Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Dr. David Palmer's Parent's Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education is a very thorough look at intelligence testing in general and for gifted children in particular. Palmer covers the basics very well, and I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with much that he had to say. Palmer discusses:
Why gifted children don't always score highly on intelligence testing
Possible negative aspects of giftedness
And much, much more.
Palmer says, “ IQ tests are certainly imperfect instruments and only one piece of the puzzle.” He communicates clearly why kids should be evaluated for a gifted program based upon multiple criteria, and not a single group administered IQ test. While group tests are common screening tools, an individually administered IQ test is much more likely to provide reliable data. Even with a private assessment though, a gifted child may not do well, due to a variety of causes.
This book addresses types of gifted education and which students tend to benefit from them. Kids who are highly to profoundly gifted may need a more radical solution than those in the “optimally” gifted range, who tend to do well in school with only slight modifications.
The possibility of finding true peers becomes more difficult when a child is more highly gifted. Dr. Palmer talks about asynchronous development and how it can affect social interaction. A gifted child may look like other kids his age, and share a common level of emotional maturity. However, it can be awkward when this child also has the vocabulary, interests, and reasoning ability of someone several years older.
For parents who are unsure about the idea of testing, or who want to more fully understand what is being measured, this is a terrific book written in clear language with a lot of relevant information. I like the common sense attitude and the section on learning disabilities is outstanding.
If you are expecting a run-down of the particular tests in common use today, that is outside the scope of this book. Also, throughout the book, references to IQ scores seem to be based upon the old Stanford Binet LM, which provided scores up over 200. The LM is an older instrument which is rarely used these days, and it does not compare “apples to apples” with current tests which are designed to measure up to 160.