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 Years ago, I wrote a paper about how IQ tests alone were poor measures of academic or life success.

It’s another season for my office phone to be ringing with requests to test five year olds’ IQs.   Jenny or Ethan might be eligible for a gifted kindergarten program.  Yet another example of our education system’s perpetuating a practice that’s totally unsupported by research.

Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman in NutureShock cite research showing that “IQ is an astonishingly ineffective predictor of a young child’s academic success”.  The operative word is “young”.  Less than 1 out of 3 kindergarten students will qualify for the gifted program if retested in third grade.  This is because young children’s brains are just beginning to develop.  Between the ages 3-10, 2/3 of kids’ IQ scores will improve or drop more than 15 points. 

You might think that school districts would retest kids to insure that they still belong in this program.  Nope.  Not one of the largest 20 school districts requires retesting.  A strong parent lobby killed a bill in a 2007 Florida legislative committee that would have required retesting.

You can’t blame parents for wanting everything they think is best for their kids  Unless our educational system changes its practices and waits until children’s brains are more developed at 7 or 8 years old, parents will continue to attempt to guarantee security in kindergarten and never look back.