I recently had the pleasure of facilitating a webinar sponsored with the Dyslexia Training Institute called “Assessment Boot Camp for Parents.” (You can still register for the webinar and listen in your own time by going to this link www.dyslexiatraininginstitute.org/Bootcamp-for-Parents.html.)
When I do testing one of my least favorite questions that I inevitably get is, “So what’s his/her IQ?”
In previous posts, I have tried to illustrate how the IQ can hold a child back from not receiving services he/she needs. The IQ and can also be subject to rampant misinterpretation.
For example, if I say to the parent or the school the child has an “IQ of 100,” what is formed is an immediate perception of the child being of average intelligence. That would seem to be a reasonable presumption since an IQ of 100 is smack in the middle of the average range, the 50th percentile.
The problem (among many problems) is that one could line up 100 kids or adults who each have the same exact score of 100, yet they’d all be different in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, their highs and lows. It would be hard to characterize them under the umbrella of “average intelligence.”
Take Thomas an 8 year old boy I tested recently. If you looked at his overall IQ score, it wasn’t all that impressive, somewhere in the high 80’s or low 90’s (about the 25th percentile).
However, when I asked Thomas a question from a math word problem task, the question asked said something about spending, such as “If you have $24 and spend half of it what will you have left.”
Thomas stopped me mid-way and said, “Well, I’m not a spender…I’m a saver.”
“What do you mean,” I asked.
“Well, whenever I get any kind of money I try and save change in a jar. I think I have almost $400.”
“Really? I’m very impressed, I complimented him.”
“Yep. I figure I’ll have a couple of thousand dollars by the time I’m 18. I’m just not a spender.”
It turns out that Thomas scored in the 90th percentile on this task and he was in a similar range on other tasks that involved fluid reasoning and nonverbal thinking.
Often, as in the case with Thomas, the IQ is rendered fairly meaningless because of the variability, the highs and lows of the profile.
Remember to go beyond the IQ score. It may not be telling you much.