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Different Types of Intelligence Testing

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have questions about the TONI -3 assessment. What areas are being tested in TONI-3. How is different form Binet or Welchler assessment mode? My son is 4 years 2 months old and was assessed by teacher using TONI-3. His score obtained was 122 and teacher claimed he is gifted.

I would like to find out if the score is reliable. How should I handle a child like him? He is highly curious and tends not to accept things as it is. He will explore and dismantle things or do things which I find it hard to comprehend. He feels very frustrated in class and refuses to do written work in class. He refuses to comply at times and may hit other children. Please kindly advise us. Your attention and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you and have a great day!

A: It is quite surprising that your son is tested at 4 years as this test is meant for 6 years onwards. In fact, this test is used for children aged 6 or older when there are speech or language problems or when English is not the child's native language.

All the tests mentioned are IQ tests that can help individuals to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. To compare one test to another is quite hard as they have their strengths and limitations and are meant for certain groups. For instance, rather then using the TONI-3 (Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, Third Edition), the WISC and the Stanford-Binet (SB) are better indicators for use in gifted program placements.

I personally feel that it may not be very inappropriate to use a TONI nonverbal reasoning score as an indicator of intelligence since the full scale IQ score derived from a more comprehensive battery such as the Wechsler or SB may be more suitable. In the area of psychological testing, the Wechsler scales are considered the "gold standard" or "benchmark" in intellectual assessment, with SB used for a higher ceiling of scores. In comparison, The TONI is merely a nonverbal screening tool that dos not take very long to administer. On the other hand, the WISC (for example) is comprised of a comprehensive intellectual battery requiring approximately one hour of test administration and a higher level of testing experience to administer and interpret scores accurately.

Scores are usually valid as the scoring is pretty standard using a manual. Additionally if tested by someone who if familiar with the test, interpretation would be more reliable.

Your son has high levels of energy and needs stimulation constantly. From your description, appears very bright and needs to channel her curiosity and energy more effectively - he needs to do something meaningful rather than just task that may not feed his needs. You may need to observe his likes and dislikes and for now, allow him to explore his interests further. There are many activities that you may to try to stimulate his mind and keep him busy at the same time. Please go through the previous letters for some ideas on this.

In addition, to make sense of IQ testing, you may want to visit this very interesting and informative website: Today's Parent and  TONI-3. Best of luck and have a great parenting journey!


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