Intelligence Test at K-2 level
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I test students for giftedness using the
Frasier Talents Assessment Profile, a method that uses IQ as only one of
many measures to determine "giftedness". My district only let's us test
grades 3-5. For K-2 we use IQ as the dominant criteria. Many
diagnosticians claim K-2 is too early to test IQ. I have seen research
that contradicts this opinion, but cannot seem to find it. Could you
list some articles, scholarly or popular, that have definitive, research
based conclusions on the efficacy of IQ testing for K-2? Thank you.
I am assuming that a child at K-2 would be of 5 years of age. For any
formal evaluation on IQ, it is generally recommended that IQ testing for
gifted children be done between age 5 and 12. Beyond 12, even the
moderately gifted child is likely to encounter test ceiling effects. For
the highly or profoundly gifted child, ceiling effects are in place on
many measures which may begin as young as 8 (including the supplemental
Stanford-Binet L-M). Research shows that for the average child, IQ test
scores are reliable around age 8.
These days there are intelligence test specific to different age groups
which tests age appropriate abilities, hence there is no question of
suitability to the test for K-2 children provided a standardised test is
use. One such test is
The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) which
is an intelligence test designed for children ages 2 years 6 months to 7 years 3 months.
Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale (both the Fourth Edition and Form L-M) can be used
with children as young as 2 years, 0 months. This in itself is evidence
of testing young children as it has been highly researched.
You may also want to read the
article especially on
intelligence testing of infants using The Bayley Scales of Infant
Development (Bayley, 1969, 1993) and the Fagan Test of Infant
I personally believe that very young children need not be subjected to
such tests especially if it is only to have a mere score especially
those below five. Checklists are more suited for this purpose. Having
said that, if a child shows extremely high cognitive abilities or
confusing development, perhaps a test may be necessary to find out the
area that needs attention.
As a rule, testing very young children under age four is not usually
recommended unless there is a compelling reason. This is because it can
be rather challenging to test very young children (they may get hungry,
tired, have wet diapers, and sometimes react negatively to tested who
are viewed as strangers). Perhaps a parent may need to be present at all
times during the test. In addition, for ceiling effect in any test, more
and more questions may need to be asked which lengthens the test time –
something not very easy for young children as they may tire easily.
However, a very skilled tester may be able to engage the attention of
very young children skilfully but it is always better to test a
preschool gifted child just before kindergarten entrance, when the test
results are usually more reliable and the child is old enough to
cooperate fully in the testing situation.
For some readings, you may want to have a look at these:
Morelock, M. J., & Feldman, D. H. (1992).
The assessment of giftedness in preschool children.
In E. B. Nuttall, I. Romero, & J. Kalesnik (Eds.),
Assessing and screening preschoolers: Psychological and
educational dimensions (pp. 301-309).
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Osborn, J. (1998) Assessing gifted children. (This is a slightly
expanded version of an article that first appeared in Understanding Our
Gifted, Winter, 1998, p. 9 -12).