Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests for children are designed to measure a child’s mental age compared to his or her chronological age, thus determining if the child is gifted. Although IQ tests only measure some types of intelligence, they can be accurate predictors of success in an educational environment.
Reasons to get your child tested include determining what type of curriculum would be appropriately challenging for your child and identifying strengths and weaknesses in your child’s learning style.
So you’ve decided that you want your child to take one of the IQ tests for kids, but you don’t know much about the process. We’ve compiled a list of our five favorite children’s IQ tests, including basic descriptions as well as pros and cons. Keep in mind that in many cases, children will be assessed with more than one IQ test (or parts of more than one IQ test) to form a more complete picture of the child’s intelligence.
1.Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SB)
The SB is an individually administered test that is considered the standard in IQ tests for kids, with the SB5 being the most recent edition. The SB can be administered to children as young as two. This assessment is divided into 10 subtests, which typically take about five minutes to complete. The subtests provide comprehensive coverage of the five factors of cognitive ability:
For each of the five factors, the SB offers a verbal portion and a nonverbal portion, comprising the ten subtests. Each nonverbal portion involves pointing or assembling manipulatives. Your child will receive an overall IQ score, a nonverbal score, a verbal score, and total IQ scores for each subtest.
This test has been found to be valid and reliable. It is often preferred among young children because it features more colorful artwork, toys, and manipulatives. However, very young children tend to perform poorly because they lack sufficient concentration to complete the entire test. The maximum score the SB can measure is a 160, so it will not be an accurate measurement of any IQ above 160. However, the Stanford Binet Form L-M can measure scores of 165 and higher for exceptionally gifted students.
2.Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
The WISC is today’s most widely used individual IQ test in schools, with the WISC-V being the most recent edition. The WISC is divided into subtests that are designed to measure specific skills, making it an excellent assessment for determining information about learning styles, as well as strengths and weaknesses.
The test can be individually administered to children ages 6-16 years and 11 months. For most children, the test takes 65-80 minutes to complete. The test can be taken online or via paper, pencil, and manipulatives.
The skills on the test are divided into two major skill types: verbal and performance. Upon scoring, students will receive an overall I Q score, a verbal IQ score, and a performance IQ score. Scores are based on a comparison to other children of the same age.
Subtests include questions related to general knowledge, English vocabulary, traditional arithmetic, completion of mazes, and arrangement of pictures and blocks. Students are tested on verbal comprehension, fluid reasoning, visual spatial skills, working memory, and processing speed. Reading and writing are not required.
The WISC is considered a reliable and valid method of measuring IQ. In fact, it is frequently used by researchers in child psychology and development. However, like the SB, the WISC does not measure scores above 160.
3.Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ)
There are two types of Woodcock Johnson tests, but the type that best correlates with other IQ tests for kids is the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities. This series of subtests is individually administered to children as young as two. The most recent version is the WJ-IV. Unlike many IQ tests, the WJ does require reading and writing.
Tested skills include:
- Long Term Retrieval
- Visual-Spatial Thinking
- Auditory Processing
- Fluid Reasoning
- Processing Speed
- Short-Term Memory
- Quantitative Knowledge
- Reading-Writing Ability
The amount of subtests your child takes will depend on whether your child takes the Standard Battery (10 tests) or the Extended Battery (20 tests). Sometimes a full battery is not administered. Either way, the WJ is believed to give a very detailed understanding of a child’s intelligence, and each subtest should take about five minutes.
4.Naglieri-Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT)
The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test measures problem-solving and reasoning abilities with nonlinguistic test questions, meaning your child will answer questions relating to figures, shapes, symbols, and patterns. The most recent version of the test is the NNAT2. The test is often used to evaluate students for admission into gifted programs and is considered to be rather difficult.
There are four types of questions on the NNAT: pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning, and spatial visualization. Click here for more information on the NNAT, including sample test questions.
The NNAT is considered to be the most unbiased method of testing. Regardless of a student’s primary language, socioeconomic status, color vision impairment, or educational history, the NNAT should fairly and accurately measure the child’s intelligence. Very minimal use of language and written directions is required for the NNAT, and speaking is not necessary.
As previously stated, most of the questions involve patterns and shapes, and all objects on the test appear in blue and yellow. The NNAT takes only about 30 minutes to complete and asks 48 questions. This test is designed for students ages 5 to 17.
5.The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)
Like the NNAT, the OLSAT is often used to screen students for admission to gifted programs around the United States. The test can be administered to ages pre-K through 18.
Except for pre-school children, students take the OLSAT in a group setting. This is one drawback to the test, as individually administered tests are considered to be more accurate than group tests. However, many schools evaluate children using group tests because they are less expensive.
The OLSAT tests skills such as verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, pictorial reasoning, figural reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The test measures both verbal and nonverbal abilities. The content, structure, and time limit of the test varies according to grade level.
Some OLSAT questions are read aloud to students, and they can be read aloud only once. The OLSAT therefore may not be the best test for a student who speaks English as a second language. To learn more about the OLSAT, check out our in-depth article on the test.
Although the OLSAT is easier and less expensive to administer than the other tests on this list, its accuracy at higher levels is considered less reliable.
There are other IQ tests for kids, but these are the five most commonly used and among the five most accurate and reliable. Whatever test you choose, you should gain an understanding of your child’s ability level and strengths and weaknesses.