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Should you send your child for an IQ test?

If you feel the need for another unbiased opinion regarding your child’s ability, you can opt to send him or her for a professional assessment. Or if you suspect your child has behavioural concerns or a learning problem, you should take him or her to see a qualified psychologist. Your child may be twice exceptional; gifted but has a learning issue with social development.

Before sending your child for testing, do keep the following pointers in mind:

  1. Make sure it is a registered clinical psychologist or educational psychologist that is administering the IQ evaluation.
  2. IQ tests together with their accompanying psychological reports are quite costly, around the range of $600 to $1,000 (Singapore dollars).
  3. IQ scores can change. The score you get at a certain point of time is just a `snapshot’ and moving target. Over time, if properly nurtured and with more exposure, IQ can grow by more than ten points!
  4. While a child as young as two years six months can be tested, the best gauge of IQ is between five and nine years of age. When the child is too young, he may not be cooperative and it may result in a higher error.
  5. As the tests are almost always conducted in English, your child will be disadvantaged if English is not his or her first language.

Can you prepare your child for an IQ test?

You cannot prepare your child in the sense of studying for a test or doing past year papers. You can, however, develop your child’s potential. Provide him with as many books as he asks for. Take him to the library. Send him to classes that will improve his visual-spatial reasoning and analytical skills. Remember, IQ is not static but fluid. Given proper nurturing and exposure, it is possible for a child’s IQ to grow by 10 to 20 points!

This possible rise in IQ is called the Flynn Effect and named after James Flynn, an intelligence researcher from New Zealand who discovered that there has been an increase in each successive generation’s average IQ test scores (Flynn, 1987).

Flynn’s research data was gathered from 20 countries including China, Britain and the United States. The results were consistent. IQ test scores were seen to increase over time in all countries without exception! There was an average 10 point increase with each subsequent generation. And this without any form of deliberate intervention.

So imagine the potential increase in IQ for your child if you began nurturing him from young.


How useful is an IQ report?

IQ tests can be useful for several reasons. Firstly, it can help you understand your child better. And if you understand your child better, you can make more focussed plans for her education so as to maximise her potential.

Secondly, if the report discovers or confirms some form of learning concern or special need, it gives you the opportunity to arrange for therapy and early intervention. The earlier the issue is discovered, the better the chance your child has to cope and overcome it.

A word of caution: Some parents think an IQ report is a `passport’ or a guaranteed entry to a gifted programme. No, it isn’t. Most international gifted education programmes run their own assessment tests (which cover more than pure IQ) rather than depend solely on IQ reports. IQ is not equal to how well your child will perform during the assessment test.


What other ways are there to spot giftedness?

While an IQ evaluation is useful in confirming giftedness, there are other ways to spot giftedness. At the end of the day, an IQ score is just a snapshot of your child’s intelligence at that particular point of time. It can be influenced by subjective factors like your child’s mood during the time of the test, the timing, the place and even his feelings towards the psychologist!

That’s why experts have determined that the most accurate method of spotting giftedness is this: Observation and Experience


Observation and Experience by educators

Traits of giftedness in a child are often noticed by teachers, especially those trained in gifted education. Many a parent has said that he was made aware of his child’s giftedness through the teachers of the preschool that his child attends.

The teachers will give feedback on how quickly the child finishes assignments and how they have to give more challenging work so the child doesn’t get bored or how the child is reading a few levels ahead of his classmates or maybe even how the child can seem disruptive but will have completely understood the lesson when questioned.

If you receive such feedback, it may be a sign that your child is gifted.

Observation and Experience by parents

It should come as no surprise because you (and also other caregivers) get to see and interact with your child day in day out, and are very likely to notice any unusual behaviour. In fact, according to Dr Linda Silverman, director of the Gifted Development Center in Colorado, 84% of 1000 children whose parents felt they exhibited three-quarters of the traits from the Characteristics of Giftedness Scale did actually turn out to be intellectually superior or gifted when tested (Silverman, 2012)!

What does this mean? If you suspect your child of being gifted because she has shown many of the traits from the list of characteristics that have been observed in gifted children, there is an 84% chance that she probably is!

In the next blog post, we will share about the myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about gifted kids. Subscribe to our mailing list for more blogs about gifted education!



Written by Gifted and Talented Education Pte Ltd
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Is IQ the only sure and tangible proof of intellectual giftedness?

Many parents think the best confirmation of giftedness is through IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests. This, however, is not completely true. While IQ tests do give a number or score to the child’s intelligence, they are not the only way of spotting a gifted child. We will discuss other more well-rounded methods of determining giftedness in our next blog, but first, let’s take a look at an overview of IQ tests.


What is an IQ test like?

There are many different types of IQ tests including Stanford-Binet, Wechsler, Woodcock-Johnson, Raven’s, Kaufman’s and others. They are based on various scales and designed by different institutions. However, the two most internationally recognised tests for children are by Stanford-Binet, known as SB-5 and Wechsler, which goes by the acronym WISC-V or WPPSI-V, which is the version used for pre-schoolers.


Stanford-Binet (SB-5)

In 1906, Lewis M. Terman, a psychologist at Stanford University developed the Binet-Simon test (Human Intelligence, 2016). This test went through a series of revisions to eventually become the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales.   The latest version, the fifth, was revised in 2003 and is called SB-5 for short. The advisory panel for the SB5 included experts in the field of gifted education who helped design, test and eliminate or retain subtests.

The test measures five factors of cognitive ability and consists of both verbal and nonverbal subtests (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017):

  1. Fluid Reasoning
  2. Knowledge
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Visual-Spatial Processing
  5. Working Memory

Test results will show the Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ), nonverbal IQ (NVIQ) and verbal IQ (VIQ).

FSIQ measures general ability to reason, solve problems, and adapt to the cognitive demands of the environment. It reflects five major facets of intelligence, including reasoning, stored information, memory, visualisation, and the ability to solve original problems. The FSIQ is usually an effective predictor of long-term educational attainment, school-based achievement and vocational advancement.

Making sense of the psychologist’s report I

Here is an example (for illustration purpose) of the results of an SB-5 test done on a child, Sarah, age 4 years and 5 months:

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale 5th Edition (SB-5)

Index scores for Sarah at 4 years and 5 months includes:

*Standard scores have a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15.

*A percentile signifies the percentage of score expected to fall below the reported score.

*The 95% confidence interval indicates a 95 % likelihood that an individual’s true score falls within the band of score reported.

*It’s a fictional report for illustration purpose

As can be seen from the results, Sarah’s FSIQ of 134 puts her in the 99 percentile and the `Superior-Gifted’ range.



Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children or WISC-V for short is the other internationally recognised IQ test. It was developed by David Wechsler in 1949, and the latest version which was developed in 2014, is the fifth edition (hence the `V’).

Children ages two years and six months to seven years and seven months are tested with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) (Pearson, 2017).

Like SB-5, WISC-V also measures five factors:

  1. Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI)
  2. Visual Spatial Index (VSI)
  3. Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI)
  4. Working Memory Index (WMI)
  5. Processing Speed Index (PSI)

Each index above requires two subtests; thus, a total of 10 subtests are needed for all 5 indexes. And the Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) is derived from 7 of the 10 subtests: Both Verbal Comprehension subtests, one Visual Spatial subtest, two Fluid Reasoning subtests, one Working Memory subtest, and one Processing Speed subtest.

In the next blog post, we will address concerns if there is a need to send your kid for an IQ test and how useful will the IQ report be. We will also be sharing some pointers you can look out for towards spotting giftedness in your kid!



Written by Gifted and Talented Education Pte Ltd
Copyright © Gifted and Talented Education
All content is subjected to copyright and not to be reproduced or republished.
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It has been our observation over the years that high ability or gifted children in the academic field are seen as being very blessed or lucky by the society at large. After all, these whizz kids only need to spend very little time to achieve excellent academic results compared to their peers of average intelligence. These are the group of students who will eventually go to your top institutions and universities and end up the nation’s policy makers, organizations’ leaders and the movers and shakers.

The world sees that this group of people are already very privileged, having IQs significantly higher than most people and are naturally fast learners and high achievers. Why then, should society invest more resources into these “already blessed lot” rather than the less privileged group with real learning difficulties like Down’s syndrome, autism or the physically challenged? It is very logical for most to think that way.

The reality is that the members of this crème de la crème “privileged lot” are also special learners. We assume that they are all fast learners and high achievers from birth, if born with high IQs. There are numerous scientific research and studies to show that if this group of high ability children are not identified, intervened and nurtured, many of them may perform less than your average kids and may lead sub-optimised lives. The high IQ gift from the creator is a double-edged sword; it can either be an edge or a curse in life, and my colleagues and I have seen far too many cases in our years of interactions with these precocious children. It always saddens us when we see a demotivated bright spark on that downward spiral.

From Joseph Schooling, the Olympiad gold medallist to Lang Lang the piano prodigy, the world has recognized these special talents in music, sports, art and are prepared to provide resources like professional training and coaching at a young age to nurture these talents. In Singapore, we have SOTA, Singapore sports school, special music and art elective programmes to develop the performing arts and sports talents. Schools/Programmes to work on the gifted and talented children in art, music and sports are well received by society.

Why then, are there so many controversies raised when it comes to the intellectually gifted/talented? Is it really an elitist approach perceived by part of our society? Or should this “privileged lot” be categorised under children with special needs in education, who require our early intervention and nurturing from young, and to bring out their potential for the good of themselves and our society where human capital is our only ingredient in success. To further push this envelope, some developed countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United States already have laws protecting the rights for a special education programme to this group of children with special education needs.

Despite the multitudes of research papers and experiences supporting the needs for Gifted Education, there are still far too many criticisms by society at large against putting in more resources for this already gifted lot. Not providing special education to these high ability children is actually tantamount to deliberately asking the potential Olympians like Joseph Schooling to slow down or even stop for the rest to catch up, so that we can all relegate them to the lowest denominator for a more inclusive society.

As a group of educators who have been working with gifted children, some with special needs, it gives us great motivation to help tell their side of the story…their frustrations, challenges, loss and discrimination which they may suffer from anti-intellectualists. And for those who have the real privilege of continued blessings; their joy, actualisation and achievements when they are identified, motivated and given the growth mindset to be both high ability learners and achievers.

As a nation without natural resources, a society who has scarcity of human capital, let’s protect, and nurture this group of talented children. They could be talented in one domain or even multiple domains and give them the equal opportunities to learn at the pace, and content which will stimulate and nurture their talent.

Equal opportunities in education doesn’t mean equal results for everybody. Different children need to have different diets to bloom. The beauty of diversity enriches our human capital pool, and our future movers and shakers will emerge from this pool of gifted learners.




Watch out for more blog posts on misconceptions about gifted education.

Call us at 6467 1369 for  programme enquiries.


Written by Gifted and Talented Education Pte Ltd
Copyright © Gifted and Talented Education
All content is subjected to copyright and not to be reproduced or republished.
Feel free to share this post with your friends and family on social media!

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