Where My Twins’ IQ Test Results Throw Me Into a Tizzy

Our identical (we think?) twin boys are in 1st grade now. While their speech issues hinder their spelling, they’re still performing above grade level in language arts. But math is where they really excel. This fall, G’s standardized test scores for math were the highest in the class, well above the 99th percentile threshold. Right now a parent volunteer is running a pull-out group for some of the kids who can do more challenging work, but next year that might not be an option. We wondered if the boys might be able to jump a grade for math. This isn’t something our district does readily, so we knew we’d have to push. We requested that our boys be tested for the district’s gifted program — if they qualified, we’d have the leverage we need to push for differentiation.

We were surprised by our results. G did not qualify for the gifted program, missing the cut-off by 4 IQ points. P did qualify.

Initially, I was upset with myself for even requesting the test. I hadn’t thought about the possibility of one qualifying and the other not.  Now we had this bona fide test result, on paper, saying G was less capable than his brother. And G has always struggled with self-confidence.

We had a conundrum, too. While we agreed it would be devastating to G for us to place P in the gifted program, we didn’t feel good about withholding enrichment opportunities from P just because his brother didn’t qualify. This is similar to the situation HDYDI blogger Sadia faced this year, except she was faced with moving one of her twins to first grade while the other remained in kindergarten. In researching what to do for our boys, I found this study of different twin types and their reactions to having one twin placed in a gifted program, while the co-twin was not. It definitely affirmed our gut feeling that our boys wouldn’t do well in that situation.

The more I’ve thought about it, the less I trust the IQ test results. I consulted with the director of the university speech clinic the boys attend, and she felt his speech issues could have thrown off the results. G is very aware of his articulation errors, and speaks very slowly to strangers so they can understand him. P does not make any effort to slow his speech for the benefit of others. The speech clinic director said G is likely to choose his words based on what will be easy for him to pronounce and for others to understand, rather than choosing the words that best convey his meaning. G is a kid who asks for math work on his days off of school, because he says he feels anxious on days when he doesn’t get to do math. He picked up his sister’s 4th grade math workbook and started completing the pages for fun. My other two kids who do qualify for the gifted program don’t do anything like this.

We will probably have him retested at some point, so we know what all of our options are. Our oldest child attends a charter school for academically gifted students, and our public schools have various levels of differentiation available. For now we won’t retest — G said he didn’t like the test and it was boring, so I hate to put him through the same thing with the same test administrator this school year. In the meantime we’ve decided to home school next year — we can let them work at their own pace, and provide as much enrichment as either of them needs.

What would you do? Have you run into a similar situation? How would your multiples handle one being placed in a gifted program, while the other remained in the regular classroom?


Jen is a work-from-home mom of 7-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 5 and 9. She also blogs at Minivan MacGyver. Once in a while.

12 thoughts on “Where My Twins’ IQ Test Results Throw Me Into a Tizzy

  1. My first reaction: no way, no how would I do that to my twins. Then I have to remind myself that I need my twins to be individuals, and recognize that one may excel in one area while the other excels in a different subject. *sigh* Bottom line, its another twin conundrum…

  2. That would be such a hard situation to be in. I’m sure my struggles would be similar to yours. I can say that I have been homeschooling and it has been amazing as far as letting my kids work at their own pace. My oldest two are several grades ahead in math and reading and yet they really don’t have any clue. To them, they are just working where they are at. It has created a relaxed, enriched environment for them to be challenged without concern for where they should be because of their age/grade. I think the same would apply should they be falling behind. Good luck to you on this new adventure!

  3. You decided to take the homeschool plunge for next year – great since I know you were wanting to do so. I am a multiple (triplet girls) and my sister Allie was always considered more “gifted” – it drove me crazy. I agree with you – don’t just put one in the gifted program. I am, however, all for separating multiples because of my own experiences (we strove for independence and preferred to be separated – I know your boys like being together).

  4. I think homeschooling will be great option. I plan to do it myself. I hope to find that both of us will love it. It doesn’t get more differentiated than that!

  5. I am facing a similar situation now. My identical twin girls J and J tested for a gifted program. The girls are 5 years old and have developed their own personalities. J#1 is usually all over the place and carefree where J#2 is an artist and a perfectionist. When they tested it was never a doubt in my mind they wouldn’t both be accepted. As it turns out J#1 was accepted and J#2 was not. I remember thinking…what am I going to do? I will say it is a difficult situation to be faced with to say the least. Do I hold one child back because of the other? We decided to let J#1 go into the gifted program and J#2 will do the general ed program. We didn’t explain the situation to them because they were going to put them in separate classes regardless. I know J#2 is gifted and her teachers will definitely see that and she will test next year. It will be a different experience for all of us and we have to wait and see how it goes.

  6. I am a twin. I was in gifted programs with my twin. We had another sibling who was not gifted. My parents decided not to provide my twin and me with educational enhancement to prevent my sibling from feeling bad. It made school boring for us when it could have been interesting and meant we did not make the most of potential. I support gifted education for gifted children.

    You should get your twins retested. If you can work on his speech issues or prepare him mentally for the test and how he needs to answer based on his understanding, not his speech impairment, then he may get a good enough score.

  7. Pingback: back to (home)school with twins

  8. The “your brain is like a muscle” argument is a somewhat valid one.
    Some aspects of intelligence that one of your children might be choosing to focus on more is not picked up by an IQ test. You _have_ to see your twins as biologically identical , with identical brains , and see the IQ test as a flawed test which is not testing every aspect of intelligence.

    4 points on the American modified “Feel Good” IQ test that goes to ridiculous numerical values is not much either. Read up on different standards being used around the world.

    • I absolutely disagree. Genetically “identical” does not equate to biologically identical and certainly does not equate to identical brains.

      • Of course there is the fact that individuals develop differently due to environmental causes . Disease and difference in nutrition being very prominent. Even the trauma that is birth can lead to differences, where one child can for example have suffered from hypoxia for a limited period of time leading to things like left-handedness.

        Genetically identical mammals however , being exposed to identical environments and circumstances will have brains as identical as their faces or fingerprints.

        This is not a matter of opinion. This is a scientific fact.

        • And it is scientific fact that identical twins do not have identical fingerprints. So yes, I agree that twins’ brains are as identical as their fingerprints as in, somewhat more similar than other humans, but still quite different.

  9. Scientifically speaking IQ tests only have 1 thing they can measure accurately.

    The higher your IQ score , the better you are at filling out IQ tests.

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