Child Testing – IQ and Intelligence Testing
Intelligence testing of very young children can sometimes be problematic because young people develop so rapidly.
However, there are many benefits for psychological assessment and often the more information and the early the information is gathered, the more tailored the intervention programs can be.
Assessment is a way of gaining some understanding of a child in order to make informed and appropriate decisions.
Why should a child be tested?
- To screen for any cognitive deficits.
- To assess for eligibility for funding.
- To understand a child’s learning profile or preferred learning style.
- To assess for learning disorders (such as reading, mathematics or writing disorders, including dyslexia).
- To provide intervention programs for children with specialised needs.
- To assess gifted children in order to provide appropriate and stimulating learning environments.
- To test for school readiness.
- To gain early access to school or to remain in kinder another year.
- To identify developmental delays and provide appropriate interventions for psycho educational disorders or problems as early in a child’s life as possible.
- To understand uncharacteristic behaviours and/ or emotional issues that are presenting at either home or school.
What is IQ?
IQ stands for Intelligent Quotient. It is an indication of a person’s intelligence as indicated by an intelligence test. There are a variety of IQ tests available. However, not all are reliable and valid.
Test Reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. For example an IQ test should be consistent with itself and across time.
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure. The Wechsler tests (which include both the WISC-IV and the WPPSI-III have strong reliability and validity).
What are the best IQ or Intelligence Tests for Children?
The Wechsler tests are the most common individually administered IQ or intelligence tests, especially for children. These tests are expensive to purchase and requires a fully qualified psychologist to conduct the assessment. (In Australia – the current requirement is 6 years of university training to become a psychologist). The best two tests to assess children are:
- The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-IV Australian). Ages: 6 to 16 years, 11 months.
- Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence – Third Edition (WPPSI-III Australian). Ages 2 years, 6 months to 7 years, three months.
How scores are reported
Psychologists write a report after an assessment of a child.
The scores show how well a child performed compared to a group of children the same age from across Australia. The highest possible score is 160 and the lowest possible score is 40 for most skills tested. Half of all children will score less than 100, and half of all children will score more than 100. Scores from 90 to 109 are average.
A percentile rank is also given. This shows your child’s rank in the national comparison group. If the percentile rank were 45, for example, it would mean that she scored higher than approximately 45 out of 100 children her age.
When reviewing a child’s scores, remember that no test is perfectly accurate. Any child might score slightly higher or lower if tested again on a different day. Most psychologists will include a normal distribution graph, such as the one below.
The orange section is where most children will score on each subtest (this is the average range). Gifted children fall within the yellow right hand section and those with disabilities will fall within the yellow left hand section of the graph.