IQ tests to nurture gifted

August 4, 1995

I agree with James Tooley and Richard Lynn (THES, July 7, 28) in that subject-specific IQ tests would target the individual needs of schoolchildren. There is little point in forcing children to learn at standard classroom speed subjects for which they have the potential to develop quicker than the norm.

If children of exceptional ability are taught together then they are far more likely to develop a passion for learning. Perhaps this is where nature and nurture merge; nature provides the creative potential but the development of such potential depends on early identification and the adoption of specifically targeted and accelerated learning programmes.

The grammar school system aimed to identify and to segregate the more able, but clumsily grouped children who performed above a standard criterion on a scholastic aptitude test. Perhaps it would be more elegant to use IQ testing to differentiate more finely those children whose potential places them so above the norm that their abilities warrant the description "special needs".

While "giftedness" remains a politically incorrect word we shall continue to waste our most important national asset.

Julie Baxter Director of Mensa Enabling Courses Ormskirk, Lancs

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