IQ stands for intelligence quotient. Supposedly, it is a score that tells one how “bright” a person is compared to other people. The average IQ is by definition 100; scores above 100 indicate a higher than average IQ and scores below 100 indicate a lower that average IQ. Theoretically, scores can range any amount below or above 100, but in practice they do not meaningfully go much below 50 or above 150.
Half of the population have IQ’s of between 90 and 110, while 25% have higher IQ’s and 25% have lower IQ’s:
Descriptive Classifications of Intelligence Quotients
IQ Description % of Population
130+ Very superior 2.2%
120-129 Superior 6.7%
110-119 High average 16.1%
90-109 Average 50%
80-89 Low average 16.1%
70-79 Borderline 6.7%
Below 70 Extremely low 2.2%
It is necessary to be very cautious in using a descriptive classification of IQ’s. The IQ is, at best, a rough measure of academic intelligence. It certainly would be unscientific to say that an individual with an IQ of 110 is of high average intelligence, while an individual with an IQ of 109 is of only average intelligence.
Such a strict classification of intellectual abilities would fail to take account of social elements such as home, school, and community. These elements are not adequately measured by present intelligence tests. Furthermore, it would not take account of the fact that an individual may vary in his test score from one test to another.
Measures of intelligence may be valuable — although the value is often overrated — but much harm can be done by persons who try to classify individuals strictly on the basis of such measures alone.
No one should be either alarmed or discouraged if he finds that his IQ is not as high as he might have hoped. Remember that many elements besides IQ contribute to success and happiness.
This article was compiled by Susan du Plessis. Visit her website: www.audiblox2000.com