Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Student Makes a Study of Intelligence Quotients

DEAR ABBY: What, exactly, is a person's "IQ," and how is it determined? -- A STUDENT IN GREEN BAY, WIS.

DEAR STUDENT: "IQ" stands for intelligence quotient, and it is determined by assigning a number to the level of skills attained on a standardized test. This number, sometimes called the "mental age" or M.A., is divided by the chronological age (C.A.) and then multiplied by 100. The total reflects one's comparison to a standardized group of this age.

For educational purposes, the IQ scores are categorized as follows: 125 to 140 or higher -- gifted; 115 or higher -- highly intelligent; 100 -- average.

Educable: An IQ of 50 to 75. One who can be educated academically to the level of an average child of 9 to 11 years of age, can socially adjust to family and home, and can occupationally support themselves totally or partly.

Trainable: An IQ of 25 to 50. One who can be trained to perform self-care skills such as dressing, feeding and toilette, can socially adjust to the home and neighborhood, and can gain some degree of ability such as routine tasks within the home or in a sheltered environment under supervision.

A person with an IQ under 25 usually requires nursing care, and is considered totally dependent.

DEAR ABBY: My grown daughter is my best friend. She has given me some of life's greatest joys -- and sorrows. She is supportive, loving and generous, but she also "steals" from me. In spite of my arguments, threats and pleas, she fraudulently charges on my credit cards and is dishonest when confronted with her wrongs.

I am a widow on a fixed income and cannot continue to see my savings depleted to pay her bills. I've considered moving far away to protect myself, but am dependent on her for the good times, love and friendship we share, plus she is the mother of the grandson who is the light of my life.

Recently she began counseling to help cure her compulsive spending, and deal with her anxiety and guilt.

I do not want to jeopardize her job or her marriage, but I am desperate to find a way to help her and protect my financial security. Please help me. -- GOING DOWN THE DRAIN

DEAR GOING: Notify the stores where you have charge accounts that no one other than you may use your charge account. Then tell your daughter that in order to protect yourself from bankruptcy -- and herself from humiliation and trouble with the law -- she must not attempt to charge anything on your accounts.

Since your daughter is in counseling to overcome her compulsive spending, at least she's trying. Let's hope she succeeds.

Want your phone to ring? Get Abby's booklet, "How to Be Popular" -- for people of all ages. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600