What is IQ?
An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measure of general intelligence, or cognitive ability. An IQ score is derived from a series of tests assessing various aspects of intelligence, such as the ability to reason with new and previously learnt information, skills in concentration and understanding visual spatial relationships, and speed of information processing. IQ scores are standardised, which means that a sample of participants is used in order to establish a baseline distribution of scores throughout the wider population (known as a normative distribution). As such, the range of IQ scores across the population forms a “bell curve”. If a child were to achieve an IQ score of 100, this would indicate that their performance was at the median level, when compared to children of the same age in the sample group of participants. According to the bell curve distribution, approximately 50% of the population has an IQ score between 90 and 110, while approximately 82% of the population possesses an IQ of between 80 and 120.
What is intellectual giftedness?
Intellectual giftedness is a term used to describe those with an IQ score above 130, placed within the top 2% of the population. More broadly, giftedness can be defined as a natural aptitude or ability in any area, beyond what would be typically expected. Giftedness represents the potential for a child to develop capacities for high-level performance and achievement, especially when given the right support.
Is my child gifted?
Early indicators that a child may be gifted are:
- Strong intellectual curiosity
- Abstract thinking “outside the box”
- Excellent memory
- Strong motivation to learn
- Robust capacity to focus, and intense concentration on tasks of interest
- Early development of language and a large vocabulary when older
- Deep, intense feelings and reactions
- Idealism and sense of justice at early age
- Often preoccupied with own thoughts
- Learns basic skills quickly and with little practice
- A keen or unusual sense of humour
- Vivid imagination.
Testing for intellectual giftedness requires specialised expertise to look beyond IQ scores and discover the meanings around exceptional performance for each individual child. At Brainbox Psychology Clinic, we love uncovering the remarkable potential within each child we meet. Our goal is to identify gifts beyond those that are immediately apparent in the classroom.
IQ tests for children
To be considered for inclusion in acceleration or enrichment programs, many schools and their associated governing agencies require a psycho-educational evaluation to be completed by a Registered Psychologist. In Australia, the most commonly used IQ tests completed by Psychologists for children are the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V), the Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV), and Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SB5). Our article “Intellectual assessments: Wechsler or Stanford-Binet?” provides a comparison of the features of these IQ tests.
A functional assessment, also referred to as an educational assessment, can also be beneficial for intellectually gifted children. This involves the child completing activities that measure performance in areas such as reading, spelling, written expression, and mathematics. These tests of achievement can provide information about areas of strength and weakness, in relation to both the child’s peers, and their own intellectual potential. This can be helpful in identifying areas for development or enhancement.
Our testing for intellectual giftedness uses a cross-battery assessment approach. This means that we tailor our assessment tools to measure unique characteristics specific for each child. This approach is particularly useful in identifying the needs of intellectually advanced children, including those who are “twice exceptional” – possessing both gifts and difficulties that may be undetected at school.
Gifted and talented education
We advocate early identification and encourage families to consider assessment in their child’s early primary school years. For parents, gaining deep insight into their child’s amazing capabilities allows for meaningful intervention focused on building strengths and specific development needs, including the opportunity to develop the robust emotional health which is so important for intellectually advanced children.