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IQ Testing

1) What tests do you typically administer for an IQ?  We typically administer the Wechsler tests as they are the ones most commonly used by schools and private centers.  They include the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Test of Intelligence – 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV), Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children – 5th Edition (WISC-V) (Ages 6.0 – 16.11), and for adults The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test – 5th Edition (16.00- adults) (WAIS-IV)  We additionally can use the Stanford-Binet-5 or the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Ability – IV at the request of a parent.

2)      What is your practice when you don’t get the information you need from a standardized test, how do you gather other types of information about a child? Descriptive information from observation as well as parent and teacher input is also included however for most programs it’s the scores that matter.  We include both.

3)      How do you decide which tests to use for a precocious child? The WISC-V and the WPPSI-IV are the required test for nearly all school and private programs.

4)      If a child reaches the end of a subtest or test, without reaching a ceiling, how do you interpret that and how do you indicate that in your assessment report?  As the WISC-V is used for students between the ages of 6 and 16:11 it is very doubtful that a young child would not reach a ceiling.  As for how to interpret and indicate this, it would be stated that the student did not reach a ceiling and that it indicates that the score is not a full estimate of the child’s potential. This is one of the reasons it is so important to choose the correct test.

5)      How broad a look at our child’s abilities can we expect? The tests have five areas of assessment Verbal Comprehension, Visual Spatial, Fluid Reasoning, Working Memory, Processing Speed and a Full Scale composite.

6)      What do you know about the different assessments available for assessing a gifted child? How do you evaluate issues of underachievement in gifted children? In this practice we use assessments that are standardized and research-based as well as those accepted by school and private programs.  As far as the issues of underachievement goes, this is addressed by completing an achievement test (reading, math, writing, language) such as the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – III or Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement to assess current academic functioning and compare it to the students potential (IQ).  As grades are often inflated and can be biased, a standardized, norm-referenced test is necessary.

7)      What is your experience with “out-of-level” testing? The WISC-V is an age-based test and the WIAT-III can be scored for both age and grade.  We follow the level rules for all testing and use tests that allow for a wide ability to move up.

8)      What is the array of tests and information you have or need to have to evaluate my child? For an IQ only we typically ask for a copy of most recent report card, copies of any standardized tests that child may have been administered, the completion of a history, copies of medical reports (hearing tests, neurologist evaluations, etc.) if they are in an area that impacts the testing.  Behavioral questionnaires such as the Conners 3 or BASC-2 are not typically sent to parents or teachers unless there is a specific reason to include them.  This would be discussed with the parents at the time of booking.

9)      How much do you want to know about my child’s previous testing?  See above.  It is important not to duplicate tests that others have administered.  The most common rule is IQ and other standardized tests should not be repeated more than once per year as any increase in scores may be due to practice effect rather than a true change.  We can administer a different IQ test such as the Stanford-Binet or Woodcock Johnson Test of Intelligence as an alternative.

10)   How should I best prepare my child? Should I practice with them? For an IQ you are testing both crystal and fluid intelligence (organic/hardwired and learned) so no preparation should be needed.

11)   How do I prepare my child for the experience of being tested?  What should I tell them? As far as preparing them for the experience, we always say be honest.  Children, even young ones, know they can do things well. Tell them that they are going to meet with a person to do some activities that they may find enjoyable.  They will be building with small blocks, matching pictures, playing memory games, and other things.  If they ask why you can tell them your reasons, a special program, interesting things at their school possibly, etc.   Honesty is always the best way to be with a child.

12)   How long should we expect the assessment to last?  It is somewhat dependent on the child’s style.  Some children are quick and move from one thing to the next easily.  Some take their time and go slower.  Brighter children tend to take longer as they typically complete more items.  We schedule 90 minutes which allows for some warm-up and breaks if the child needs them.

13)   How are break times determined?  Most children do not require a break but they are offered when a child seems off task, tiring, or any other behavior that indicates the need to rest.  Obviously if the child asks, a break is allowed.  These tests are very game-like and most kids leave the testing having enjoyed the challenges and activities.

14)   Are your test reports accepted by local schools and programs for the gifted as part of their admissions process?  Yes, I test for Primoris Academy in Westwood and frequently submit to the Gifted Child Society in Glen Rock NJ.  In 2014-2015 I completed independent evaluations for more than 15 local school districts and my evaluations went to at least 35 more.  I am a licensed psychologist in both NY and NJ.  Note however that school are not required by law to accept evaluations completed privately by parents.  That being said, in 15 years of private practice I’ve never had a school not accept one of my evaluations.

16)   Pragmatically, how can the information you expect to gather be put to use in the service of my child? I provide recommendations for both home and school in my reports.  I try very hard to make them as practical and specific as possible.

17)   How will the results be explained to my child? Do you do this or will you advise us on how to do this? No we generally are not the ones to explain the results to students unless they are older and parents request.   The report is given to the parents but we can assist in helping the family decide if and how they want to talk to their children about the testing.

18)   If the results seem inconsistent with what was anticipated, what would be the next course of action, if any? Testing is not perfect.  For most programs to be considered “gifted” a student must have a Full Scale IQ of 130 (2 standard deviations above the mean) or higher.  This is the top 2.2 percent based on a bell curve.

19)   Will you be preparing a written report for us, as the parents? When will we receive the report? A report is given to the parents usually within 2 weeks of testing.  A hard copy of the report is mailed to the parent. We do not provide electronic copies as we feel that there is less control of the report for both our practice and for the family.  If the family wants to scan it and keep it for their records as an electronic copy that is their choice.

20)   What is your availability and what time of day could we expect to be able to have my child tested? There are three psychologist in this office but the typical lead time for evaluations is 4-6 weeks.  That can change if there are booked schedule changes or cancellations.