Paper Example on IQ Score Variance in Student: Case Study

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1324 Words
Date:  2023-05-23


A psychologist carries out intelligence screening using tests to point out students are gifted and special for a study program in the school. As per the school district policy, no new students can be admitted without screening. This case study presents a case of a student that relocates to an urban school from the rural areas. The student does two tests at an interval of two months, and a difference in the IQ score is observed.

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Immediate Reaction

This variance in scores immediately raises a question on what IQ is. Intelligence quotient (IQ) is an overall score gotten from standardized tests structured to determine human intelligence. The results derived from IQ tests give an estimation of intelligence. However, Intelligence scores are associated with such factors as environment, individual genes, and heredity.

This case raises further questions on the Ethical codes, attributes that impacted the scores and validity of the tests. Ethical codes like scores confidentiality, test security, and informed consent are put in place to ensure fairness and privacy of tests and test scores. The validity of the test is dependent on the systematic and unsystematic errors. Test-retest, as was carried out on the student, is done to confirm the consistency of an assessment over time. This test-retest of IQ is done since human intelligence is considered constant. A time interval is allowed in between the two tests example of two months as it is with this case. As seen, the student may improve their test scores in the retest. This may be attributed to the reduction of unsystematic errors that tend to lower the scores. However, they do not improve their cognitive abilities, like speed, attention, and memory.

2. Factors impacting performance on IQ tests


Heritability affects the general performance of the student in the IQ test. It is defined as the genetic input to deviation within a society. Studies on the ancestry of IQ state that there is a closeness of Intelligence Quotient in relatives. According to the Wilson effect, the IQ level increases with age until the late teen years, when it reaches an asymptote. It is then maintained at that level into adulthood. Children's intelligence is weakly dependent on genetics, while in adults, their IQ is strongly correlated to genetics. Research carried out by the American Psychological Association implies that heritability measures in infancy are as low as 0.2, around 0.4 in middle childhood, and as high as 0.9 in adulthood. Even though there is a two months' time difference, it is of minimal significance to the heritability of the student.

Environmental factors

The student's IQ level is affected by environmental factors that include: media technology, education, and exposure. Having moved to an urban area, it offered the student a more stimulating environment that might have led to increased intelligence. Media technology present in the urban areas is greatly advancing, thereby it might have required the student to use his pattern recognition skills and analytical skills to be a par with the modern media. Also, Improved the quality of education offered and increased time spent studying might have increased the intelligence levels of the student.

Individual genes

There are over 17,000 human genes claimed to affect brain development and functionality of the student. While few of single genes are related to intelligence quotient, none has a major effect on the intelligence levels. Deary and colleagues (2009) stated that there were no findings of any profound individual gene effect on intelligence. Recent research by gene associations with varying intellectual capacities in humans further shows minimal effects for any specified gene.

3. Reliability and validity concerns.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as uncomfortable room temperature, or noise may have resulted in unsystematic errors during the first test. New surroundings may have caused the student to be anxious, therefore not delivering their very best in the test. Also, mistakes made by the test administrator may have affected the reliability of the test. Even though the IQ test administrators are trained, there is always a possibility of human error. Besides, the administrator's attitude towards the student might have influenced scoring or interpretation when clinical judgment is required in the test instructions.

Test-Taker Factors

Factors associated with the student may have affected the test reliability. These factors are inadequate sleep, feeling anxious, or stressed out, and fatigue. They might have been integrated into the test performance. The tests did not give the student's exact score but rather a combination of both the real score and the error score. The real score is the student's performance, while the error-score is an error margin that is built into the test by environmental factors. The consideration of the error-score result in increased test reliability.

Administration Errors

Test instructions may have contained errors, the first time, which result in another type of systemic error. These errors may have either been in the instructions presented to the student or those given to the test administrator. Instructions that interfere with data collection (example of a time limit while as the test measure has nothing to do with speed) reduce the test reliability. Errors in question construction are systemic errors too. In case the test questions were ambiguous or confusing, test reliability decreases. This type of error can be corrected through a redesign of the test.

4. Associated Ethical Codes

Informed Consent

Consent is affirmative permission. The consent has to be presented elaborately and understandably. The purpose of the administration of the test to the student and the evaluation procedure to be used by the psychologist ought to be clearly defined. Privacy matters about who can access the results are put down here. The results shouldn't be revealed to any third party. The rights of the student, such as refusing to do the test, were included in the consent. Since it is a student being tested in this case, written consent had to be availed by the guardian or parents.

Test Security

Test Security policies are structured to offer each student a standardized, equitable, and fair chance to perform in the IQ test. Materials to be used in the test must be kept secure. Test documentation is private property and can only be revealed when instructed by the law. This is to protect the integrity of the test. There are consequences of violating these policies, which ensure valid scores and to protect every student's chance to showcase their intelligence on a fair and level ground.

Test Confidentiality

A person that knows of a test result may not disclose the test result to any third party unless stated otherwise by the law; in this case, the person is the psychologist. Test results as vital as these that assess a student's intelligence are confidential information. The release of test performance results should only be disclosed to another qualified professional after the client gives consent. It is unethical for the psychologist to disclose such information. More so, it is a Class A misdemeanor offense to let out a student's test result.


In sum, the intelligence quotient of the student is dependent on multiple factors and is made up of a multitude of factors. These two categories of factors that affect the validity of IQ tests. Systematic errors are errors in question construction and have room to be corrected through studies and reconstruction of the test. Unsystematic errors arise due to the environment or the administrator issuing the test. The Code of ethics has a direct effect on intelligence screening, as it ensures fairness and credibility. The re-testing of students for special education assists in eliminating errors, thus pinpointing gifted children.


Carson, S. H. (2009). Successful Intelligence and "Those Darn IQ Tests." PsycCRITIQUES, 54(33). doi: 10.1037/a0016711

Deary, I. J.; Johnson, W.; Houlihan, L. M. (2009). "Genetic foundations of human intelligence" (PDF). Human Genetics. 126 (1): 215-232. doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0655-4. PMID 19294424Foxcroft, C. (2011). Ethical Issues Related to Psychological Testing in Africa. Online Readings In Psychology And Culture, 2(2).

Oommen, A. (2014). Factors Influencing Intelligence Quotient. Journal of Neurology & Stroke, 1(4). doi: 10.15406/jnsk.2014.01.00023

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Paper Example on IQ Score Variance in Student: Case Study. (2023, May 23). Retrieved from

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