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Retesting on an Intelligence Test

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a daughter Nadia who is in special ed. She is in 8th grade and currently in a contained classroom. I was told that her IQ test from when she was in kindergarten was only a 60. I asked to have her tested again, and they won't do it. I was told IQ tests do not change much. I am appalled! Do you agree with this? Please help me because I believe my daughter is a lot smarter than what the school is saying. What can I do to help her? Thanks.

A: A contained classroom is one specifically designated for children with disabilities. Self contained programs are usually indicated for children with more serious disabilities who may not be able to participate in general education programs at all. These disabilities include autism, emotional disturbances, severe intellectual disabilities, multiple handicaps and children with serious or fragile medical conditions.

Your daughter was placed in such a classroom due to her intelligence test score. An IQ of 60 generally indicates that the child is intellectually deficient (based on the WPPSI test). This test was given when she was in a preschool. She is now in Grade 8. IQ test score may not change much if the testing environment was conducive. It also depends on the anxiety levels of the child, fatigue, health concerns of the day of testing and if the test is an individual one that requires an experienced tester, the knowledge of the test administrator would be crucial. Now, all these factor may affect the scores. There is no reason why any child should be denied of a retest, especially if it is a different test and in this case, after such a long time. If the same test was to be administered, the suggested time gap for accuracy in scores would be about 2 years. It appears quite strange that the school does not want to test her. Depending on her abilities, the school needs to reason out why they would be apprehensive to test her again.

Someone who knows how well she is progressing would be in a better position to advise you on the how to help her. You may want to determine the kind of setting your daughter learns best in, and what kind of setting is the least productive based on her progress. Would structure or routine help her better? Does she enjoy the company of peers? What are her strengths and weaknesses? What areas she would require academic help? Has it been a struggle in her current contained environment or has she been progressing gradually?

You would really need to speak to your daughter's teachers, other parents, special education personnel and advocates in your area. At her level, she would be able to understand try to gauge the kind of setting that may prove to be most stimulating, beneficial and productive. I believe that parents understand their child better than anyone so if you think your daughter is smarter than the credit given to her at school; you need to fight for her rights towards a match between her abilities and her learning. I wish you all the best and hope the school would not deny her of the education she deserves.


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