Using an IQ test for kids is an attractive tool for those looking to benchmark a child’s educational progress. With clear-cut standardized scores, IQ tests make it obvious that a child with a low score would need different instruction than one with a high score. Seems helpful, right? Unfortunately it’s not quite that easy.
While these tests have been the intelligence testing standard for the past 100 years, there has been controversy in the education world as to how effective they truly are – especially for children.
Let’s get to the bottom of the debate around IQ tests for children: what’s the problem and what’s the best alternative?
DEFINING IQ TESTS
IQ tests aim to measure mental capacity using a variety of categories – including verbal skills, visual-spatial reasoning, memory and processing speed. Children who take IQ tests are provided with a number based on how they score against their age group, which signifies whether they are considered gifted, average, or at risk of learning and behavioural issues.
THE PROBLEM WITH LABELS
Research shows that labels of all types are harmful for children – and can influence future behaviour in drastic ways. Instead of focusing on learning style, IQ tests provide children with a fixed score that teachers and parents use to determine the course of their education.
MISSING THE WHOLE PICTURE
IQ tests can be a great way to analyze specific aspects of a child’s intelligence, but they ultimately fail to look at the entire picture. Examinations of intelligence should not be fixed to a one-size-fits-all mentality. They need to consider a child’s overall pattern of strengths, weaknesses, environment, and culture.
To overcome the number of issues that come with IQ testing for children, parents and teachers should consider using programs that focus on qualitative learning and overall potential, not just quantitative scores. Instead of determining what their intelligence level is based on a few fixed categories, assessments should focus on how a child learns, and what educational tools they respond best to.
A DYNAMIC ALTERNATIVE
Dynamic tests and assessments are an effective alternative to the standard IQ test for kids. They provide children with the opportunity to work in a comfortable, open environment — one that leaves room for mistakes, exploration and creativity. This gives the administrator of the evaluation the opportunity to assess the child’s needs using a more holistic approach.
Parents and teachers should also look for tests and assessments that provide more than just a final score.
All educators and parents just want to give students what they need to thrive and succeed throughout their school years. And with different personalities, experiences, and learning styles comes a need for personalized testing.
By avoiding standardized IQ tests, and instead opting for dynamic styles of assessment, each student will be given the care and attention required for them to achieve their best throughout their educational journey.