What Is the Leiter Test?

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Last Update Date: 30 April 2021

Most IQ tests are designed to test the intelligence of typically-functioning people and to evaluate if they have special needs or if they are gifted etc. But which tests should your child take if they are already diagnosed with a mental impairment or if they have a learning disability?

As there are several different methods that can help evaluate your children's intelligence, tests like the Stanford-Binet intelligence test and the Wisc-r intelligence test, which are some of the most popular assessments, have certain requirements that may not be suitable for all children. For example, the Stanford-Binet intelligence test may need to be administered with certain adjustments for children with physical disabilities (e.g. frequent breaks between tasks).

This is where the Leiter intelligence test steps in. Being one of the five most used international tests in the world, the Leiter test is a nonverbal IQ test that helps evaluate intelligence on more cognitive and intellectual bases, and which has fewer requirements compared to other IQ tests. Read more into our article to learn how the Leiter IQ test differs from others and to figure out if your children should take it.

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Who Should Take the Leiter Test?

There have been different versions of the Leiter test until this day (Leiter, Leiter R, etc.). As its first versions were only suitable for children aged 2 to 20, the latest version Leiter-3 test, which was revised in 2013, is used for ages 2 to 75+. Therefore, not only children, but also adults that have special needs can take the Leiter 3 assessment as well.

As mentioned earlier, the Leiter assessment is a nonverbal assessment. It is considered to be a fair testing for children all around the world as it doesn't require knowledge of any specific language. It is also suitable for children with the conditions below:

child and mother consulting adhd specialist

The fact that the Leiter IQ test is able to measure the intelligence of the children with the abovementioned special conditions makes it more preferable among parents who want to give their children the best education and support that they can.

Meanwhile, this test also allows to track the development of the kids that experience these conditions and helps the parents, educators and professionals to improve or continue the treatment that they’re applying.

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How Does the Leiter International Performance Scale Work?

The latest Leiter international performance scale, i.e. the Leiter 3 test, is administered by having children respond to illustrations, sequences, patterns and etc. on a frame display using movable cards, blocks, or foams with pictures and manipulatives on them.

The test varies according to three different age groups:

  • 3-5 years of age
  • 6-10 years of age
  • 11-75+ years of age

Here are the main domains (scales) and their subtests that the Leiter test includes:

Fluid Intelligence Scale (Cognitive Skills)

Cognitive skills are not based on the children’s educational, social and family background so the outcomes of the Leiter test are more reliable and accurate. This domain contains 5 subtests:

  1. Sequential Order (SO)
  2. Form Completion (FC)
  3. Classification and Analogies (CA)
  4. Figure-Ground (FG)
  5. Matching/Repeated Patterns (M/RP)

Memory & Attention Scale

Taking the memory and attention subtests are optional, but it is important to mention that they provide information that helps distinguish individuals with ADHD, LD or neuropsychological impairments, from typically-functioning individuals. They consist of 5 subtests:

  1. Forward Memory (FM)
  2. Attention Sustained (AS)
  3. Reverse Memory (RM)
  4. Nonverbal Stroop (NS)
  5. Attention Divided (AD)

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Examiner Rating Scale

This last domain gathers information on the child in the following social-emotional categories:

  1. Attention
  2. Organization Skills
  3. Impulse Control
  4. Activity Level
  5. Anxiety
  6. Energy and Feelings
  7. Mood Regulation
  8. Sociability
  9. Sensory Reactivity

During all the domains of the Leiter test, the instructor only uses gestures, facial expressions and pantomimes to communicate with the child.

Each subtest has to be completed in a specific amount of time. However, if the child struggles or fails to complete it, the instructor can move on to another subtest and return to it later on.

How Is the Leiter International Performance Scale Scored?

The Leiter International Performance Scale outcome is based on cumulative rather than consecutive errors and each subtest has its own rules to be evaluated. These evaluations help identify the strengths and weaknesses in individual skills, along with their skill sets.

Who Can Administer the Leiter International Performance Scale?

Professionals from the psychological counseling and guidance, psychology, or psychological services industries, as well as those who have been certified by the private sector can administer the Leiter test.

On the other hand, there are tests that are sold online for parents who want to apply the Leiter test to their children on their own. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that comprehensive knowledge is required to be able to conduct the Leiter test properly, as it affects the outcome greatly.

girl at child psychologist’s office

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is the Leiter Test Autism-Friendly?

Yes, it is. It is designed to emphasize fluid intelligence which accurately measures an individual's innate cognitive abilities. Meanwhile, its block-and-frame format allows the Leiter test to be taken by autistic children.

Is the Leiter Test ADHD-Friendly?

Yes, it is. Specifically, the memory and attention domains of the Leiter international performance scale help distinguish individuals with ADHD from typically-functioning individuals.

Is the Leiter IQ Test the Same as Any Other IQ Test?

No, it isn’t. The main point that differentiates the Leiter IQ test from any other is that it is nonverbal. If you are looking for a standardized IQ test, feel free to take our MentalUP IQ Test!

Can the Results of a Leiter Test Change Overtime?

Yes, they can. Apart from evaluating cognitive and other intellectual abilities, the Leiter test is also used to track the improvement of children with ADHD, autism, learning disorders, and other mental impairments. Therefore, with the proper support and education, the results can show improvement.

Are you looking for a fun and practical way to assess your children’s mental skills? Our scientific app MentalUP offers a free online IQ test that evaluates the five mental skills that children need the most improvement in:

  • memory skills
  • concentration skills
  • logic skills
  • visual skills
  • verbal skills

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And, don’t forget to follow our MentalUP Blog for more parenting tips and useful information on your child’s mental development.