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WISC, Stanford-Binet, and Popular Tests

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: My 10-year-old son took the WISC-III and was ranked in the top 1 percent. He was advised to take the "Stanford-Binet L-M" test for a more accurate evaluation. What is the difference between the WISC-III and the Stanford-Binet?

Also, I bought a book called Self-Scoring IQ Test for Children by Victor Serebriakoff and had my son try when he was 8. He got 94 problems right out of 100. How well does this kind of test correlate to a test administered by a professional?

A: The WISC-III is an excellent IQ test, but it has a general ceiling level for scoring in the 150 IQ range. A WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children) is made up of individual subtests. When a person scores at the highest level in a number of WISC subtest scores, it is often recommended that a Stanford-Binet L-M be conducted.

This test does not have the same ceiling in scoring and is more heavily weighted in the verbal skills in which the gifted often score high. Professionals often use it to test a person we know is gifted to determine just how gifted she is. A gifted person scoring 160+ has different learning needs than a person in the 130 range.

Self-scoring IQ tests on the popular market are considered only an indicator of intelligence level. The results may be contaminated by the environment in which the test was taken (for example, your sister told you the answer!).

The information contained in both your questions, however, tells me your son must be very gifted.

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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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