IQ and Reading Progress: A Test of the Capacity Notion of IQ


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Concepts such as developmental reading disorder and dyslexia have been used to refer to children whose actual reading achievement is substantially below that predicted by performance on IQ tests. Such diagnostic concepts assume that IQ sets a limit on either the level of achievement or the rate of progress of which a child is capable. This assumption was investigated in a longitudinal study of an unselected cohort of 741 children whose reading achievement was assessed at ages 7, 9, 11, and 13 years. Findings on rates of progress and levels of achievement clearly indicate that IQ does not set a limit on reading progress, even in extreme low IQ children. Thus, the use of IQ tests to determine achievement potential in reading appears unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-100
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Silva and Dr. AfcGee are, respectively. Director and Deputy Director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit. Dr. Share was a visiting researcher at the Unit at the time ofthis study and was supported by a Neil Hamilton Fairley Fellowship (National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia). Limited reprints available from Dr. Share. 'I" University of Haifa, Haifa. Israel. The Unit is supported by the Medical Research Council ofNew Zealand. the Departments of Education and Health, and involves severaldepartments ofthe UniversityofOtago. The authors are indebted to the many volunteers whose contributions make this ongoing study possible. 0890-8567/89/2801-0097$02.00/0© 1989bytheAmericanAcademy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


  • IQ tests
  • developmental reading disorder
  • dyslexia
  • reading achievement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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