IQ testing

Definition

Intelligence quotient (IQ) testing is a series of exams used to determine your general intelligence in relation to other people of the same age.

Alternative Names

Intelligence testing

Information

Many IQ tests are used today. Whether they measure actual intelligence or simply certain abilities is controversial. IQ tests measure a specific functioning ability and may not accurately assess a person's talents or future potential. Results of any intelligence test may be culturally biased.

The more widely used tests include:

  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales
  • Differential Ability Scales
  • Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children

Functioning abilities that are measured by these tests include language, mathematical, analytical, spatial (for example, reading a map), among others. Each test has its own scoring system.

In general, IQ tests are only one way to measure how well a person functions. Other factors, such as genetics and environment, should be considered.

References

Blais MA, Sinclair SJ, O’Keefe SM. Understanding and applying psychological assessment. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 7.

Ortiz SO, Lella SA, Canter A. Intellectual ability and assessment: a primer for parents and educators. National Association of School Psychologists Web site. Published 2010. www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/families-and-educators. Accessed January 19, 2017.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 12/10/2016
  • Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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