Parents' Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education

All you need to know to make the right decisions for your child

Questions about IQ testing come up for nearly all parents of gifted children. For some, the questions come quite early with parents wondering if they should get their toddler tested. For others, the questions come when their child starts school and seems to be ahead of his peers or has been in school for a couple of years and has been identified as gifted by the school.

Parents can understand some basic information about testing, but they will no doubt have many more questions. For those looking for more in-depth information about IQ testing, the Parents' Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education is a must-have book.


Chapters in the Book:

  1. A Closer Look at IQ Tests. What They Measure and What the Scores Mean.
  2. Identifying Gifted Students. Who Gets Tested and Why.
  3. What is Gifted Education? And is it Right for My Child?
  4. IQ Testing and Gifted Education. Answers to the Questions Parents Ask Most.
  5. Signs of Giftedness. What to Look for and Why You Should Know.
  6. Is it Good to be Gifted? Optimal IQ and the Flipside to Being Gifted
  7. Bright Kids with Learning Problems. When IQ and Achievement Don't Match Up.
  8. IQ Testing in the Schools. How Did It Start?
  9. What is Intelligence? And Can It Really Be Measured?
  10. Nature, Nurture, and Other Influences. Why We Are Who We Are.

Each chapter is written in a very easy-to-understand way with a layout that makes the information quite accessible. Boxes include additional information on the topic being discussed. At the end of each chapter is a "Quick Points" list that serves as an overview of the chapter and a summary reference.


The focus of the book is just what you'd expect from the title: IQ testing and gifted education. However, it covers more than that. The book is divided into four sections: IQ Testing and Gifted Education, Giftedness and Kids, IQ Testing and Learning Disabilities, and IQ Testing and Intelligence. The way the book is written allows parents to skip around rather than read from beginning to end. For instance, a parent who is more curious about IQ and learning disabilities can start with that section, while a parent who is still trying to understand just what giftedness is can start with the section on giftedness and kids.

The first section of the book, the one on IQ testing and education describes the various types of IQ tests and what it is they measure, such as verbal skills, memory, and problem-solving speed. It also explains the difference between group and individual tests as well as the three types of IQ scores. We tend to think of IQ as a single score, but it is really more complicated than that. Understanding those scores can help you better understand your child's abilities, her strengths, and weaknesses. Also explained are standard scores, percentiles, and age equivalent scores.

It also covers methods schools use to identify gifted children and provides suggestions on what you can do if you have concerns about your child's placement in a school or about the school's policies. Finally, this section explains what gifted programs are and whether the gifted program at your child's school is the right fit for your child. It covers the variety of educational options as well, from early entrance to ability grouping to self-contained classrooms.

The second section of the book covers what it means to be gifted. It explains the traits of giftedness and how to tell if your child is gifted, but also covers under-identified gifted kids and some of the problems that come with being gifted such as emotional sensitivity. One concept it covers that many people are unfamiliar with is that of "optimal IQ." The second section also covers what it means to be gifted. It explains the traits of giftedness and how to tell if your child is gifted, but also covers under-identified gifted kids and some of the problems that come with being gifted such as emotional sensitivity. One concept it covers that many people are unfamiliar with is that of "optimal IQ." The third section covers learning disabilities and how testing can uncover them in gifted children. Even for parents whose children do not have learning disabilities, this section is excellent. It details the various types of learning disabilities and explains how tests help determine learning disabilities.

The final section of the book provides the history of IQ testing starting back in the late 1800s, as well as a discussion of just what intelligence is. We talk a lot about intelligence and methods for testing it, but we don't always understand just what it is, so this discussion is a valuable one. This section also discusses the question of nature versus nurture. Is intelligence inherited or is it the result of our environment?


Few issues can be as confusing as those involving testing. At some point or another, parents will be told about some test or other that their child has taken in school that determined whether the child qualified for the school's gifted program. Even though the school may send a letter providing the test results, parents still may not fully understand what the score means or what kind of test was given. Or parents may be thinking of getting their child tested or already got the child tested, but aren't sure what the tests are or what the scores mean.

This book is perfect for parents — and others — who are trying to understand IQ and IQ testing. It is full of information, not just about testing, but also about how it affects the education of gifted children. The information is presented clearly and simply so anyone who feels intimidated by the whole idea of intelligence testing will be able to relax and soak up the information easily. If I were going to say there is any drawback to the book, it would be that it may leave a reader wanting more. But that's not a bad thing! The book will help any parent understand giftedness, intelligence, IQ testing, and its place in gifted education. It will also provide an excellent foundation for anyone who might encounter more complex discussions on these topics.

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  1. Palmer D. Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education: All You Need to Know to Make the Right Decisions for Your Child, with a Special Section on Bright Kids with Learning Problems. Long Beach, CA: Parent Guide Books; 2006.