Be sure scores will be used to enhance the child’s development and not just as a measure for grouping or statistical analysis.

For more on how to nurture your child’s intelligence look for my post Intelligence: How do we enhance intelligence?

Source: McDevitt, Teresa M. and Jeanne Ellis Ormrod. Child Development and Education. Pearson, 2016

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