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IQ scores - can they drop with age.....?

(28 Posts)
papalazaru Sat 21-Sep-13 09:26:04

About 6 years ago my kids were IQ tested (WISC) because we were moving countries, schools etc.... At the time my daughters score was around 120 - which we were pretty surprised at. Fast forward to now, shes in Yr 5 and she's not doing so well at school, we have again moved country and system so part of that is understandable. She is also having a bit of a crisis of confidence.
I plan to go and talk to school and wondered whether I can still use this score to illustrate my point that she is a bright child and not achieving her potential, SATs were pretty average. Or is it possible for a child's IQ to actually drop?

middleclassonbursary Sat 21-Sep-13 10:39:41

As far as I'm aware they don't change much ie a bright child with an IQ of 138 won't as he grows up become one with an average iQ of 100. But achievement as I suspect youre aware is not just about IQ other factors play a huge part.

CecilyP Sat 21-Sep-13 10:52:24

If she is year 5 now, her original test would have taken place when she was 3 or 4 years old so I doubt if anybody will give it much credence. Do you know what the test involved or its relevance to the usual school subjects.

mumonaptamission Sat 21-Sep-13 11:40:04

IQ scores tend to be fairly stable as long as children are old enough for them to be reliable and at the time hers were done she wasn't really.
Of course that doesn't mean your concerns aren't valid, just that you probably need to find another way of highlighting them.

QTPie Sat 21-Sep-13 14:33:27

Isn't an IQ of 120 about average? I always think "about 100 to 120 = average", "140 = bright", "160 = genius".

I don't think that IQ changes much with age, but "attainment at school" (or in life in general) and "IQ" don't always go hand-in-hand...

So speak to the school and see if they think that she is achieving what she is capable of and, if not, what can be done to build her confidence and enable her to do better.

If she has general confidence issues, does she do many extra-curricular activities? These (sport, Marshall arts, other activities) might help to build her general confidence and self-worth.

Don't get too hung up on IQ scores.

papalazaru Sat 21-Sep-13 16:09:39

Thanks everyone. I absolutely agree that IQ is not a good indicator of attainment at school; that many other factors come into play. I dug out the old report which was done when she was only five and a half - and the combined score put her in the 90th centile of that particular test.

I only ask because when I go into school to discuss why she's not doing as well as I know she could I just wanted to have something to back me up. I will try to dig out the CoGAT tests she did while we were living n the States too as they give an indicator of ability in peer group without being subjective with regard to school system I.e.US vs UK.

She's a confident girl in many ways but is something of a perfectionist and I think doesn't try if she thinks she might fail or not do well. Moving schools has also unsettled her and where her last school was much more relaxed about things she has joined a school where expectations are higher and perhaps that has caused a wobble....
I'll speak to the school and see what they say.

Mutteroo Sat 21-Sep-13 16:10:04

IQs shouldn't change, but I know from experience how circumstance can make a seemingly bright child drop in ability & in confidence. In year 4, my DD's best friend moved away & that was the catalyst for many years of unhappy education. We also later found out DD was dyslexic which her primary teachers refused to accept as DD was already reading when she started school. Obviously she was memorising the shapes of words & not really reading, but there you go.

You are on the ball with this & so I'm sure you'll find out what is causing your DD so much concern.

ReallyTired Sat 21-Sep-13 21:32:08

Doing well at school is down to hard work rather than innate intelligence. There is evidence that praising a child for being clever rather than working hard makes children do well at school.

Carol Dweck has done research that shows that IQ is not as fixed some people think. She believes that the brain is like a muscle. The more you challenge yourself the brighter you become.

"She's a confident girl in many ways but is something of a perfectionist and I think doesn't try if she thinks she might fail or not do well."

This is common of people with a fixed mindset. They would rather not try than fail and be precieved not to be clever. Prehaps focussing on working hard rather than achievement will help your daughter.

missbopeep Sun 22-Sep-13 14:13:23

I know quite a bit about this as it's my profession, have read dozens of assessments, and both DCs have had assessments too.

One important point is that you DD must have been assessed age 5 if she is now age 9-10. There is some doubt over the accuracy of IQ testing at this age as it would all have been non-verbal- she wouldn't be writing or reading I assume?

IQ scores should not change more than about 5 points either side to account for test practise- you can get better scores the more tests you do up to a POINT.

Equally, IQ does appear to decline in old age but this is more to do with speed/reaction time rather than senility. IQ tests are a combination of number of correct answers within a time limit- so older people tend to be slower.

The other point is that IQ overall scores are an average of a number of sub tests- so high non verbal IQ and low verbal IQ ( just an example) would average out to 'average'. The sub tests test different things, so someone may be better at some areas of the curriculum than others.
'Average' Iq ( the mean) is 100. Anything within 10-15 points either side is low average or high average. So 85 is still considered 'normal' but is low and can be seen in some children with mild overall learning difficulties. 115 is high average and 120 would be above average but you need to be 125+ for superior. Mensa requires a score of 148 but they use a different scoring test which equates to around 132 on the Weschler.(WISC.)

OP I'd chat to the school about her problems but I think you ought to disregard the testing done when she was so young.

missbopeep Sun 22-Sep-13 14:32:06

You might like OP to google Bell curve distribution of intelligence- shows it clearly in a diagram.
The old selection for grammar schools used to be based on IQ of 125+, and Mensa takes top 2% of population with scores of 132+(148 (Mensa test. )

My overall feeling is that any IQ tests carriedout on a 5 yr old are going to be rather inaccurate though.

Yes, hard work can help lots of children achieve a lot- but it's finite. Someone who is really not that bright is never going to be as highly achieving as someone who is and who works equally hard- otherwise everyone could be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon simply through working hard enough.

Tessa10 Sun 22-Sep-13 15:46:16

Yes, IQ scores drop with age, because the age is taken into consideration, so someone who hasn't progressed in the couple of years since the first IQ test would belower in the second, or someone who hasn't progressed much.

Doesn't matter though, she was doing well, now isn't, so go and raise your concerns.

missbopeep Sun 22-Sep-13 16:32:19

Tessa- that's incorrect I'm afraid.
IQ is your innate or underlying ability. It's not a measure of what you know like in an exam or a SATs test. It's a measure of your potential more than anything. If what you said here was true, then adults' ages would need to be factored in to the results on the basis that the older you are, the better you become at something- which is not true.

DeWe Sun 22-Sep-13 20:38:08

IQ doesn't change, however I don't think it's terribly accurate for young children. I know my db did one and was pretty much off the scales at about 4-5yo. When dm looked into it, the weighting given for age meant that any reasonable score gave a huge IQ.

When he became older it became clear he was nothing like as good as that early IQ test had promised. He just had worked out how to do IQ tests at a young age.

eatyourveg Mon 23-Sep-13 13:36:53

Are CATS scores related to IQ? dc's primary school used to have CATS of 117/118 as the cut off for the 11+ which is some way from IQ of 125 that missbopeep menitons

lljkk Mon 23-Sep-13 13:56:55

There are many different IQ tests, I think, and many of them scale by age which basically makes it easier to score higher when younger. I've been told this many times when I mention my impressive results.

I agree with those who say at test score from 5 yrs ago won't much impress school, they can only work with what they have in front of them.

If she's insecure, unhappy or bullied then she needs insecurity/unhappiness/bullying to be resolved regardless of whether she's underachieving, iyswim.

missbopeep Mon 23-Sep-13 19:56:14

That's not how IQ scores work. Age ( of a child) is one factor when it's compared with their results on the test , and their IQ is relative to other children of the same age (s) doing the same test. The results are plotted against the mean. You don't get an 'age' score as such. You might get a score which is usually achieved by someone who is older, or younger, but this applies to the sub tests, not the overall IQ.
eg a reading test might show a RA of 12.3 months and if the child is only aged 10 then they are 2.3 months ahead of the average for that age. But the overall IQ performance result is worked out from a whole range of verbal, non-verbal, numeracy, sequencing and writing skills.

CATs- cogntive ability tests- yes are similar to IQ tests but maybe they don't run the whole range- some tests have to be done 1:1 and face to face with an ed psych. I suggest that the cut off a 118 is there to allow for error and underperforming on the day- which might prevent a nervous/unwell child from taking the 11+ exams.

papalazaru Mon 23-Sep-13 22:27:10

This thread is fascinating! I know for sure the test (WISC & WPPS) was done before she could read and I suspected that it was most likely irrelevant now but just wanted to see if anything could be inferred from the initial test.
My main concern with her is that she is a very reluctant reader and terrible at spelling. Tonight I discovered she'd only done 1/3 of her history homework after she'd told me it was finished. When I showed her the question sheet and asked if she understood what she was meant to do she told me that she can read the words but they don't make sense. I asked if all her reading was like this and she said yes, most of it....... I am going to see her teacher tomorrow with all my concerns and will report back.

kitchendiner Tue 24-Sep-13 06:59:02

Perhaps there is something hidden going on like mild dyslexia for example.

missbopeep Tue 24-Sep-13 08:15:43

I'd strongly suggest another full educational assessment to see if she is dyslexic- she would have been a bit too young first time round to pick it up although the BDA does say that children as young as 3 can be assessed- but it's best to wait until they are 7 in case it's a maturity problem.

richmal Tue 24-Sep-13 08:25:17

IQ seems to me a rather spurious measure; though the complexity and variety of intellegence can be summed up in one number. It would be anologous to having one competition in the olympics.

missbopeep Tue 24-Sep-13 09:24:08

Possibly richmal- but you could still say that all the people who compete in Olympics are 'athletic'- in the same way that the distribution of intelligence ranges from 'not bright' to 'bright', or less able academically to able academic.
IMO I find that some people who criticise IQ tests have some personal axe to grind or they just don't like to think that some people are more able than others at certain things.

richmal Tue 24-Sep-13 10:07:39

I assure you that I am looking at this from a scientific rather than a personnel perspective, indeed IME I find that questioning personallity rather than logic is only done by those who are on scientifically uncertain ground.

I do agree that some are more athlietic than others, but it is more complex than one measure fits all. Is a sprinter a better athlete than a marathon runner? Is a quick thinker more intelligent than a deep thinker? What areas of intelligence can or cannot be improved with training? I do not yet think we have anywhere near the answers in this area.

missbopeep Tue 24-Sep-13 12:10:00

I don't disagree- but as a crude measurement of someone's potential then imo IQ tests have a place - or what would you use instead in a mass-assessment situation?

Hamishbear Tue 24-Sep-13 12:36:55

i think we are moving towards a system whereby IQ rather than attainment will be looked at when decisions are being made about suitability for schools, academic pathways and perhaps even careers in the future. Our school uses IQ/CAT type scores to largely determine eligibility for G&T programmes rather than attainment and many might say that is the fairer system. Baseline tests are given in reception and CAT type tests in Y4 and Y6.

I think we are moving towards a system of online assessment for GCSE type exams (there have been recent press articles on this) where the application of knowledge and critical thinking is given more weight and merit than any accumulation of knowledge or facts learnt by heart etc. Online tests will adapt to challenge the most capable.

Maybe this is progress but my fear is that it might punish the over-achiever and hard worker? There seems to be a growing feeling that to go beyond your apparently prescribed ability ceiling is unhealthy and unnatural. Already a sense of logic is given higher status than other types of IQ in IQ type tests. Intelligence as others have said on this thread is composite yet it is fair to say that certain types point to a child that will thrive in a school setting and are ascribed higher status than others.

I find this rather depressing as hard work has taken me far in life and I fear if anyone had given me an IQ test early on I'd have been destined for the scrap heap.

missbopeep Tue 24-Sep-13 13:17:00

Maybe this is progress but my fear is that it might punish the over-achiever and hard worker? There seems to be a growing feeling that to go beyond your apparently prescribed ability ceiling is unhealthy and unnatural. Already a sense of logic is given higher status than other types of IQ in IQ type tests.

I don't know what you mean here...????

By 'punish' do you mean that someone who would gain an A* by working hard but was not necessarily bright would be disadvantaged?

Or do you mean the opposite?

How can anyone go beyond their apparent ability? That doesn't make sense to me, sorry.

What is the evidence that logic is given a 'higher status'?

You surely accept that there are huge differences in ability across the population as a whole, and that one person who works hard will not always achieve the same as another person. If your logic was followed it would mean that with hard work anyone could be anything they wanted in life and brains didn't come into it.

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