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Melyssa Higgins, Ph.D.

Intelligence Tests

Intelligence tests (also known as cognitive tests) provide information about a childís thinking and memory skills. Within the context of a psychoeducational evaluation, this helps to determine strengths and weaknesses that influence how easily a student acquires academic skills. It provides clues about why a child might be demonstrating a particular pattern of academic achievement.

These tests are divided into verbal and nonverbal scales, and further divided into several subtests within each scale. During the tasks making up the verbal index, the child answers questions and explains ideas verbally. No reading or writing is required to complete these activities. During the tasks making up the nonverbal index, the student uses visual-spatial reasoning to figure out patterns and relationships among pieces of information they see. Each activity is introduced with a brief explanation. Then, Dr. Higgins models an example or allows the child to practice some items with feedback. The student is encouraged to use trial-and-error as they adapt their strategies and try to discover the best solutions.

Intelligence tests also include tests of visual-motor processing-speed and working memory. The visual-motor processing-speed tasks involve the use of paper and pencil, and they emphasize the studentís ability to quickly notice, remember, and copy a set of new details. The working memory tasks involve listening to sets of spoken details and then repeating, reorganizing, or using the information immediately afterwards. These activities emphasize the ability to listen closely and divide concentration among several different pieces of information at once.

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