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Very high IQ but getting mix of A’s, B’s, C’s and D on school report.


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#1 melanieb530

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:31 AM

Open to any tips ideas or suggestions for approaching school about extending primary school age child at school. Have just had results from an IQ test back with a surprisingly high score which is not translating to results in school.  He doesn’t particularly like to apply himself to work that does not interest him.

All and any other thoughts/ideas/feedback  etc most appreciated.

#2 BadCat

Posted 23 July 2019 - 06:55 AM

In my experience, the extension work is a waste of time.

Both of my high IQ kids were so over school by the end of it that it's a miracle they attended at all.

One of them was afraid of getting low marks and so did very very well and is now at uni and doing great.

The other is currently repeating year 12, and is refusing to get out of bed this morning and it's only the second day of term 3.  He gets E's and he does not care.  I have tried everything.  There is nothing I can do.  

I recommend a psychologist to try to help him find the motivation to apply himself.  It didn't help my kid, but I didn't start in primary school either.  

And for you, accept that he may never apply himself.  It's not your fault.  If you can accept that you will save yourself an awful lot of stress.

#3 tenar

Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:02 AM

Why do you think he doesn’t apply himself?  Is he worried about getting things wrong?  Does he find it challenging to need to work at something, if other things come very easily?

Gifted kids need challenge so they can learn how to deal with failure.  If everything is easy then they don’t get the chance to learn how to cope when something isn’t easy.  

We have so far used sideways extension at home to provide challenge (piano lessons, among other things, which can be tailored to the individual very readily).  Not sure how well it’s working, mind you.

#4 Mose

Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:06 AM

There are lots of reasons why high IQ might not be translating to good grades.  Could be boredom, lack of effort, inability to click with the way a particular subject matter is taught, a hidden developmental issue (hearing, sight, low body tone), the list goes on.

If you can find an educational psychologist your child clicks with, this will give them the best opportunity to think through whatever is going on for them at school.

I think the school would need to be convinced on issuing extension work when the base isn't being done to standard that shows achievement of the outcomes (assuming in your state the grades are about attaining outcomes, rather than grades of specific work?)

Good luck!!

#5 *Spikey*

Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:08 AM

Psych Teacher here. What do you think IQ is measuring?

Why do you think it should translate to high scores? It doesn't for many people. The measurement is very narrow, and it doesn't talk about skills (how to acquire and apply knowledge) or motivation to engage with subjects that aren't interesting.

You need to look at something else to provide a solution to getting him to the trough and drinking on those subjects your child is not that interested in. A C says that he is very intelligent, because he isn't putting much effort at all into the subject....

#6 lizzzard

Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:33 AM

A slight aside and certainly no criticism of you OP, but I do think it’s interesting how parents often feel a compulsion to align IQ and school results... in contrast, my body was assessed as being biometrically ideal for swimming when I was younger (ratio of shoulder width to hip width, muscle mass to fat etc). Physically I had the potential to be a great swimmer (apparently). Interestingly I probably had a pretty good psychometric profile for it too.... But I hate cold water, and my mum was disinclined to get up so early for squad practice. She didn’t feel any compulsion for me to reach my swimming potential 🤣 I wonder why intellectual potential has such a status in society that it is supposed to trump other factors (like interests, drive etc) in determining one’s path in life?

#7 ERipley

Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:39 AM

OP, which test did your child do? We’re there any major differences with working memory or processing speed, for example?

#8 Pooks Combusted

Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:07 AM

What does interest him? Plenty of successful people with so-so school results.

#9 Abernathy

Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:31 AM

Echoing pp, extension programs at school have been useless for my kids. Just lots of box ticking so the school can say it provided extension. Blah! We do lots of stuff at home that the kids are interested in (they read and write non-stop, do extra curricular stuff that interests them and online courses in things they want to do like coding etc... There’s heaps of stuff that schools have no ability to offer within the school day.) I certainly don’t blame the school but they cannot manage all the different learning needs of the kids at school. You and your kid have to find workable, engaging options at home.

#10 RuntotheRiver

Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:32 AM

I think its more beneficial if kids find an interest. Things they love to learn about.  This may not relate to everything, but why should it?  You can bet he will probably go really well in the subjects he enjoys and that is great.

I often find the issue with expectations on kids who have been IQ tested and tested well, the expectation they ace most subjects at school. There needs to be interest and motivation also.

Edited by RuntotheRiver, 23 July 2019 - 08:33 AM.


#11 born.a.girl

Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:44 AM

Funnily enough, I just came across my daughter's testing.  The results overall were high, but the various areas tested have results ranging from 'very superior' way down to several 'average' in the working memory index, and some of those were THE bottom figure for average, which is a wide range.


That last big was separately tested by an audiologist and found to be three years behind her age group.

It wouldn't matter how brilliant she was block design and symbol matching if she's lost track of what the teacher's asking her to do three seconds in.

If the results are even overall, then you've got a different situation from someone with dramatically different results across the board.

#12 Gudrun

Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:45 AM

he's too smart to apply himself if he doesn't see the point.

I don't think applying oneself is compulsory.

If he's distressed then that is a whole different question.  If he's content and doing stuff that interests him then I would be fine with that.

#13 seayork2002

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:04 AM

Only speaking of myself, I am pretty sure I could get high scores on an IQ test BUT to be perfectly honest this means only that I can get high scores doing IQ tests.

Maths is a strong subject for me personally but that is about it - my school results of varying scores was accurate for me.

And if I had a dollar for every person who has a 'bright' child I would be a very rich person.

My son is not getting the best school reports but they are accurate, he is getting there in his own way

#14 molinero

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:05 AM

Without sounding like a brag, this was me. Never had my IQ tested but attended selective HS. Horrible grades, failed year 10 maths, etc.

Changed schools, selected a mixture of subjects I actually gave a toss about. ATAR (then UAI) in the high 90's.

I was stubborn kid and if I wasn't interested in it, I simply wasn't doing it.

You may find your son's approach changes once he gets to HS and begins studying a range of different subject areas. Eventually, he may find a stream (maths, sciences, arts, languages, humanities, technology) which interests him. Once he's in mid HS he should be brainstorming about what he wants to do after HS. Uni? Tafe? What subjects does he need to have under his belt before that tertiary study? Once there is a goal in mind, it becomes a lot easier to apply oneself.

Looking back on my early teen years, I do think I was bored. Had I been given an extension in a subject actually liked, maybe I would've put in more effort.

#15 ipsee

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:22 AM

This thread has gone a strange way - normally EB recommends extension for bored but bright kids who aren't getting high marks.

OP - I hope you can find a way to extend your boy without pushing him to the point of stress for either of you.

#16 ERipley

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:37 AM

View Postipsee, on 23 July 2019 - 09:22 AM, said:

This thread has gone a strange way - normally EB recommends extension for bored but bright kids who aren't getting high marks.

OP - I hope you can find a way to extend your boy without pushing him to the point of stress for either of you.

It sounds like some bad personal experiences. My son is being extended fairly well at school, but that’s because he’s given special activities that follow his interests and they are given instead of the usual work, not on top of. Giving a bright kid more boring work on top of what they have is a recipe for disaster.

I think it’s a concern if a high IQ child isn’t doing well at school just because it flags disengagement or the possibility of learning problem. Things come so easily to these children. If they are engaged then getting good marks shouldn’t be a problem. I couldn’t care less about marks most of the time except for what it might be revealing about my child’s happiness.

#17 RuntotheRiver

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:43 AM

I agree, same of the same, but harder... won't give them more motivation.

So many ways to add extra curricular activities of interest, there is so much available these days.  

Classrooms are not exactly super inspiring places to be everyday!

#18 Julie3Girls

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:48 AM

I guess it depends on why you had his IQ tested.
And the details of what it showed.
And what his general attitude to learning is.

My dd2 is very much one that is very bright (no iq test), but if it doesn’t interest her, she can’t be bothered. It as noticed by her kinder teacher, and still like it now in year 10.

We did have some success in early primary, with talking to her, and explaining that the teacher can’t give her more interesting work, unless she proves she can do the boring work.  Had some limited success with this, but again, mainly in things she was interested in. And dependent on the teacher ... having to repeatedly do the easy boring stuff would quickly turn her off the subject.

Found high school was better, as things were broken down in to individual subjects. But even then, her science teacher commented on how there are some units of work that simply don’t interest her.

Fortunately, even in the subjects that she cruises in, she still gets really good grades

Some teachers are good at extension, and do in naturally, others not so much.
Add things in at home - for us it was dance, music and a LOT of reading.

Edited by Julie3Girls, 23 July 2019 - 09:50 AM.


#19 BeAwesome

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:48 AM

I've got a bright kid (not tested, just general high achiever), and when she's finding school uninteresting, I just give her opportunities outside of school to pursue what she's interested in - currently performing arts, taekwondo, space science).

#20 SeaPrincess

Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:16 AM

One of my children is underperforming, which his teacher noted on his report last semester. She had him 2 years ago and used to be the extension teacher, so she knows him well. He’s just not that into school, and hasn’t really grasped the idea that if he does well at school, he can do anything he wants. We are working on motivation, and he responds well to extrinsic motivation. I am opposed to paying for As, so we have agreed to pay for every attitudinal rating that moves up to Consistent.

Hopefully he’ll be more engaged at high school. Time will tell.

#21 CallMeFeral

Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:26 AM

View Postipsee, on 23 July 2019 - 09:22 AM, said:

This thread has gone a strange way - normally EB recommends extension for bored but bright kids who aren't getting high marks.

EB doesn't like parents thinking their kids are smarter than their marks suggest. You have to frame it as a difficulty otherwise there's a tall poppy kind of thing that happens.

#22 Coffeegirl

Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:37 AM

Anecdote here.  My BIL has almost a genius IQ.  Yet he barely finished high school.   He’s started and quit half a dozen university degrees.   He can’t hold down a job for more than a year.   He’s musically gifted as well, with 4 albums produced and has written three acclaimed books.

Yet he just struggles to stick with anything.  Once he accomplishes something he loses all interest.  He’s living on the dole right now because he can’t hold down a job, and at 50 can barely sustain himself let alone his two kids.

High IQ doesn’t necessarily = high achiever



#23 born.a.girl

Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:22 AM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 23 July 2019 - 10:26 AM, said:

EB doesn't like parents thinking their kids are smarter than their marks suggest. You have to frame it as a difficulty otherwise there's a tall poppy kind of thing that happens.

I actually think it's more a reflection of how we now know a single IQ figure is not terribly relevant.

I'd have been concerned if my daughter wasn't enjoying her artistic subjects enough to do well at them.

At the same time, i just did an  eye roll at the repeated 'A needs to concentrate better', like auditory processing deficits are irrelevant.

#24 Gumbette

Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:27 AM

DD had the exact same problem.  After her IQ test came back her developmental pediatrician commented that she's obviously getting straight 'A's when nothing could be further from the truth.  She was getting a couple of A's some B's with a couple of 'C's.  Turned out she had inattentive ADHD.  She's on Ritalin now and comes home with mostly 'A's and a couple of 'B's.

#25 melanieb530

Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:48 AM

Love all the different perspectives, keep them coming.

Badcat - I think yours is perhaps the very best advice here in letting go any expectation of doing well - thank you, it was helpful to read that as the opening comment.

Tenar - he doesn't feel like doing things if they are not interesting. e.g. has previously been known to say quite loudly while the principal is speaking at school assembly and everyone is quiet, "When will this talking be finished, this is not interesting to me." however we have improved from here and he now he mostly accepts that is not OK to make comments to teachers/principal etc that things aren't interesting and that he is supposed to do the work given.

Spikey - I think IQ measures ability to answer questions on an IQ test. It doesn't measure the ability to do anything else
however as per

Coffee girl's example we would like him to be able to hold down a job as an adult.

ERipley was a WISC 5 which identified that his processing speed was very low in comparison to everything else (only slightly over 100 so average) All the other areas were exceptionally high.

Julie3Girls - we started seeing a psychologist specifically recommended by one of his teachers. After a number of sessions, the psychologist recommended an IQ test which we proceeded with.
Julie - the "you have to do the boring work first and then do the interesting work" strategy is being used well at school currently as a motivator. Main interest is maths and he is easily able to complete maths homework given to his sibling who is 5 years older. He's very happy when I write maths problems out for him to solve (I need to check the answers at the back of the book to see if he has them right.)

Would no doubt enjoy completing a maths degree at Uni...




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