Discrepancy in Achievement and IQ scores on the Terra Nova
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son is 9 years old and has taken the Terra Nova, he scored in the 99
percentile across the board except for a 35 in word analysis. His IQ
portion came back with a 110 total score with the verbal scores all
being in the high 90's percentiles .... but his math side being very average
80's.... my question is, why the discrepancy in the achievement vs IQ
and would you interpret high scores on the non math portion of the
abilities test evidence of high functioning in just one area? Should
this be nurtured?
The Terra Nova is a standardised achievement test used to provide
consistent, accurate, and objective information about students'
achievement in various areas of the curriculum. In the administration of
the test, individual or group scores may be compared with a criterion or
with the scores of other students in the class, school, district, or
national norm group. Test results can also be compared over time
intervals, which is one indication of growth for an individual or group
of students. The Terra Nova tests compare students with others in their
grades around the nation. These tests determine strengths and weaknesses
of a student and thus enable the school to provide academic
Please note that although the Terra Nova tests includes a component that
acts like an IQ test. but are not IQ tests. This component measures the
students' ability to use information and apply it to new and different
situations (basically they measure achievement in answering questions
correctly). It also gauges how a student analyses and employs
higher-level thinking skills. On the other hand, most IQ tests measure
aptitude in critical thinking and other skills. Therefore, the IQ score
does not necessarily reflect your child's IQ.
The discrepancy that you mentioned is not very large and perhaps only
indicates strengths in certain areas more than others rather than a
weakness. High scores surely indicate areas of strength that can be
nurtured further whereas low scores indicate a problem with the child's
understanding in a certain area. Bear in mind that both high and
average/lower scores are indication of the child's abilities and should
be given attention accordingly.
Do also compare your son's Terra Nova test scores to his overall school
performance. If you feel that there are discrepancies in the scores, his
teachers may be the best people to explain this in relation to his
school grades. Wishing you all the best!.