How to Compare & Interpret Different IQ Test Results - More on the Effects of Newly Released Tests

IQ tests are not perfect, but they can be very helpful in figuring out how a child learns and how best to help that child maximize his or her potential. The unavoidable anomalies of standardized tests often contribute to either over or understating one’s relative position among age-mates and the greater population. The reasons for this are many. First, very young test takers who understand the point of the test and who cooperate have an advantage over other members of their same-aged norm group; thus, their scores are inflated comparatively speaking, based somewhat on cooperation as well as actual knowledge or ability. Older test-takers are at somewhat of a disadvantage on such tests because there is always someone in the normative sample who can ace a subtest. This means that even the most brilliant people lose points on the scaled scoring if they miss even one item. This deflates their actual relative position overall. So, while a child’s actual intelligence is not likely to change, one’s scores could fluctuate down a bit over the years, especially on any freshly normed ability tests.

"The Flynn Effect" Affects the Gifted Range Even More Than the Middle Ranges of Learners on IQ Tests

I've found myself in the unusual position of seeing first-hand the effects of the Flynn Effect when it comes to the assessment of gifted children. First, what is the Flynn Effect? James Flynn has studied changing IQ score patterns in populations around the world for a number of years. He's discovered that over the lifetime of a test -- the time between when it is first normed on specific age ranges to when it is updated on new children in the same specific age ranges -- typically between 13 and 15 years, the scores rise an average of .3 points each year. I have discovered that the rise is even more significant for children in the gifted ranges. This has many serious and significant results, only some of which I discuss here.

Because I give a different IQ test to clients than the majority of administrators (the SB5 rather than the Wechsler tests, WPPSI-III and WISC-IV), when I got the opportunity to compare the Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scales of Intelligence, Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) norm results to the 12 year old Stanford-Binet 5, I saw great drops in scores for the normative sample on the WPPSI-IV last year compared to the results I was getting with the same kids for the SB5. Now I'm actually administering the new, official WPPSI-IV and can compare the results, by testing the same kids for free, on the older SB5, alternating which test I give first to each child. The difference in scores is huge! What I fear is that for most districts who use only the Wechlser tests, they will simply think that fewer truly gifted kids are coming through their doors for the next few years as they use the new WPPSI-IV, and by next year, the new WISC-V. There is nothing wrong with any of these tests; they're all excellent. But the Flynn Effect appears to affect the results of children in the tails of the bell curve more than in the average ranges. Flynn reports an average increase during the life of a typical IQ test to be about .3 IQ points per year's age of the test. Most individual tests are only updated about every 13 to 15 years. This means that the 5 year-old who helped norm the test is eventually compared to a 5 year old who is 13 to 15 years younger. The matrix pattern reasoning and one or two other subtests account for most of this inflation over the years, but the real point is that we are over-estimating the level of giftedness of kids who take the tests when the tests are older and under-estimating the level of giftedness of the kids who take the test when the test is fairly new. More kids test as being Profoundly Gifted who may not actually be if they take the tests when the tests are older. Think about it and think about how we are making a bunch of educational decisions based on possible misinformation. Also, think about the kids who may indeed be quite highly gifted but we didn't see it if they took one of these tests at the wrong time.

I have more to say and write but wanted to get the discussion rolling! By the way, The Ruf Estimates Kids IQ Test is not affected by these fluctuations because I describe levels of giftedness within a fairly broad estimated IQ band. This is incidental to this discussion but some people familiar with my work may have been curious.

Weigh in, please, and spread the word, too!

Ed Planner Series - Part #1 - Steps to Take Now to Help Your Child Get into the Best Schools

Happy New Year!

As parents, we all want our children to succeed, to do their best in school, to discover their passions, develop their talents, to go to the best college possible and have a great career afterwards. As parents, we all want to help them every step of the way through our time, guidance and resources.

Countless studies have shown that parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education. Two-thirds of teachers surveyed believed that their students would perform better in school if their parents were more involved in their child’s education, while 72% of parents say children of uninvolved parents sometimes “fall through the cracks” in schools.

One of the key steps that we can immediately do is getting more organized around our children's education, starting with an educational game plan. Just as we employ business strategy and good project management processes & tools at work, it will help tremendously to have a strategy and great organizing tools to plan and track the different aspects of our kids' education and extracurricular activities.

Interview with Gifted Child Magazine

Dr. Ruf was recently interviewed on Skype by Dr. Alex Davidovic, founder of the Gifted Child Magazine ( The topic centered on the importance of identifying at an early age whether a child is gifted.

Dr. Davidovic lives and works in Australia, and has only recently started up his magazine. He has asked Dr. Ruf to be a contributor to Gifted Child, and Issue #3 features this video:

Gifted Students Are Seldomly Given What They Need During Their School Years, New Study Confirms

I hardly know where to begin; but I can tell you I'm angry.

A popular discussion in my LinkedIn groups is about the recent article in the New York Times, by Chester E. Finn, Jr.:

I could add quite a bit to that article myself. For example, things have not improved much for gifted student education in some regards and have gotten far worse in others. As most people know, schools deny an ability to even identify who is gifted before the children have already been bored-to-tears, under-educated, and socially out-of-synch for at least two to three years, often longer! I developed an online "test" for IQ (The Ruf Estimates of Levels of Gifted Online Assessment, here on this site) that parents can access when their child is younger than school age. It's an uphill battle getting anyone to know such a tool even exists. And --- you guessed it --- schools I've approached about this tool are not only not interested, they won't even tell parents about it.

I used to think I could work with the schools, but the vast majority don't want anyone intruding or messing with the way they do things, I've learned (the hard way). I am now convinced that only when parents have access to the correct, true information about intelligence ... and particularly their child's intelligence ... will they be in a position to force changes in the way schools treat gifted students. If they don't have to change, they won't. Money talks, and funding follows the child. If enough parents (of gifted children, those whose scores, even when dismally under-educated, still pull up a district's average) take their children elsewhere, the schools will have to sit up and take notice. Heck, I found out that when kids are in movies (as one of my kids was between the ages of 10 and 13, plus one more stint at age 19 when he faxed in his homework to MIT for three months so he could do the movie), the movie people are required to provide free tutoring to the child actors. Tutoring is always at the child's level, not the common level of kids of the same age. (For the curious, follow the trail with "Can't Hardly Wait," "Dick Tracy," and "What About Bob").

In fact, the gate-keeping, the legal efforts other groups --- and individuals --- are taking to keep parents of gifted kids from knowing what their children really need --- or giving it to them once they do learn and speak up --- are increasing all over the world! The very recent trend of requiring psychological licensure for anyone who would do an educational assessment of a child is just one such method that has become expected in several countries and more than half of our states. Someone with actual pedagogical (teaching) experience or the very visceral experience of being a gifted person or rearing gifted children (parents), going back to school for an advanced degree in anything other than psychology (and psychology licensure requires doing a 2,000 hour unpaid internship under someone who quite often doesn't even know the topic) doesn't "count" as qualified to evaluate for giftedness or guide others in how to meet their needs. Unfortunately, Dr. Finn doesn't even know about all of this gate-keeping.

I hardly know where to begin.

Gifted Programs Are Under-Funded, But ... That's Not an Adequate Excuse for Doing Nothing

Generally speaking, "lack of funding" is a smoke screen because grouping and teaching kids at the levels they are ready for (both academically and social-emotionally) doesn't require money. It does require the educators to understand giftedness (highly intelligent, rapid learning students who are usually among the smartest two or three children in the typical aged-based classroom) and the needs of the gifted learners. Therefore, it's important to make sure that anyone who will work with students (of any ages) gets the background they absolutely need-to-have in the qualities, identification, and needs of gifted learners. This exposure and educator background should be part of any educator training (teachers PK through high school, as well as administrators throughout the grade levels) in all undergraduate and graduate programming. I'm a private educational consultant who specializes in high intelligence and the "best fit" for gifted learners. Most of my work is directly with families. The stories they bring to me all have so much in common. It is a constant struggle for parents and their bright children when it comes to dealing with educators. We need to push for training the educators ... at every level, which includes the administrators who could support the best set-up within the school, provide flexibility for grouping and regrouping, and individualize the options depending on the needs of the students they have in any given year.

Read the article I wrote for The Center of the American experiment in 2010,, "How Can We Better Encourage and Reinforce the Most Entrepreneurial and Talented Among Us?"

What can you personally do about this issue when it comes to your own family? I created TalentIgniter's "Ruf Estimates of Levels of Giftedness Online Assessment",, to give parents of young children (approximately ages 4 to 10 years old) easy access to what their children need in school. If you know ahead of time, before your child learns to under-achieve or begs not to go to school each day, just how advanced your child is compared to others of the same age, you have a real "leg up" when you approach the school. If school personnel tell you that your child is just "doing fine" and the other children will "catch up" with time, you'll know whether to accept and believe that or not. And again, having or not having a "gifted program" is not an excuse for failing to place a child (perhaps your child) in a classroom where his or her learning and social needs can be met.

What Is the Purpose of the Ruf Estimates of Gifted Online Assessment and How Will It Benefit My Family?

Are you wondering if it would be worthwhile to do the Ruf Estimates of Gifted Online Assessment? Dr. Ruf describes a few of the important benefits in this short video.

What Is the Ruf Estimates of Gifted Online Assessment?

Here is a one-and-a-half minute video of Dr. Deborah Ruf describing her Ruf Estimates of Gifted Online Assessment. For more information about this unique survey, you may check out our FAQs at

Good Schools—and College—Are the Way to Financial Success, Right? “Does Intelligence Matter?” 3rd in Series by Deborah Ruf, PhD

Going to a “good school” is correlated with getting into a good college and with having a high-paying career. Well-to-do children can go to good private schools or suburban schools, but is this what makes so many of them financially successful? The teachers are well trained, well paid, smart, and provide challenging material for their students. Parental involvement is highly correlated to student success and a high percentage of college-educated parents are involved with their children’s schools. Fewer children in poverty have involved parents. These are two big reasons that so many students in “good” schools grow up to go to good colleges, get good jobs, and make plenty of money! But not so fast with those conclusions, Folks!

How to Quickly Get Started - Using the Milestone Tracker - Part 1

With our growing users of the Milestone Tracker, we're launching a series of blog posts on tips of how to maximize your use and enjoyment of this great application.

If you have not tried the Milestone Tracker, how do you quickly get started?

  • Set up a free TalentIgniter account if you don't have one yet
  • Once you have logged in to your account, you will start in your personal My Hub page
  • Add your children using the Add Family Member button
  • Use the Milestone Tracker View/Update links to view the Milestone Tracker application
  • You can immediately add milestones, photos, growth and journal entries!
  • That's it - it's that quick!

Have fun! And don't forget to send us any feedback you may have - we'd love to hear from you and how to keep improving the Milestone Tracker.

If you have not started with the Milestone Tracker for your children, it's as good a time to start now.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Top 10 Countdown for the Milestone Tracker

10. Time flies and your kids grow up so fast - each day of memorable events counts!

9. Everything in one place: milestones, photos, journal, and growth

8. Your memory is not as good as you think - you can't even remember what happened last week :)

7. Only you and the ones you share with can view your precious and private family highlights - this is not Facebook

6. You can embarrass your kids with their cute photos and words and milestones on their wedding day

5. You can impress the college admissions officer on how precocious your kids are :)

4. You'll be an even more loving and proud parent tracing how your kids grew up

3. If you fail to record their valuable milestones now, you'll kick yourself later!

2. You can pass this on to your kids as a lasting legacy which they can then pass on to their kids

1. Guaranteed to bring you a smile or a tear when you look back a year or a couple of years from now

That's why we developed the Milestone Tracker - to preserve the wonderful memories of your children... plus more.

Learn how you can start using the Milestone Tracker!

How Does My IQ Affect Me? 2nd in a series on "Does Intelligence Matter?" by Deborah Ruf, PhD

Research shows us that the average IQ difference between people who marry each other or become soul mate best friends is about 12 points on the original IQ scale.

When I was ready for 4th grade, my family moved to an area where few families had college-educated parents. Although I hadn’t had a lot of friends before moving, I wasn’t aware of being alone. In my new school, I became teacher’s helper, but when I went home each day, I threw myself on my bed and sobbed with loneliness and sadness. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Maybe it was the move and being new. I tried to be Class Clown and interrupted the teacher often to make jokes. Few kids laughed. I was trying every way I could to fit in, to make friends and to matter. One day, Tanya came up to me and said, “Debbie, I know you think you’re funny, but you’re not.” I was crushed. I didn’t know what to do.

What is IQ? 1st in a series on "Does Intelligence Matter?" by Deborah Ruf, PhD

What Is IQ?

IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. We don’t actually use intelligent quotients anymore but we do still measure for intelligence. The old IQ depended upon comparing “Mental Age” to “Chronological Age’ and only had meaning for understanding children’s intellectual abilities. For adults, getting older is no longer much of an intellectual advantage; using chronological age for them didn’t make sense. So, starting with the old Army Alpha and Beta intelligence tests developed for American military use during WWI, we’ve used standard scores that are a lot like the old IQ scores.

Most Americans have taken “IQ” tests during their school years, but most either don’t know their score (might be dangerous for people to know their scores apparently) or weren’t told what the score actually meant. If you or your children ever took an achievement test such as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, or the California Achievement Tests, or the ERBs (for private schools), the intellectual assessment was likely embedded in it. The results usually come in three scores: verbal, quantitative, and total battery. That’s your IQ! Sort of. It’s referred to as an SAI (School Ability Index) or something like that depending on how much your school feels you can handle the information.

Book Review of "Sexual Paradox" by Susan Pinker

by Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.

I loved this book!

Pinker gathers examples of what she calls "extreme men" in order to highlight some of the many differences between men and women. The main point of this book, I think, is to highlight the different choices that very highly talented or gifted people make with their lives and careers. I highly recommend it to my clients (who are parents of smart and gifted kids) to help them understand a common trajectory of gifted girls and women compared to gifted boys and men. Pinker's use of case study interviews leads to explaining why it is that there remains a gender gap in many fields and why this may be so.

I find this book especially helpful in getting parents of gifted children to understand why it is their gifted boy may appear to have ADHD in school and their gifted girl may decide after years of academic success not to pursue -- or stay in -- that highly competitive, time-consuming career that she is so qualified to pursue. Pinker repeatedly makes the distinction between outside influences and personal choices for her subjects. For my own clients, it helps to explain why so many smart, well-educated women "change their minds" about their career involvement after they have children. In my consultancy I've learned that many fathers of gifted kids feel they'd been "set up" to expect a two-earner family life-style and that their wives hadn't been sincere about their plans to be career-successful prior to the marriage and having children.

Pinker lays it all out in such a way that it really does make sense. Well done!

Giftedness and Morality

In the April issue of the Educational Options & TalentIgniter Newsletter, we featured an article from the Harvard Magazine, "The Biology of Right and Wrong." The writer, Peter Saalfield, looks at the neurological mechanisms of moral decision-making through the work of Joshua Greene. Does it come from intellect or emotion? Or perhaps from both? The article presents an interesting look at the use of brain-scanning technology in conducting moral psychology experiments.

A different look at this issue can be found in the book, "Morality, Ethics, and Gifted Minds" (, edited by Donald Ambrose & Tracy Cross, Springer Publications. This book brings together the leading thinkers from diverse scholarly fields to share and integrate their perspectives on morality and high ability (giftedness, talent, creativity). Included in the book is Dr. Ruf's chapter, Chapter on "Self-Actualization & Morality of the Gifted: Environmental, Familial, and Personal Factors." To read the first three pages of Dr. Ruf's chapter, click on

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