Sunday, February 19, 2012


  • Definition

Simply put, I.Q. is a number used to express the relative intelligence of an individual. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains further...

Definition of IQ

: a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person: asa : the ratio of the mental age (as reported on a standardized test) to the chronological age multiplied by 100b : a score determined by one's performance on a standardized intelligence test relative to the average performance of others of the same age

  • Assessments Used (most common)
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities
Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children 
Raven's Progressive Matrices

  • Averages

Wechsler's classification
IQ Range ("Deviation IQ")Intelligence Classification
>= 130Very superior
120 - 129Superior
110 - 119High Average
90 - 109Average
80 - 89Low Average
70 - 79Borderline
<= 69Extremely Low

Most schools in Kuwait would consider an average of 85 and above as normal I.Q.  Both mainstream schools and schools for children with Learning Difficulties expect such averages.  An I.Q. less than 85 would usually be unacceptable and the child will then have to be placed in a school for children with Special Needs.

  • Below Average I.Q.
Profound mental retardationBelow 20
Severe mental retardation20–34
Moderate mental retardation35–49
Mild mental retardation50–69
Borderline intellectual functioning70–84
( Bottom two graphs were taken from Wikipedia)


  1. As a Professional Educational Psychologist, I strongly disagree with your interpretation of "special needs" as anything below 85! If you were simply to consult the Wikipedia charts which you yourself posted, you would be able to determine that 85 is in the Low Average range, which includes 16.1 percent of all children. I highly recommend that you contact someone who knows how to interpet IQ charts and ask them to teach you what the levels mean before posting again.

  2. Thank you for your comment. There is no need to be attacking. This is a learning & teaching blog. If you could go back and re-read the text above you will find that I did NOT "interpret" the charts, I mentioned that "Most schools in Kuwait..." (mainstream and L.D.) use 85 as a cut-off average for acceptance. This has been my experience with schools here, unfortunately. I, regardless of your comment, do agree with you that it should not be this way. I have often fought for children with low average I.Q. to be accepted in mainstreams schools. Some schools do make an exception if psychological and educational support is provided.
    Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read the blog and I always welcome child advocates such as your self. I would appreciate a more respectful dialogue in the future.

  3. I appreciate your straightforward attempt to explain the whole IQ thing. Unfortunately, for-profit schools have had the opportunity for many years to be choosy about their students, and one of the ways they've done this is by arbitrarily declaring that any child with an IQ below 85 is "special needs"! One counselor from a well-known school actually insisted that the cutoff for "normal" intelligence is 90, and refused to accept (even when shown in print) that the standard deviation of 15 for the WISC means 85 still falls within the average.

    Your blog posts are great, and I encourage you to continue? (Love your response to 'Anonymous')

    The OTHER Anonymous =)

  4. Other Anonymous, I am thankful for your contribution. It was indeed my attempt to provide a simplified idea about I.Q. for my readers who are unfamiliar with the term. It is often frustrating for us working in the psycho-educational field to see this arbitrary cut-off. Hopefully in the future, schools would begin to realize the need to adjust their standards with increasing awareness and our professional involvement.