Tests for Evaluating Intelligence in Children

September 22, 2019
Psychometric tests serve to evaluate intellectual abilities in an objective way. In the following article, we'll discuss the most commonly used tests when it comes to measuring intelligence in children.

An intelligence quotient is a unit of measurement of a person’s general cognitive abilities in relation to his or her age group. The use of some type of psychometric test is necessary in order to evaluate intelligence in children. However, that alone is not enough. Exhaustive observation, as well as personalized interviews of the child in question, must also take place.

“It seems to us that in intelligence there is a fundamental faculty, the alteration or the lack of which, is of the utmost importance for practical life. This faculty is judgment, otherwise called good sense, practical sense, initiative, the faculty of adapting one’s self to circumstances.”

–Alfred Binet– 

Tests for evaluating intelligence in children

TONI-2: Test of nonverbal intelligence

The Toni-2 serves to measure cognitive capacity based on one’s abilities to solve problems with abstract figures. The test can be used to evaluate individuals between the ages of 5 and 85.

This test takes about 20 minutes to complete and is particularly ideal for evaluating small children. That’s because the test doesn’t require the use of language or major motor abilities.

What’s more, there are two equivalent ways to carry out the test. Each consists of 55 elements, each more difficult than the last. Specialists recommend performing periodic assessments and comparing results in an objective fashion.

In this test, the subjects must identify the existing relationship between the abstract figure in each figurative grid. Also, they must search for the solution between proposed alternatives, pointing to the chosen option.

Tests for Evaluating Intelligence in Children

So, evaluators must provide instructions by means of gestures or brief verbal indications. For example, they can say, “Which of these drawing has to go here?” Test subjects must then point to the corresponding image.

K-BIT: The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test

The application of this test is rapid. In fact, it only takes 15 to 30 minutes to finish the test and is also easy to correct. This test serves for support and orientation when measuring intellectual capacity.

The objective is to evaluate verbal and nonverbal intelligence in people between the ages of 4 and 90. On the one hand, it measures the verbal abilities related to scholastic learning. It draws conclusions based on the knowledge of words and the formation of verbal concepts.

On the other hand, it evaluates nonverbal abilities and the capacity to solve new problems. This is based on the subject’s aptitude for perceiving relationships and complete analogies. Therefore, it consists of two different subtests:

  • Vocabulary test. With 45 items involving expressive vocabulary, and 37 involving definitions.
  • Matrices. Consists of 48 nonverbal elements with both figurative stimuli (persons or objects) and abstract stimuli (geometric shapes or symbols).

This psychometric test offers three types of intellectual quotients:

  • Verbal.
  • Nonverbal.
  • Composite: Overall test performance.

WISC-V: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

The WISC-V measures general thinking and reasoning abilities in children and youth between the ages of 6 and 16. This test is based on an overall intelligence focus composed of 10 principal tests and 5 complimentary tests. It evaluates various capacities and abilities that contribute to the obtaining of a total intelligence quotient.

Hence, the test has principal ratings:

  • Verbal comprehension. Measured through activities that require listening to questions and offering verbal responses. Subtests include similarities and vocabulary.
  • Visual-spatial processing. Obtained through activities that require attention to details and visuomotor integration. Subtests include block design and visual puzzles.
  • Fluid reasoning. Assessed through tests that require the use of mental operations in order to take on new tasks. These tasks cannot be performed automatically. Subtests include matrix reasoning and weight scales.
  • Working memory. Uses activities that require the learning and retention of information while using the information learned to complete an activity. Subtests include digit span and picture scan.
  • Processing speed. Centers on tasks that require quickly examining symbols and making decisions regarding them. Subtests include coding and symbol search.
  • Total scale. The sum of the points from the ten main tests. It defines the subjects’ intellectual capacity compared to their age group and according to their general thinking and reasoning abilities.
Tests for Evaluating Intelligence in Children

Which test is best for evaluating intelligence in children?

When it comes to evaluating intelligence in children, the most adequate test is the WISC-V. This test offers more complete information and is specific to intellectual abilities.

These tests offer a total intelligence quotient. The score is categorized according to the population’s normal distribution curve, as follows:

  • Extremely high: 130-145.
  • Very high: 120-129.
  • High average: 110-119.
  • Average: 90-109.
  • Low average: 80-89.
  • Very low: 70-79.
  • Extremely low: 69 or less.

Test scores also allow for the detection of intellectual disabilities on various levels:

  • Borderline intellectual ability: between 70 and 85.
  • Mild intellectual disability: between 50 and 69.
  • Moderate intellectual disability: between 35 and 49.
  • Severe intellectual disability: between 20 and 34.
  • Profound intellectual disability: less than 20.
  • Brown, L., Sherbenou, R. J. y Johnsen, S. K. (2009). Toni 2: test de inteligencia no verbal: apreciación de la habilidad cognitiva sin influencia del lenguaje: manual. Madrid: TEA Ediciones.
  • Kaufman, A. S. y Kaufman, N. L. (2004). K-BIT: Test Breve de Inteligencia de Kaufman: Manual. Madrid: TEA Ediciones.
  • Wechsler, D. (2015). WISC-V, Escala de Inteligencia de Wechsler para niños-V: Manual. Madrid: TEA Ediciones.