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This kindergarten guarantees that your child will reach IQ 140: http://toe-academy.jp/

IQ140以上を保証する託児型知能教育 万一未達の場合は教育費を全額返金いたします

Intelligence training that guarantees an IQ over 140. In the unlikely event of not reaching 140, we reimburse all expenses.

It also claims that the average IQ is 152.6 for children who have spent over 2 years there (http://toe-academy.jp/intelligence/).

Is it true that the average IQ score for children who have spent over 2 years at this academy is 152.6?

  • What exactly is the claim of which you are skeptical? That they have the guarantee that reinbuses expenses? That the average child scores 152.6 on some IQ test? That there are controlled studies which show that certain educaton methods raise IQ? – Christian Sep 25 '15 at 15:34
  • @Christian: Is it clearer now? – nic Sep 25 '15 at 15:38
  • I think it would make more sense to ask: "Is the claim true" than "can it be true". – Christian Sep 25 '15 at 15:42
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    An IQ test tells you how good a person is at solving IQ test puzzles. Nothing more and nothing less. People can be trained to improve their scores in these tests. If this is a skill which helps them in their future life is debatable. – Philipp Sep 26 '15 at 12:53
  • @Philipp: Thanks! I made your comment into a community wiki answer. – nic Sep 28 '15 at 3:39
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tl;dr- No, the claim about high IQ's appears to be based on an early definition of IQ that's no longer used. It's misleading to use this outdated definition of IQ as the claim would be very different (and far more impressive) if it were based on the current definition.

Their claim

So, using Google Translate on their webpage (as it's in Japanese):

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Achievements

IQ (IQ) is

(Score of intelligence test) ÷ (average of score of same age of child) × 100

In the infant's IQ examination,

(Age calculated from the degree of child's development) ÷ (age of children) × 100

-"About intelligence and IQ", translated by Google Translate from Japanese to English

In other words, if a 1-year old scores as well as a 2-year old, then they'd have an IQ of 200.

This leads to their claimed results:

Room duration                            Number of people    Average IQ
More than 1 month - less than 6 months          64             128.2
From 6 months to less than 12 months            73             131.3
From 12 months to less than 24 months           91             140.4
24 months or more                               14             152.6
total                                          242

and then their corresponding guarantee:

IQ 140 at 3 years old (average 3 years 7 months) that we guarantee means that the child is developing about 5 years old children. In our achievements, the IQ of a student who has been in the baby park for more than two years exceeds 150.

They're basically claiming that they can get their young students a-year-or-two ahead of their peers over the course of two years of enrollment. We haven't independently verified that claim, but it seems pretty plausible.

Inconsistency with the modern, common definition of IQ

The problem is that this isn't how we define IQ anymore. Instead, we define IQ as being performance on the IQ exam cast to a normal curve with a mean/median of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

In this definition, an IQ of 152.6 implies performance at ~3.5 ((152.6-100)/15) standard deviations above the median peer rather than performing like the median peer who's ~1.5 times older.

Practical distinction

The desire for an IQ metric has been based on the historical observation that some people are smarter than others and the desire to quantify it. In the early days, IQ was defined like the Japanese school claims, which is why it was called the Intellectual Quotient.

The problem with this old-fashion definition is that it's too mutable; it doesn't capture basic intelligence so much as preparation for a particular exam. It's this mutability that the school exploits in its claim.

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    There is also the issue of measuring intelligence in very young children. There don't seem to be much in the way of formal tests; its a matter of looking at the child's abilities and behavior. (e.g. babycenter.com/…). So by targeting "milestone" skills like knowing the alphabet or colouring inside lines you can skew the results a lot. – Paul Johnson Aug 26 '17 at 17:15
  • @PaulJohnson Definitely true. And it's further complicated by the notion of IQ getting pretty fuzzy above about 130 or so. – Nat Aug 29 '17 at 15:37

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