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Percentile Score on Tests

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 9 year-old son was recently tested for his school's GT program. We were given the results of his tests, but do not understand the results, (as school will not be in session for 8 weeks, we are hoping to clarify sooner rather than later.)

1. Torrance Figural B Adaptation: 75% (75% needed)

2. Frank Williams Divergent Thinking Test: 84/84 (80 needed)

3. LISD (school district) Web Divergent Thinking Test: 55% (75% needed)

4. Matrix Analogies Test: 63% (90% needed)

5. General Intellectual Scale: 91/108

6. High Creative Thinking: "preponderance"

7. Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test: 94%ile

8. Slosson Intelligence Test: 94%ile

9. Raven Progressive Matrices: 75%ile

10. Peabody: 98%ile

Do any of these tests show his "IQ" score? If so, how did he score? He was accepted into the GT program on a monitored status for the first year. If he does well and is not frustrated, the monitored status will be dropped.

We very much want our son to receive enrichment of all types. He has been bored in school until recently, when we moved to a "better" school district. Already, after 3 weeks of the above testing, we are seeing a marked improvement in not only his school work, but his attitude about school. (yea!) Our questions: 1. What do the above tests reflect/ mean? 2. What is his "IQ"? 3. What can we work on to help him? Thank you for any help/ input!

A: I am familiar with all the tests but may be able to give you an idea based on the percentile. Firstly, not all tests are intelligence tests. The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test is more a screening test which gauges a child's performance and is suitable for schools since it is a group aptitude test. If the subtests in the test do not screen the child's strongest areas, then there is a possibility for the score to be different from the child's score on a comprehensive assessment (non-brief versions). Such tests measure verbal reasoning more accurately than non-verbal reasoning.

The Slosson and Peabody tests are intelligence test that can be administered by teachers in the classroom. They test reasoning ability for school-type learning but are less comprehensive that an independent intelligence test with lower ceilings. The Ravens is a non-verbal assessment, and highly visual/spatial - which means it penalizes a highly verbal child who may not have comparable strengths in the visual/spatial domain (e.g., non-English speaking or minority students). However, it was found that the figural reasoning tests have been proven to be culturally biased not sufficient to identify high ability students; hence missing many students, and identifying students that may not fit in.

I am not familiar with the General Intellectual Scale and most of the other tests apart from the Torrance. However, most of the other test appears to measure divergent thinking which creativity is. From the mix scores on creativity, it appears that your son may be in the range of average to high average in creativity.

For the percentile scores, you may need to understand that this is not the same as percentage that is regularly used. It is not unusual for intelligence scores to be expressed in percentile - and this is often confused with percentage score; therefore the mix-up in understand the scores. Percentage is the total of correct responses on a test in comparison to the total number of items tested. However, percentile is the estimated percentage of individuals who would have achieved a score equal to or below the score that one achieved. That means the number of other test taker's score that one equals to or exceeds. For example, if the child answers about 85% of the test item correctly, but others answered more than he did (correctly); he would have a rather low percentile (although his percentage appears high). As a rule of thumb, most standardized IQ scores of 100 have a percentile of 50. So a percentile at 90 may indicate an IQ score of 120, a percentile of 75 probably indicates an IQ of around 110 and so on.

To help him, it is best to get someone experienced to interpret his scores in detail based on each subset score. I believe some of his scores are skewed and he may need help in some areas, however, it is hard to tell from the percentile alone.

Hope the above helps. Best of luck.


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