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IQ Testing

IQ Testing

IQ Testing

The case presented above doesn’t provide many details so we can better evaluate the situation. One important missing piece of information is what was the child’s score before (in a rural school) and what it is now (in an urban school), we are just presented with the fact that the IQ score has changed. With that being said, my first question when I read the case was “did the score increase or decrease?”.

Looking for articles about the topic, it has been found that rural children usually score less than urban children in IQ tests. Some researchers believe that rural children score lower on intelligence tests because the items are based upon experiences common to the American urban culture. Researchers at Dartmouth College have found that children growing up in rural poverty score significantly lower on visual working memory tests than their urban counterparts. Emmet (1954) compared the intelligence quotients of 11-year-old children living in rural areas with those of children in urban areas. Comparisons were made, first between different types of areas within the same county and secondly between rural areas as whole and different types of urban areas. All comparisons showed that the rural school children obtained lower scores than urban children and that the spread in intelligence among them was also smaller.

Multiple factors can impact a person’s performance on an IQ test. In this particular case, there are a few possibilities. The child is moving to another school, and even though it’s in the same district, it’s in a different area, an urban area. There is probably a level of anxiety and tension in this child because he/she is not familiar with the school or the teachers. Anxiety can greatly affect an individual’s performance in any kind of test, due to incapacity to focus, concentrate, and access memory (blank out). Also, depending on the child’s and the parent’s personality and relationship, he/she might feel pressured to have a high score on this test, and that increases anxiety as well (Irby & Floyd, 2017).

Family income is also one of the major determinants of a child’s intelligence. A higher family income implies good schooling for the child and also every possible level of cognitive stimulation can be made available to the child. In such cases, the child gets better chances to reach his/her full genetic potential in terms of intelligence (Makharia et al, 2016).

A third factor that can impact the child’s IQ score is how motivated she was to do well on the test. When I took the online intelligence tests for this class, I wasn’t particularly motivated to have the highest score, because that had no significance to me. In this case, study, if the child doesn’t understand the objective and the importance of this test, she may not be interested in demanding so much energy to answer all the questions (Makharia et al, 2016).

IQ tests can be used to determine giftedness in some children. Depending on which test is used, mildly gifted children score from 115 to 129, moderately gifted from 130 to 144, highly gifted from 145 to 159, exceptionally gifted from 160 to 179, and profoundly gifted — 180.

These ranges are based on a standard bell curve. Most people fall in the range between 85 and 115, with 100 as the absolute norm. This range is considered normal (Irby & Floyd, 2017).

There is a lot of debate in the field as to how gifted children are identified. Most of the time, a child is initially identified as having the potential to be gifted by an elementary school teacher, based primarily on their school performance. Once they are acknowledged as possibly gifted, they are administered some form of standardized testing. This can be problematic for a variety of reasons. First, general education teachers may not be adequately equipped to recognize gifted students. Furthermore, a test score may not be a good indicator of giftedness. Intelligence is a wide-ranging variable. Depending on the testing used, it may not encompass all facets of intelligence. Moreover, there are many who believe that standardized tests of intelligence favor the wealthy because they have had opportunities and experiences that poorer children have not (Irby & Floyd, 2017).

Once a child is labeled as gifted or non-gifted it is difficult to change that label at a later time. Additionally, why is being gifted an all-or-nothing proposition? Is having a cutoff line based on a standardized test a fair assessment of whether a student is truly gifted? Gifted Education has its pros and cons. Although it is under attack by certain educators, it does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon. There is a genuine need for programs in K-12 education that can help advanced learners thrive. Although being identified as gifted can lead to unrealistic expectations, it can also help a student reach their potential. Evidence suggests that gifted programs help students with academic achievement, socialization, and future success.

Unfortunately, many gifted programs lack the necessary resources and are taught by teachers without the proper training. The current methods for identifying gifted learners are highly flawed. Minority children and those of low socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented in gifted programs for a variety of reasons. It is imperative that qualified minorities and people of low socioeconomic status receive appropriate gifted services. There is a gap in the social and economic status of minorities in this country. The proper identification and implementation of gifted services is one small way to begin to reduce this inequality (Makharia et al, 2016).

The problem with IQ tests for school placement, when it comes to ethical concerns, is that they don’t tell us anything about what kind of intervention might help the child learn.

Furthermore, the child’s actual behavior in the classroom and at home is often a better indicator of a child’s ability than an abstract intelligence test, so children might get educational services that are more appropriate to their needs if IQ tests were discouraged. These tests are valid in the hands of a competent practitioner who can go beyond the numbers – or at least use the numbers to understand what makes the person tick, to integrate those test scores with the kind of child you’re looking at, and to blend those behaviors with the scores to make useful recommendations. Psychologists are taught to assess patterns of performance on intelligence tests and to obtain clinical observations of the child during the testing session. That removes the focus from a single IQ score and allows for an assessment of the child as a whole, which can then be used to develop individualized teaching strategies.

An aspect that raises concerns about reliability and validity, in this case, is the fact that we don’t know what test is being used. Reliable tests like Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children should be administered by a psychologist, and not by a teacher, so that’s another ethical concern.


 Emmett, W. G. (1954). The intelligence of urban and rural children. Population Studies, 7:3, 207- 221, DOI: 10.1080/00324728.1954.10415561

Irby, S. M.; Floyd, R. G. (2017). The exchangeability of brief intelligence tests for children with intellectual giftedness: Illuminating error variance components’ influence on IQs.

Psychology in the Schools, 54(9), 1064-1078.

Makharia, A., Nagarajan, A., Mishra, A., Peddisetty, S., Chahal, D., & Singh, Y. (2016). Effect of environmental factors on intelligence quotient of children. Industrial psychiatryjournal, 25(2), 189–194.


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Part A: Review the Case

A school psychologist uses an IQ test to identify students who would benefit from gifted programs and special education. According to the school district policy, new students must be tested for placement. A student from a rural school relocates to an urban school within the same district. The school psychologist tests the student and observes a change in the IQ score from testing done two months prior.

IQ Testing

IQ Testing

Part B: Case Analysis

Address the following information:

1. Describe your immediate reaction to the scenario. What are the details you immediately noticed? What questions did the scenario raise about testing?

2. Identify and explain 3 factors that impact performance on IQ tests.

3. Identify and discuss 3 reliability and validity concerns with the scenario.

4. Identify at least 3 ethical concerns as per the APA Ethical Codes associated with this scenario.

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