The overwhelming majority of the research on the historical impact of IQ in special education has focused on children with cognitive disorders. Far less is known about its role for students with emotional concerns, including Emotional Disturbance (ED). To address this gap, the current study examined IQ trends in ED children who were repeatedly tested on various combinations of the WISC, WISC-R, and WISC-III using a geographically diverse, longitudinal database of special education evaluation records. Findings on test/re-test data revealed that ED children experienced IQ trends that were consistent with previous research on the Flynn effect in the general population. Unlike findings associated with test/re-test data for children diagnosed with cognitive disorders, however, ED re-diagnoses were unaffected by these trends. Specifically, ED children’s declining IQ scores when retested on newer norms did not result in changes in their ED diagnosis. The implications of this unexpected finding are discussed within the broader context of intelligence testing and special education policies.
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