Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My child is "superior"

Part of the admissions process when we applied for The May Queen's new school was an IQ test. I have my misgivings about standardized testing, having tutored for the SATs (one of the most miserable jobs I've had!). I wonder about how someone (even a professional someone) can make a judgement on intelligence in the course an hour, and I worry about what labeling students might do to how they are treated in the classroom. All that being said...

(warning: bragging commencing...)
The May Queen was ranked as "superior" (the second highest ranking out of 7. They did not give us a firm number, although we can call the psychologist to get it. We do know she was between 120 and 129). The admissions director told us they see a few "superiors" at their school, but most kids are average or "high average." The written assessments are very in line with what we, her parents, have noted. She "demonstrated significantly advanced skills in vocabulary, in verbal abstract reasoning, in non-verbal abstract reasoning, and in spatial reasoning." She has always had an astounding vocabulary, speaking early, and always far beyond the number of words she was supposed to be speaking at a young age. She has always loved patterns, sequences, sorting and counting, which of course are pre-math skills. She tested highest in the math areas. The area she wasn't as strong in (not WEAK, just not superior strength) was reading, and she did struggle with reading at the beginning of this school year, although her skills are rapidly catching up now that they are reading stories and not lists of words.

We are obviously pleased to hear the professional opinion that our child is as bright as we, her proud parents, think she is. It also confirms that we made the right choice in putting her in kindergarten this year and advancing her into first grade next year. She clearly would have been bored if she had to repeat kindergarten. We feel confident that her new school will work with her and continue to challenge her.

I don't remember ever taking an IQ test, but my husband says his three tests as a child ranged from 123-131. I decided to take one online. While I can't vouch for its authenticity, I feel it must be pretty on target since it has my score as 142. Clearly, I am a genius. (and that score was WITH my husband coming in, discovering what I was doing, and openly mocking me)

How about you? Have you been tested? Have your children? What do you think about the validity and usefulness of an IQ score?

27 comments:

Amy Y said...

My hubby and I have taken online IQ tests and I usually score slightly higher than him, which is a riot because he thinks he's way smarter. :) Probably because he doesn't say things like "way smarter"...

Anyway, it does feel good to have your child's intelligence verified by someone else! We always thought T was super smart, too, and his first grade teacher confirmed it ~ though not with a test. But he's at a grade and a half above where he should be in reading and almost always scores perfctly on math tests that most of the class fails.

Yeah, I'm impressed :)

blooming desertpea said...

We just had our 10.5 year old son tested as he is really bored in school and he ranked "superior", too, and that with a few dives due to his ADS ...

Usefullness? I have my doubts ... If I look at my brightest students, I think that there are equally or more important characteristics in a person than just being smart - like politeness, kindness, fairness etc. Personally, I prefer to teach a less gifted but interested and kind person than a smart and arrogant one. Then again, if MQ is going to be a smart and kind person, nobody will say anything against that, right?

jen said...

you should be proud, sister. she's brilliant, AND she's loved beyond measure.

it's this...it's exactly this.

Family Adventure said...

I've got mixed feelings about this type of testing. We had our kids tested primarily because B boy was struggling with some stuff, and they both tested high. B boy in particular tested very high ('gifted'). Which is ironic, as he was the child we were (are) worried about.

I think these tests are indicators of potential more than reality, and I try not to put too much emphasis on them. Sure, it was awesome to be told by someone else that my child is bright. But I think it is equally awesome when I'm told that my child is caring, loving, friendly, fair, etc.

In terms of schooling, I do think some kids enjoy a challenge and obviously your daughter seems to be one of them. For my kids, however, I would not consider advanced placement (at least not yet), because they are happy where they are.

After the boys got tested, I took a few IQ tests online and apparently Mensa's waiting for me :)

Heidi

imbeingheldhostage said...

Uh oh, look out! We had our oldest child tested, they labeled him as "near genius" and we had school issues from then on-- These kids get bored with that "No child left behind" policy.

Aunt Becky said...

My IQ is ridiculously high, which means that the IQ test is totally worthless. Seriously, I'm one of the dumbest people I know. I CAN'T EVEN DO FRACTIONS.

Rima said...

I think that the tests that are professionally administered are pretty accurate (go May Queen!), but I'm not 100% sure about the online ones. Because I took one of them awhile back, and it said I was a total genius!

Kyla said...

Niiiiiice! It is good to have confirmation of things you already kind of know.

susiej said...

I don't have a problem with them, because I ignore them -- even though my kids do well. What I do hate is all the time the teachers must devote to preparing for standardized tests, when they could be doing something fun and educational. I am happy and proud that I am worrying less and less about things... I just want my kids to have a passion for something.. to find that passion and go from there. Then, knowledge will come pouring in.
But, I am so happy that the May Queen is superior. That right there takes a load off your chest!

Melissa said...

I'm never sure what to make of tests like that. They can be very deceptive. I think they are more of a "potential indicator". And yes, I would rather have someone who works hard than someone who is just smart. I'm always telling my guys that "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

Not that you shouldn't be proud of MQ. :)

LaskiGal said...

"I wonder about how someone (even a professional someone) can make a judgement on intelligence in the course an hour, and I worry about what labeling students might do to how they are treated in the classroom." Oh, I hear you.

BUT, still . . . it must feel pretty darned good to learn of your daughter's potential.

AND, that you are clearly smarter than your husband. :)

I avoid taking those tests--I prefer to live blissfully unaware . . . believing I am a genius.

carrie said...

Hmmmm . . . I'll let you know when I take the online test and it tells me that I shouldn't have bothered because clearly I am a total genius!

Kidding.

If it helps her get into the right school, I'm all for it! You have an amazing little girl - which is no surprise considering that you're her mom! :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Okay, PM, soapbox time, lol. I worked at a school for gifted students for 10 years, one of my master's was focused on gifted and creative education and I've worked with a variety of gifted programs over the years, including one in Russia.

It's wonderful that MQ scored superior - in terms of her reading "struggle" that's common for many bright children until the reading material picks up in interest, just as your guessing.

The test is a tool. It's most useful for kids who are struggling in some way - either because they have one area they have challenges in, or they're bored and acting out, or they clearly need more.

It's variable in terms of testing circumstances and there can be discrepancies in terms of scoring, due to the administrator, time of day, child's mood that day, etc.

It's also culturally biased, and that stinks.

Having said all that, it's a fairly good predictor of ability, especially for white, middle-to-upper-middle class children (ie. those with socio-economic advantages, those having been read to, etc.) I think it's useful for parents to have some idea of their children's academic strengths and weaknesses and potential.

As someone said above, the important thing is for all kids to realize this is just one area of their lives and that kindness, etc., comes first.

Finally, achievement is going to generally be based on far more than IQ, with a few exceptions.

Personally, I'm a fan of Howard Gardiner's work in Multiple Intelligences, where he goes far beyond simple IQ and looks at a variety of skills.

But this is still good news for MQ and for you!

Yikes.... sorry about my long response, but obviously this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart!

Angela said...

Yeah!!!! Awesome news!!!

womaninawindow said...

No - no testy for me-e! I'm afraid we'd all find out we're a big pack of morons. Slide us out like a piece of gum, chew us up and spit us out, even the flavour would be bleck! eek. But nice to know such smarties!

Julie Pippert said...

Well of course the May Queen is superior. :) I can imagine you feel great about it. :)

Now, for the topic in general:

Me? I absolutely disagree with the emphasis and reliance we put on standardized tests. I agree with the comment I noticed above that said they are good for noting potential. But I think they have a lot to do with the testing administrator, day of the week, lunar position etc. too.

I also think intelligence is not even half as important as esteem, adjustedness, and ability to read society.

I think intelligence can be a serious challenge, especially if you aren't in the top 1% and thus feted and courted.

So when it comes to IQ and academic challenge? I'll choose EQ and emotions every time. So much easier to challenge the mind if it hasn't got enough. So much harder to recover from a crushed spirit.

Kelley said...

I think I would be tempted to throw a party if someone acknowledged my child's brilliance.

I took one ages ago in elementary school. It confirmed that I too am a genius. I was pleased.

Furrow said...

Of course MQ is superior. We know that from anecdotal evidence alone. It's nice to have it confirmed, though, eh?

I was tested a few times in school. B hasn't been tested, but I think he'd do pretty well.

I've read that a child's IQ is typically within 15 points of his/her parents, and in your case, that seems right on.

So do they test everyone at MQ's school, or were they interested in placing her if the gifted program?

Kathryn said...

I do not put any stock in IQ tests. At all. That being said I was tested at got a 139. Phwah! Something has to be off there! ;)

Aliki2006 said...

Of course MQ is a genius--and I have no doubt you are, too!

I'm not sure about the tests...L.'s had an IQ test and ranked high, but then again he struggles with basic math and THAT seems to be the thing that is focused on more at school--his struggles--and not the IQ test.

Who knows...

MamaGeek said...

You should be VERY proud, but surprised given the genetic code and all. :)

Melissa said...

Ok...here's your cue to try a Haiku!

Remember: 5-7-5

I'll be waiting!

Sarcasta-Mom said...

G was tested recently with his whole behavioral evaluation, and they said he was a 122. Frankly, I think he's even more brilliant that that, so who knows what numbers really mean? :)

niobe said...

I'm not surprised to hear that MQ scored so high. I was wondering, though, like Furrow, why they had the kids take an IQ test as part of the admissions process.

Bea said...

Bub had an IQ test as part of his autism evaluation. He was not quite four at the time, so there were many warnings that these results are very unstable - he goes back for more testing in the new year, when he'll be five. (What? Five? Impossible.) They didn't give us a standard IQ score, but his overall score was in the 68th percentile. What was more interesting was the discrepancies in his results on various portions of the test. His scores for non-verbal tests were much higher than for language-based tests, and his scores on concrete visual tasks were much higher than his scores on tests that required him to form mental pictures of things he couldn't see. On the concrete, non-verbal portion, his results were "exceptional." I think watching him go through the various tasks was at least as interesting and informative as the actual results.

wheelsonthebus said...

IQ tests score a particular type of intelligence, but they do it very well, in my opinion. MQ's performance on it is probably an indication that she will find a lot of things easier than her peers in school. THat is a challenge to you, of course!

JCK said...

Yeah for the May Queen!

I,myself, am much too intimidated to take an IQ test. Maybe in a few years when my mommy to 2 preschoolers brain is less soggy...