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Validity of IQ Test Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter received the WISC-IV at age 6 and obtained a full-scale score of 135. She also took the WIAT-II and scored within the 99.5 percentile in most areas. She is now 9 and the school wants to retest her. They say that she was young at the time of testing and her scores may not be accurate. She has skipped a grade and maintains an A average and is socially doing well. Is retesting her really necessary? How long are the scores valid for the tests she already took?

A: Intelligence tests, the standardised ones that are properly administered, accurately measured and interpreted, are believed to be the single, most accurate predictor of general intelligence and it does provides a snapshot of intellectual functioning at a point in time. Having said that, these scores may not be stable until around seven years of age, which is due to the rapid rate of neuropsychological development in early childhood.

What this means is that although your IQ at age ten is strongly predictive of your IQ. This means that one's IQ score at age 10 is probably more predictive of a stable IQ at say, 60 years of age, but an IQ score at age four or five, would probably be a good predictor of general intellectual functioning at that age, rather than a similar score at age 60. These tests are normed on standardisation groups that are six months to one year apart, and age is considered in the scoring.

Intelligence tests have a validity of two years; therefore the school may feel the need to get your daughter retested. You may need to find out the reason apart from the age factor when she was first tested. Especially since she has been accelerated and doing well in her current programme, with no other issues I believe, I really don't see a good reason for subjecting the child to testing. Of course, unless this is the uniform policy in the school and applies to all children, you may want to speak to some in the school for a better explanation.

Hope that helps clear some doubts. Good luck.


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