Normal IQ Level for a Child

While they may seem brilliant to you, how can you know for sure that your little one is truly tops in intelligence or struggling to keep up? Determining a child’s IQ, intelligence quotient, can be challenging. Once you understand the basics of IQ testing and what the normal range is for children, you can better determine if there are concerns about how a child is developing and be better equipped to approach their growth to help them meet their full potential.

Definition and Significance of IQ Testing

IQ is the measure of general intelligence of a child or person. The French psychologist Alfred Binet, along with a physician, Theodore Simon, developed the Binet-Simon Test in the early 1900s. The Binet-Simon Test was designed to measure the intelligence of mentally handicapped children.

Through testing, it was observed that gaps in children’s mental age and chronological age widened as they aged. In 1912, German psychologist William Stern created a ratio to correlate with the gap, and it was named the intelligence quotient (IQ). Intelligence quotient is defined as 100 times the mental age (MA) divided by the chronological age (CA).

How IQ is Tested

Available are several different IQ tests, such as the Stanford-Binet, the California Test of Mental Maturity and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Some tests are timed while others are individually administered without time restrictions. The best IQ-test results are obtained when a child takes more than one test.

IQ Range

The average IQ is considered 100. For children, IQ can range from 0 to 250. The majority of children tested have IQ ranges from 80 to 120. Each IQ range has a classification. According to, an IQ of 140 and greater is considered genius, 120-140 is thought of as very superior intelligence, 110-120 is considered superior intelligence, 90-110 is normal or average, 70-80 is a borderline deficiency, and below 70 is thought of as cognitively delayed.

Expert Insight

According to Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, who holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Cambridge in England, it is challenging to accurately determine the IQ of any individual, including a child. An IQ test can show signs of giftedness or intelligence deficiencies. Each child is special is his or her own way. Sandhu suggests instead of focusing solely on IQ scores, encourage children to excel at their strengths and areas of interest they enjoy while paying attention to weak areas that may need reinforcement.


Whether high or low, normal or gifted, your child's number isn't everything. IQ is simply a number, which is based on one measure of academic intelligence. Labeling a child gifted or learning disabled can both cause stress if too much emphasis is put on the IQ over other areas of the child's abilities and gifts. Test scores can vary and often do not take into account social considerations. Individual test scores can vary each time your child goes in for testing. IQ testing can be done with children as young as 3, but children shouldn’t be ranked solely on testing alone. The value of the IQ is to assist your child in their growth and help them, and you, to meet their full potential.