Even though I am a psychologist who does a great deal of testing,  I find the overuse of the IQ adds to my GQ  (“Grumpiness Quotient”).

Why does the IQ score make me grumpy? 

  1. Children who are in need of service, often don’t receive it because of the Full Scale IQ.  Schools will often overplay the interaction of the IQ with overall achievement, with the result that many struggling children do not receive what they need.  Essentially, their “IQ” is not far enough away from achievement based on discrepancy models.
  2. IQ scores are misunderstood by many.  There still is the mistaken notion that each of carries around a score stamped on our brains summarizing our abilities.

The Full Scale IQ is an average.  Averages often don’t tell the story.  

Let’s say there are a number of houses on your street.   Four of them have yearly income around $50,000.  There is one family on the block who makes 1.5 million dollars.  What’s the average income for your street?  Even my poor math skills tells me that you will feel misrepresented by stating the “average” income for the street.

Well, the same is often true of IQ.  IQ is an averaging index.  Each child’s profile is an array of highs and lows that combine to generate an IQ score.  There could be literally 100 children each with an exact IQ score of 100, yet each would show a very different profile of strengths and weaknesses – highs and lows.

Mind you, the WISC-IV (one of the major test that psychologists use in assessing children) is a wonderful test that yields very rich information, the least of which being the Full Scale IQ.

Overplaying the IQ and not understanding or focusing on the different areas being assessed and their implication for learning, is a huge mistake too often made.

tags:  Assessing learning disabilties; Intelligence Testing, Cognitive Testing.