Do IQ tests for kindergarteners prove anything?

Mar 31, 2018

Mostly not. IQ tests are not reliable predictors of future academic performance in very young children.

Many researchers and journalists have found that, because children’s brains develop unevenly, it’s difficult to accurately measure intelligence at a young age. Children who score poorly around age 5 often do well in school years later, while children who score well at a young age often perform below average later in life.

Essentially, relative cognitive abilities vary from year to year in developing children, especially around kindergarten age, so performance on any individual IQ test does not prove anything.

Then why do so many schools test young children’s IQs?

Because they either misunderstand the science, or don’t think there are better, relatively inexpensive ways to measure student abilities for the purposes of determining admission to exclusive schools and advanced programs.

It’s also true that IQ tests can be administered in ways that yield more trustworthy results. Some researchers recommend not administering standardized tests until at least a few years into elementary school, and then re-testing students every few years to see how they have changed relative to their peers.

Why should I trust you?

Our articles are short and direct so parents can quickly get the answers they need, but there’s lengthy research behind everything we publish. We aren’t doctors or academics — everything we write is based on reading and analyzing information we’ve found elsewhere. If you’d like to check our facts and learn more, here are the best sources we found and used for this article:

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