How IQ is Calculated and Analyzed

There are a variety of IQ tests that are available to determine different aspects of a person’s intelligence. The Standard-Binet is probably the most commonly used IQ test in the United States. Th purpose of this test is to determine the participant’s intelligence quotient (IQ), which is a ratio of the child’s mental age compared to their chronological age multiplied by 100. A normal score is 100, with scores falling below 100 as being below normal, and scores above 100 as being above average. This test consists of six different sets of tests, one for each of six consecutive age groups. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 181). The tester starts by taking the test that is designed for the age category directly below their actual age, and then continues to take the tests up through the age categories until either all of the tests have been taken, or they become too difficult for the tester to finish. (2004).

The second IQ test is the WISC-II. This IQ is the most current version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. It is a full scale IQ test because it tests both verbal and performance skills. This test examines the child’s skill level of vocabulary and general information. Performance skills are tested though physical manipulation tests like block design, and picture arrangement. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 182).

Another IQ test used in the United States is the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. As the name suggests it is intended to evaluate infant intelligence and not child, adolescent, or adult intelligence. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 182).

One of the most known quick IQ tests is the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test or PPVT. It is used as a fast way to determine IQ. This test is made up of 150 sets of four pattern tests. The examiner will tell the tester a word and the child has to point a picture. The validity of this IQ test is based on the close correlation between the PPVT scores and the Binet and Wechsler scores. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 182).

Another IQ test is the Raven’s Progressive Matrices test. It includes a series of 36 items that show a pattern on a rectangular space. One section of the pattern is concealed and the child is asked to select one of six possible patterns that will complete the pattern. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 182-187).

For children between 2 and a half and 12 years of age the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 187) can be used for achievement assessment. This test examines sequential and simultaneous processing and is scored based on nonverbal measures. The benefits of this test is that it is flexible and accommodating for ethnic and gender differences.

While IQ tests are beneficial and generate a basic understanding of a child’s intelligence, there are drawbacks to using IQ tests to measure a child’s overall intelligence. First there are more than one kind of intelligence including musical, mathematical, verbal, spatial, etc. Also the creators of IQ tests have a tendency to bias their tests towards their sex and ethnicity. This gives certain demographics of students an advantage when taking the exam.


Bee, Helen and Boyd, Denise. (2004). The Developing Child. (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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