Distinguish intelligence and school progress (EN)

Your child will have or has had an intelligence research. In this explanation you will find general information about intelligence research by juveniles. This explanation can help you for a better understanding of the report. If you want to know more about your child’s possibilities or research conducted, you can get more information out of our research report or contact us. The Test Psychologist – De Testpsycholoog. 

What is intelligence?

Intelligence is the ability of someone to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with the environment. Our intelligence says something about how we manage to adapt to different situations and to what extent we possess the skills we need for that. If we know the intelligence of a student, we can predict the expected school performance in the future. In young children, an intelligence score must primarily be seen as a global estimate of the level of cognitive functioning and has a temporary character. Young children are in full development, which applies for their intellectual possibilities as well. This means it may be useful to have another intelligence research done after a certain time to see what the current state is. It is possible that there are significant differences compared to the first test, but usually intelligences scores are fairly stable from the age of 8 years old. Despite of the limitations mentioned, IQ-scores are not pointless. They are used together with other information to get a better understanding of your child. This helps to give advice about the needs of your child and who is able to help in what way.

Distinguish intelligence and school progress

To determine the level of a child, schools use intelligence tests and tests that measure school progress. The most frequently school progress tests in The Netherlands are the CITO tests. Measuring the intelligence or school progress has partly the same objective – predicting school level and school success. If we compare both test options, we can indicate the following differences and similarities: 

  • School progress tests are more appealing to recently acquired knowledge and intelligence tests are more appealing to insight
  • Item contents of intelligence tests can be very diverse, item contents of school progress tests are limited to knowledge acquired at school; especially math questions and language assignments are very common
  • Intelligence tests predict future school success quite as good as school progress tests, combined with additional information even better
  • The validity of the outcomes of intelligence tests will extend over a longer period of time

School progress tests and intelligence tests are partly different, but complement each other as well. Therefore, an intelligence test can be seen as a so-called ‘second opinion’.