When we hear about someone with an incredibly high IQ, we tend to wait with bated breath to see what astounding feats that individual will accomplish. Will the child who joined Mensa become the next great astrophysicist? Will the young girl with a genius IQ find the cure for cancer? With so much intelligence in one person, we tend to assume his or her future is set in stone as something great. However, while IQ does indicate a person's intelligence, it does not necessarily offer a glimpse into the future. With that in mind, here's a closer look at what IQ scores do tell us:
Someone who has a high IQ score can still have a learning disability, and someone with a lower IQ score can get good grades in school. Scores really only tell us how intelligent someone is compared to the rest of the population of people who are the same age. As such, a score of 100 is considered average. Higher means the test taker is more intelligent than a certain percentage of people their age, and lower means they're less intelligent than a percentage.
How smart people are doesn't always correlate to their ability to do well in school or get a good job – having a high IQ helps, but succeeding takes more than natural brains.
Using the score
If IQ does not predict school or career success, what can we get out of it? The scores actually can tell us useful information, especially for kids who have their whole futures in front of them. For example, if your child has a high IQ, you can talk to his or her school to see what gifted programs it has. The score shows you the level at which your child should learn – many intelligent students who perform poorly in class are just bored with their lessons.
IQ tests are built of several parts, including spatial awareness, memory, math and language assessments. Your child's overall IQ score is the compilation of each section, but you can see how well your child performed in each area. Knowing his or her score breakdown may help your child in school and when picking a future career. For instance, if your child did well in math but struggled in language, he or she might be better suited to a career that involves numbers.
When having your child take an IQ test, remember that the score is only one part of his or her personality. IQ won't predict success, but it can help your child seek the right programs in school.