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Difference in IQ level

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My step-daughter could not talk until she was three years old. Her development was very slow and she was not able to read when she was in the first grade the first time. We had her repeat the first grade and had her retested. The test the school first gave her indicated there was not a learning problem. We asked them to retest her and the results showed that her IQ was below 70.

When she was in the fourth grade her IQ was 68. She is now in the 7th grade and the school just told us that her IQ is 77. Is this possible? She has a difficult time and still is not working on grade level. Please advise us what to do or what test they can give her? 

A: Unfortunately, you did not indicate the tests used to determine her IQ. However, on a standardized IQ test, it is possible for the IQ to vary a little (just a few points usually if given the same test in a two-year gap period) but drastic changes may be a different problem entirely and can be due to many factors, usually health related. Of course, different IQ tests may likely produce different results, especially if the tests are not standardized or normalized.

What you need to do is to make sure the test administer is a standardized test and that it is being interpreted by a qualified and experienced tester. She may well have a learning problem which has not been attended to. If the school is not able to help, get a recommendation to see an educational psychologist who is able to give her an appropriate test (perhaps even a diagnostic test) to determine the kind of treatment required. 


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