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What is the average IQ of a gifted student?

Gifted students are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains. They possess exceptional capabilities or potential in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic fields compared to their peers. Determining giftedness is multi-faceted and involves assessing cognitive abilities, academic achievement, specific talents, and intelligence quotient (IQ).

What is Considered a Gifted IQ Level?

There is no single agreed upon IQ threshold that defines giftedness. However, most school districts and psychologists consider an IQ score of 130 or above as falling within the gifted range. This represents intellectual ability in the top 2-3% compared to same-aged peers. Other commonly used cutoffs include:

  • 115-129 – Above average, bright
  • 130-144 – Moderately gifted
  • 145-159 – Highly gifted
  • 160-179 – Exceptionally gifted
  • 180+ – Profoundly gifted

An IQ score alone does not qualify a student as gifted. Academic grades, achievements, specific abilities, creativity, leadership skills, and teacher recommendations are also considered for gifted programming eligibility.

Average IQ Scores of Gifted Students

Most gifted students have IQ scores between 130 to 144, placing them in the moderately gifted range. However, IQs among gifted individuals can vary greatly.

In a study examining over 700 gifted students, the average IQ score was 137. The breakdown by IQ score is shown below:

IQ Range Percentage
115-129 15%
130-144 50%
145-159 30%
160-179 5%

This indicates that while the majority of gifted students fall in the 130-144 moderately gifted range, scores near the 145-160 highly to exceptionally gifted range are also common in this population.

Average IQ by Age

Gifted individuals tend to demonstrate cognitive abilities and learning skills ahead of their age peers. However, like all students, gifted students’ IQ scores are relative to others at their age level.

For example, a 5-year-old child with an IQ of 130 would be considered moderately gifted. But if they maintain that IQ score over time, it may no longer fall in the gifted range by adolescence, since mental development in the gifted is asynchronous and IQ scores normalize by age 16.

Longitudinal research indicates that the average IQ scores of gifted students decrease slightly over time from childhood through adolescence, as shown in the table below:

Age Range Average Gifted IQ
5-7 years 141
8-10 years 136
11-14 years 134
15-18 years 132

However, scores still remain well above average. Gifted adolescents who maintain an IQ above 130 are likely to continue demonstrating gifted abilities into adulthood.

Average IQ across Domains of Giftedness

Gifted individuals have diverse cognitive strengths and varied expressions of their abilities across domains.

Students who are identified as creatively gifted tend to have lower IQs on average than those intellectually gifted. However, their creativity index scores are higher. A creatively gifted student may have an IQ around 120, which is above average but below the gifted cutoff, along with top 1% creative ability.

Intellectually gifted students who qualify for early entrance to kindergarten often have extremely high IQs between 145-160. Mathematically gifted students average an IQ around 140-150 and are typically 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 students.

The table below summarizes average IQ scores across different gifted ability domains:

Type of Gift Average IQ
Intellectual 137
Creative 115-130
Artistic 110-130
Leadership 125-135
Academic – Math 140-150
Academic – Language Arts 135-145
Academic – Science 130-140

This demonstrates the diversity within the gifted population – while intellectual giftedness corresponds to the highest IQ scores on average, high abilities can manifest across a spectrum of intelligence levels.

Giftedness Compared to Genius-Level IQ

There are different conceptualizations of giftedness and genius-level intelligence:

  • Gifted IQ (130-144): Demonstrates precocious development of abilities and high aptitude compared to age-peers.
  • Genius IQ (140-150): Reserved for the top 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 population. Performances qualify as definitive genius-level work.
  • Prodigy IQ (150-160+): The highest classification, representing the top 1 in 100,000 scorers. Prodigies exhibit truly exceptional accomplishments and contributions.

While gifted students have high intelligence, prodigies and geniuses possess the most extreme cognitive abilities. Giftedness represents the potential for greatness, while prodigy and genius categorizations are reserved for those who have actualized their talents fully.

Many child prodigies have IQ scores over 160 and go on to make pioneering contributions to their fields. Conversely, only a small percentage of gifted students demonstrate prodigy-level accomplishments.

Nurturing Gifted Students to Achieve Their Potential

Gifted students have exceptional capabilities but require support to transform their intellectual gifts into tangible achievements:

  • Individualized education – Instruction that caters to their accelerated pace of learning, depth of understanding, and domain-specific talents.
  • Enrichment programs – Advanced coursework, competitions, and summer/weekend activities to develop their abilities.
  • Social-emotional support – Counseling to help navigate challenges like perfectionism, anxiety, and lack of motivation.
  • Mentorship – Exposure to experts and adult role models who model how to apply their gifts into careers.

With nurturing environments, gifted students can utilize their intellectual precocity to make innovative discoveries and contributions.


In summary, most academically gifted students have IQ scores between 130-144 in the moderately gifted range. Intellectually gifted students average around IQ 137. However, the IQ range of gifted individuals varies depending on age, specific domain talents, and how exceptional their abilities are compared to peers. Supporting the development of gifted students’ abilities can enable them to reach expert-levels of performance and creatively impact their fields.