IQ variations in teenagers

The article below briefly describes research about high school students and is something teachers should consider in their teaching practices. Perhaps high school teachers and educators may be able to provide anecdotal evidence of this finding about variations in student IQ. Taken from Wellcome Trust Press Release, October 20, 2011.

IQ, the standard measure of intelligence, can increase or fall significantly during our teenage years, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust, and these changes are associated with changes to the structure of our brains. The findings may have implications for testing and streaming of children during their school years. Across our lifetime, our intellectual ability is considered to be stable, with intelligence quotient (IQ) scores taken at one point in time used to predict educational achievement and employment prospects later in life. However, in a study published in the journal Nature, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) and the Centre for Educational Neuroscience show for the first time that, in fact, our IQ is not constant.  MORE...from original publication. 

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Quotes from article

We found a considerable amount of change in how our subjects performed on the IQ tests in 2008 compared to four years earlier," explains Sue Ramsden, first author of the study. "Some subjects performed markedly better, but some performed considerably worse. We found a clear correlation between this change in performance and changes in the structure of their brains and so can say with some certainty that these changes in IQ are real."

"We have a tendency to assess children and determine their course of education relatively early in life, but here we have shown that their intelligence is likely to be still developing," says Professor Price. "We have to be careful not to write off poorer performers at an early stage when in fact their IQ may improve significantly given a few more years."

More information: Ramsden, S et al. Verbal and nonverbal intelligence changes in the teenage brain, Nature, October 20, 2011.