IDEAL Solutions was developed by the Belin-Blank Center as an efficient and effective way to make sense of above-level test scores. Recommendations are based on more than two decades of experience with administering and interpreting above-level tests to high-ability children.

Group of smiling children
Boy building bridge

Why Above-Level Testing?

It is common for high-ability children to score at – or above-- the 95th percentile grade-level standardized tests (e.g., a 4th grader taking the 4th grade version of the Iowa Assessments).

When students score that highly, they have essentially reached the ceiling of that test, and it ceases to be useful information. Although this can tell us what they’ve learned, it doesn’t tell us what they are ready to learn next.

That’s why the Belin-Blank Center recommends administering an above-level test (a test intended for older students) to children scoring at the 95th percentile or higher in any subject on a grade-level standardized test. A more challenging test give students more space to show what they know and what they are ready to learn next.

IDEAL Solutions is the next step; it analyzes the child’s scores and provides a detailed interpretation. IDEAL Solutions provides a starting point for discussions about curriculum interventions that fit the child and their school.

Boy measuring science project

The Tests


I-Excel is an online test that uses a platform developed by the Belin-Blank Center for use as an above-level assessment for very capable 4th through 6th graders.

I-Excel licenses content developed by ACT that was designed to measure academic progress of junior high students. From that content, Belin-Blank has been identifying the academic talents of bright 4th through 6th grade students for over 20 years.

After testing, the scores appear in IDEAL Solutions automatically.

I-Excel is available three different ways:

  • BESTS In-School

    For groups of 4 or more students, educators can set up a test date in their school any day of the week (weekends, too!). Learn more.
  • Individual Testing

    For 1-3 students, parents or educators can set up a test date anytime (a licensed educator must proctor the test). Learn more.
  • Test dates at the Belin-Blank Center


ACT is the above-level test for 7th-9th graders, available through national testing dates across the United States. Learn more.

After testing, you will enter the scores into IDEAL Solutions (parents only).