What can you all tell me about IQ testing?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by agee, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. agee

    agee Guest

    Yesterday I had the results from difficult child's neuropsychologist testing. It was very interesting. Basically, difficult child has a pretty low IQ, which is not what I expected to hear. I'd always figured that his struggles in school and home were mostly related to behavior, but it was because he was high intelligence that he is able to function so well (relatively) despite his behavioral concerns. But according to the psychologist he actually has a borderline IQ of 77. We went through all the different areas of testing and she gave me a report as well.
    What do you all know about IQ? She said it was fairly fixed, although somewhat impacted by his lack of attention span. Have any of your kids been tested ...then restested and it's improved?
    What about memory? She said this is something that can be improved and told me about an extremely expensive computer program. Any thoughts on this?
    I guess I don't want him to have low IQ, although it certainly explains a lot.
    It also probably makes us ineligible for an IEP, because according if he's anywhere near grade level then he's performing way above his capacity.
    I guess I'm looking for thoughts, reactions, etc.
    Oh - and by the way - things are better around here than they were a few months back. Depakote is helping a lot. difficult child is also growing up a little. I am way more calm. I don't expect you all to remember me but I was wigging out in December and January. Bad times for us. Better times now.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't understand it- that's all I can tell you! My son's have not been consistent over the years on a few different ones but always average out to "average" so no one has worried about it. However, he can score extremely high on standardized tests at school. So if some IQ tests show him as Low Average IQ, how can that happen?
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Testing is not always reliable. There are LOTS of stories of kids who were thought to be extremely low IQ who had some problem that interfered with the testing. There are also ways testing is done that can influence the results. The overall IQ is based on results from questions that cover a range of areas. Someone who is impaired in their ability to do math but is a whiz in language might have subset scores that are off the charts high in language areas and bottom of the chart in math areas. Their overall score might well be average.

    I have found that the subset scores tell more than the overall. The spread, or difference between the subset scores is also telling.

    Part of it depends on if your child wanted to do the testing. I have a cousin who decided it was nobody's business how smart she was. On a set of tests in high school (might have been the SAT's, knowing her) she got every single question wrong. On purpose. This was caught and they actually gave her a very high score because you must know which is right to know which is wrong. She also was forced to retake it and do it right.) My own son had one IQ test that came out to be about 55 or 60, Very low, esp for him. Previous scores were much much higher. A different doctor put him through a battery of tests and said that his NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and ADHD and dysgraphia all contributed to that score. After he was medicated for the ADHD fairly successfully his scores skyrocketed. They went up again as we worked on the NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and testing strategies.

    I myself increased my SAT scores by about 20 points just by studying from a test guide and studying how to take test. This isn't and IQ test, but it is standardized and the same effect could have happened on an IQ test. Heck, my own brother ranked very very high on his ACT scores - the second time. The first time he was still a little drunk from the night before, did NOT want to take the test, and was very angry with my parents for making him get up to take the test. He came out with a score that implied he would lose a spelling test to a rutabaga. :hangover::slap:

    Also, what was the testing room like? Was it noisy and he works best in a quiet room? Does he need a little noise to think and it was a silent room? Was it too hot or cold? Was the tester wearing a perfume that bothered him or making noises or chewing gum or ......? All of those can influence his scores.

    Did he truly UNDERSTAND the testing instructions and the questions? Can he read instructions and follow them or does he need someone to read them out loud to tell him what to do? This can be an issue.

    I would ask for all subset scores, review how his day was going before the test (was he hungry, tired, bored, irritated, defiant, etc...) and ask them to explain why his previous tests did not show this. If you have real doubts, ask them to retest him or take him elsewhere to retake it.

    I hope this helps and doesn't confuse you more. ;)
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    agee...dont think we dont remember you, I remember you well.

    I will tell you that IQ testing at 7 isnt set in stone. It does give you a road map of where he is right now. I would like to see his subset scores for the areas in the IQ tests. Those really show the whole picture. It also doesnt keep him out of an IEP. I believe 77 is borderline so that should get him some very needed services at school.

    As far as what Klmno said about kids who test average in the IQ tests which is 100 +/- a few points, they can be gifted standardized test takers. All my kids, and me, can take any standardized test and ace them. No problem. Used to tick off teachers no end...lol.

    I will tell you this. Cory took an IQ test when he was 4. He came out of that test with a score that would have given him a pre-verbal IQ score but they couldnt mark the test as accurate because he was clearly verbal he just was so defiant he wouldnt take the test. The tester was flummoxed. She came out saying...I should mark this test as pre-verbal but he is telling me very clearly..."I am NOT going to do it!"...LOL.
  5. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    At age 6 my son was tested and scored just under 80. I was told average is around 100. I just did not agree with it because he was so intelligent. I believed he had a learning disability. The school did agree to provide him with "services" but did not specify what the services would be. I hired a private academic therapist to work with him on reading skills. Three years later they re-tested him and his IQ score was 120. The school told me this was unusual as a student usually keeps the same IQ throughout their life, and that the original score was probably not correct. (well I knew that all along!).

    So Yes the standardized testing can be way off if the child has a learning disability or a really bad day. Although it is hard to get the school to believe that. I would value your opinion more then the report. You work with him every day. You know what he can do. Is he smart? Can he solve problems? If you have observed a smart kid keep pushing back. Have him retested when he is a little older and don't use the current test to determine how you treat him.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  6. agee

    agee Guest

    This is all super helpful.
    The testing was probably done under ideal circumstances. First, it was done privately - not by school - and in a quiet, calm setting with a psychologist who I know he trusted and felt comfortable with because of his answers to some other questions. He wasn't reluctant to do it and I even left a little treat for her to give him about half-way through to keep him motivated. He has always liked one-on-one activities like that, even when they're academic.

    Here are his subset scores:
    FSIQ: 77
    verbal: 77
    nonverbal: 86
    Working memory: 88
    Processing: 78
    Basic reading: 88
    Reading comprehension: 78
    Math calc: 68
    Math reasoning: 80
    Written expression: 71
    Visual Memory: 85
    Verbal: 82
    She also said the evaluation. for Executive functioning showed extremely poor development in that area (ya think?)

    Anyhoo, what I wanted to hear from you is that these things CAN change and it's not set in stone. Which is what you told me! Thanks! And I'm especially heartened that it doesn't negate an IEP.
    I am going to duke it out with his current school for another year and if things don't get better there we will look into other options.
    You all are THE BEST!
  7. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    My difficult child is 17, she was just re-evaluated. Her score 85. She is actually doing very well in school. So go figure!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Some kids with disabilities, particularly if they are on the autism spectrum, don't test well and it doesn't mean anything about their ability. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), by the way, means he falls into the autism spectrum. My son's actual diagnosis when we first tested him was Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (pervasive developmental disability not otherwise specified). He has been upped to high functioning autism or Aspergers (they're not sure and I don't care. The label gets him the help he needs).

    My son consistently tested 75 in school. Then he went to a neuropsychologist at 11 and tested at 110. Now he is sixteen, doing great, always on the honor roll is pretty much mainstreamed and, although he has differences, is doing MUCH better than I ever dreamed. I personally don't trust IQ tests for "differently wired" children. However, I think you should get some help for him at school. If my son hadn't had a lot of intervention, he would not be where he is today. Good luck :)
  9. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    we had my son tested at age 11. The "quick" IQ score showed some real inconsistancies, so instead had multi-functional education testing done (the papers are at work, and it's been so long ago, I don't remember all the tests he did).

    His ADD really brought down some of the scores (processing and short term memory), but some of his scores were so high it was equally scary.

    What the testing group finally decided was he was at least 130, probably much, much higher, but his ADD wouldn't allow a full score. That was good enough for what we needed, and I never pushed for more.

    If we had put him on medication (his bio-dad refused) we would have tested him again to see if the medications made a difference.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    IQ tests were originally developed by getting a bunch of kids who were all in a mainstream school setting, sitting these kids down and giving them some tests. The scores were then charted and analysed, and a scoring system worked out so that the mid-range of the spread of results was arbitrarily given a rating of 100.

    The thing is, the kids tested would not have included kids with Downs Syndrome, kids with other chromosomal defects, kids who didn't speak the same language, kids who had significant disabilities (physical as well as intellectual). It would not have included kids with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to any great degree.

    And yet now - they try to adapt this testing system so they can get some sort of meaningful result? Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

    It is a GUIDE. That is all. The sub-scores are the most helpful as Susie said, because they can point to areas where the child needs more help.

    Yep. That is often a reason for a child scoring a lot lower than he/she should. The testing is simply not designed to assess a kid who is either distracted, or in other ways not fully motivated to do the best they can.

    Both my boys "failed" their first IQ tests. They have since tested as having IQs ranging from 120 to 140.

    IQ is supposed to be fixed and unchangeable. The fact that so many of us have experienced the opposite, only shows up flaws in the whole testing process.

    If you believe your son to have an above average IQ, then use this as your working hypothesis. I'm not kidding - even if you are wrong, this is your best chance to hep him do better, by believing he can. And if you are right... how bad would it be to actually be quite intelligent, but constantly be told you are intellectually below par and to have opportunities withheld, because nobody believes you are capable?

    Susan Boyle is in the news here at the moment; they keep mentioning her mention in interviews that she had a mild intellectual disability. Well, I see no sign of it in her wit, her charm, her interactions when interviewed. But if she had dyslexia or some other learning problem, and her mother was told when she was younger (based on IQ testing - Britain and Australia tested kids exhaustively, in those days) then for all her life, her choices were made based on expectations set up by what I believe to be over-rated and often inaccurate testing procedures which need to be modified and adapted for kids who are outside that normal range for whatever reason.

    It is too easy for clinical psychologists who do the testing (and not all of them; some have their heads screwed on right) to blindly test and not THINK about the person they're assessing. There can be many reasons for a test subject to do poorly, that are NOT related to actually lower intelligence level.

    So have hope, have faith and use the stats to help your child.

    I would also be wary of the expensive program - ask around, there is bound to be a much cheaper alternative. Does the psychologist have a financial interest in that program in any way?

  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My daughter does not test well, so standardized tests are rarely indicative of her abilities. One year, I think she made a Christmas tree out of the little marks. I got a phone call about that one. I was completely amazed she managed to pass the high school exit exam. Guess the motivation of graduating helped her maintain focus.

    She's taken and retaken the placement exams at community college. Still comes out at the bottom. I haven't bothered to have her IQ tested, mainly because I suspect she won't test well, then will use the score as "proof she's dumb."
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Many people attach a LOT of importance to IQ around here. i know moms who brag about it, and a few who actually try to teach their children to get higher scores. They are quite competitive with each other as to who's child is highest and what area he is highest in. I have seen their middle school age kids roll their eyes.

    IQ and other standardized tests do provide info that can be useful. It does NOT predict sucess in later life, or even how well the child will do in school.

    Years ago I was on a committee to revamp the way gifted kids were identified in the school district we lived in. One of the things I learned while doing research is that teachers are usually NOT the best predictor of "giftedness" of students. Among grade school kids the best predictors are kids. If you ask the kids who the smartest kids in the class are, they will be right over 85% of the time. Parents asked the same question about a child's class will be right about 70-75% of the time. Teachers, esp by the time kids are in 3rd grade, are right less than half the time.

    Teachers tend to identify the child who sits in her desk, pays attention, follows all the instructions, maybe helps other students, and gets wonderful grades. This child may be gifted but the behaviors the teacher is using to evaluate that are NOT indicators of high IQ. It is the child who does NOT pay attention because he is bored, gets into all sorts of trouble no one ever thought existed, and who does NOT get grades because he does not finish the work or even doesn't do the work who is more often of high IQ.

    Kids understand that the misbehaving child is bored and wants to see something interesting. teachers, and often parents, see those behaviors as a problem and they see being gifted as being a good thing, so a problem child is often not identified as being gifted.

    I fought to get more interesting and challenging work for Wiz for many years. Worksheets are generally designed with easy questions at the top and harder ones at the end, esp in math. If Wiz could do the bottom row of problems easily and with-o istakes, why can he not do a different lesson, move ahead on his own? Their ever so logical, reasoned and intelligent(not!) answer: If we gave him the next grade up's work, what will we give him to do next year?

    I actually had 3 different people, at different times tell me this. With a straight face. His teacher (taught Wiz in a combined 2nd-3rd gr class, Wiz was NOT allowed to do 3rd gr work though.) said it, her mentor teacher said it, and even the PRINCIPAL said it.

    I offered to drive to the other elem school daily to pick up work for him. (this school was k-3 only).

    They really were not amused by this. They were seriously worried about it. If they let him do fourth grade work in third grade, then what would he do during fourth grade? Even the superintendent thought it was a real problem.

    We homeschooled the next few years until we moved out of the district.

    Use the info to help you guide services to address what he needs help with. Ignore any inferences or statements that it means your son cannot do things. Let it help you to get supports, cause if he scores low then SURELY he really NEEDS the help of IEP supports, right?

    Executive Function problems can alone cause very very low scores on IQ tests, by the way.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We bought a package of computer software when difficult child 3 first left mainstream and I didn't know if I would have Occupational Therapist (OT) home-school him, because the school district was trying to block our access to correspondence. And in that package was a freebie program, "Learn to Raise Your IQ" or similar. It's basically an IQ test (a very simple one) that is multiple choice. It also records your details (name, age etc) as well as how many times you've taken the test. Once you've completed the test, it graphs your progress against past tests.

    I found I got a few questions wrong the first time - it asks 100 questions and tells you if you get it wrong. But it must only have a bank of about 150 to 200 questions, because when I repeated the test, I found the same questions coming up. Ones that I remembered getting wrong before, I had a better chance of getting right next time because I knew to not pick the same answer again, if I got it wrong last time. I think by the third time (after we'd had it for about 2 weeks) I scored a perfect 200.

    It's currently gathering dust somewhere... it shows a number of things wrong with IQ testing. First, the software was US-based which means there are cultural differences - questions like, "What is the first day of spring?" will have a different answer in Australia. Second, it shows the serious problems with over-testing and over-familiarisation with test material.

    I know I don't have an IQ of 200, no matter what my computer tells me!

  14. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    Marg, I like your test....can I borrow it ;)