The goal of norm-referenced intelligence testing is to arrive at a greater understanding of a child. Intelligence tests can help describe cognitive performance in a relevant sample of abilities and skills, compare individual performance with normative expectations and developmental benchmarks, and make predictions about areas of potential development and limitations. When used properly, intelligence tests can help parents find an academic environment that will provide a good fit with a child, challenging him or her at a level that permits growth without demoralization. Intelligence tests are required for most gifted and talented placements, but intelligence tests are only tools to help you arrive at answers – they are not answers themselves.
In this series of Tips for Parents, I am presenting recommendations for consumers of intelligence testing, particularly parents of children who are thought to be highly gifted. It is my objective to provide parents with information so that they may be well-informed consumers of these tests. Throughout this narrative I use common abbreviations for well-known tests: SB5 (Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition), WISC-IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition), WJ III Cog (Woodcock-Johnson, Third Edition Tests of Cognitive Abilities), and CAS (Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System). I provide these recommended tips after having directed a large East-coast gifted assessment program that has served thousands of children.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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