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IQ Test: Missing out on Educational Needs

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 8 year old son excels in math and learning in general. My other two sons are gifted, so the school's gifted teacher suggested that I have him tested as well. He scored 116 on his WISC III IQ test. He is a third grader and currently able to do fifth grade math.

The gifted services teacher feels he is gifted and pulled him out last year, but the district won't let her do that this year because his scores did not qualify. When he took the Terra Nova, he scored 99 on Reading & Language and 82 in math, his best subject. He scored off the chart in math using the district measured aptitude test.

He had a language delay as a small child through kindergarten. Is it possible that he has difficulty with the standardized IQ test? Are there IQ tests that test differently and might show his giftedness with a different kind of test. All of the teachers and adults in his life find him gifted, I hate that he is missing gifted services due to an inability to score well on one type of test.

A: It's indeed a shame that he is not able to benefit the educational program for gifted children. As a parent, it is probably right to assume that he could be gifted, especially when he had gifted siblings. However, children show gifts in different areas and some are not seen as gifted in a standard educational system.

His ability to do Math at fifth grade level indicates above average ability in the mathematical component. For this, perhaps some kind of enrichment should be offered to him in school. If this has not been done, you may want to speak to the school about it. Unfortunately, the district has set rules and your son's score does not fall into the required category to allow him the services. The difference in scores on different tests is quite strange. Did you try asking him if he found anything particularly difficult? It may not be possible that a language delay may have caused difficulty since his score on Reading and Language is very high.

There are many IQ tests and to determine the best one to suit his needs would require you to see a child psychologist to rule out other problems and refer you to an experienced educational psychologist. This process will be costly, though. You may want to meet up with the educational authorities at the District level and bring up your concerns. Although there are cut-off points for gifted programs, some children may be admitted based on a case to case basis if the evidence to superior intelligence is evident. They may also advise you on what other tests are accepted as there is little point in taking tests that are not accredited by the said authorities. You could also get the gifted service teacher to write a strong recommendation letter.

For the time being, enrich him further in his interest areas as much as possible to keep him developing further. He would need more challenging work in Math and if the school is not enriching him enough, you may need to step in. Parents usually know best, so if you strongly believe that he is gifted, he must be and if no one is listening, you would need to take the initiative to plan his educational journey outside of school hours. Here's wishing you all the best.


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