A Description of IQ Ranges (page 4)
Extremely Low Range Children who score in the extremely low range are in the bottom 2 percent of the population. Children who are within this range would be expected to find academic skills very challenging and would most likely require special education services to master basic academic concepts. When a child scores within this range, or the borderline range, the school psychologist (or social worker) will require additional information about adaptive functioning levels (daily living skills).
Adaptive Functioning: It is always helpful to obtain information about adaptive behavior from the child's teacher and parents, because each can provide a different perspective on adaptive skills evident at home and at school.
Interviewing the parent can often provide valuable information about the child's developmental history (when the child started walking, talking, and so forth) and medical history. There are also adaptive rating scales that parents and teachers can complete, such as the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Second Edition (ABAS-II) or the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition (Vineland-II). These scales assess daily adaptive functioning or living skills in areas such as self-care, independence, communication skills, social skills, leisure activities, health and safety, and so forth. An example of some of the questions that may be asked about past development can be seen in Table 7.2, along with other thoughts to consider in preparing for an education meeting. Information that teachers may want to bring to the meeting, as well as questions and considerations they may have for the parent, are presented in Table 7.3.
Scores for adaptive functioning can also be reported as standard scores, and comparisons can be made between IQ level and adaptive levels in several areas. Informed decision making for children who score within the extremely low IQ range requires consideration of several factors, including intellectual level, academic performance, and adaptive functioning (strengths and weaknesses in adaptive skills). Interventions would be expected to target skill development in the adaptive as well as academic areas.
Borderline Range Children who obtain scores in the borderline range are midway between the average ranges and the extremely low range; because they fall on the borderline, the term Borderline Range is used. These children pose the most difficult challenges for decision-making teams because they may or may not qualify for special education assistance, depending on specific criteria that vary from state to state.
Children within this range often experience significant difficulty in transferring information from situation to situation. For example, what they learn one day might not be transferred to the next day's lesson. What they learn in reading may not generalize to their written work. Therefore, rather than building on prior skills to construct a cumulative learning curve based on an increasing body of knowledge, their learning may be based on individual pieces of information that do not connect into a bigger picture. The story of John at the beginning of this chapter is a very good example of how deficits in transferring information can have a negative impact on learning.
However, some children in the Borderline Range may do relatively well, especially in the earlier grades, if they have strengths in long-term memory. If this is the case, they may amass a good sight vocabulary and spell or decode words with relative ease. As work becomes more complex, however, these children may begin to struggle with reading comprehension and the more challenging aspects of written work. They may also experience difficulties solving math problems that involve a lot of information, especially if they must figure out what information or numbers to ignore in the problem. Children in this range perform best in situations of high structure, clear directions, and consistent limit setting. Frequent repetition may be required to consolidate learning.
Average Ranges Children in the average ranges should not experience significant academic difficulties unless they have other contributing problems, such as a specific learning disability, attention problems, emotional or behavioral problems, or motivational problems. There are three broad ranges that fall within the "average range": lower average, average to high average, and superior range.
Lower Average Range (IQ: 80 to 89) As would be expected, depending on the particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses, children within the Lower Average Range may experience problems with comprehension, or they may require more time and more repetitions of a concept before they can consolidate the information. Children in this range may seem to be one step behind the pace of the majority of children in the class and are in danger of falling further behind if not given time or practice to consolidate foundation skills. Parents will need to be in touch with teachers and monitor progress to ensure academic success. Teachers may need to provide more time and repetition to ensure success.
Average to High Average Ranges (IQ: 90–109; 110–119) Children who score in these ranges demonstrate normal to above-normal capacity to learn and should not be experiencing significant academic difficulties. If significant academic concerns are evident, further assessment should be conducted in different areas (processing, behavior, emotion, and observation) to help pinpoint and clarify the nature of the difficulty.
Superior and Very Superior Ranges (IQ: 120–129; 130+) Children who score in these ranges are in the top 10 percent of the population intellectually and may require more-challenging academic tasks and enhanced learning environments. If academic concerns are evident, there is serious need to investigate why the child is not performing to potential. These children are not immune from problems such as a learning disability, attention problems, and emotional or behavioral problems that can be barriers to success. Children who score at the 135 level or above are in the top 2 percent of the population. This IQ score is often set as the admission criteria for most gifted programs.
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