Interpretation of IQ Scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My nephew has recently been tested and placed into the
second-grade gifted program at his school. My sister has
asked me to help her interpret the scores he was assigned on
the various test he was given. I can't. I am a high school
chemistry teacher, and I am no slouch. I cannot find any
standard reference data online. I cannot help her. Can you?
His scores are as follows:
1. Ravens Progressive Matrices - >95%
2. Gifted Rating Scale - Creativity 93%
3. PIAT-R - Total Reading 129/97%
4. Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised - Fluid
Reasoning 129, Brief IQ 137, Full IQ 143.
Obviously I gather that he is quite gifted, but how gifted?
We are just attempting to enrich his education, and we'd
like to know in layman's terms how gifted is he?
Just one more question? He has also been tested for ADD and
been given medication for it. Is it common for gifted
children to be diagnosed ADD? I am asking because I suspect
he has just been bored in class up to now. He was diagnosed
with ADD in Kindergarten. Thank you so much.
A: The Raven Standard
Progressive Matrices (SPM) was designed to measure a
person's ability to form perceptual relations and to reason
by analogy independent of language and formal schooling, and
may be used with persons ranging in age from 6 years to
adult. It is indeed a test of intellectual capacity, of
general mental ability. A cut-off score of at least 95th
percentile is usually used for acceptance into gifted
programs. It has been suggested that for Raven's, a score
at the 97th percentile would probably warrant an
out-of-level supplementary test to differentiate the range
of gifted students.
The Leiter-R, another nonverbal test is used to special
children which includes the gifted, and is especially
suitable for children and adolescents who are cognitively
delayed, disadvantaged, nonverbal or non-English speaking,
speech or hearing impaired, motor impaired, ADHD, autistic,
or suffering from traumatic brain injury. Results of at
least 2 standard deviation above the mean would place a
student in the superior range of cognitive ability. Based on
his full IQ score, it appears that he is in the superior
range. You may want to see the full scores that provide the
complete profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
These include 20 subtests and numerous composites that
measure both general intelligence and discrete ability
areas. Scores are provided for each subtest and skill area,
which helps in identifying areas of strengths and
Unfortunately I am not very familiar with the specific
interpretation of the other tests but it does appear that he
is in the higher range of giftedness. In most cases, a
standard deviation of two and above (an IQ of about 130)
would place a child in the superior cognitive ability range
and is usually required for entrance into gifted programs.
If possible, consult the school for interpretation of each
of the full scores or seek help from a private educational
psychologist for more help in enriching and catering for his
specific educational needs.
On association between having ADD and being gifted, there is
no evidence that a child with ADD is any more or less gifted
than her/his non-ADD counterpart. With medication, children
with ADD are usually able to focus just as well as others.
Hope the above has been helpful. Best of luck.