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The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition (K-BIT 2)

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 7-year-old has been having behavioral problems at school. My pediatrician referred him to a behavioral pediatrician who instructed us to have the school test him with the Multi-Factorial test to see if he had any learning disorders. In preschool we were told what an exceptional memory he had, they could read a story (the woman who swallowed a fly), go out for play time and then come in and have to draw what the story was about and he would know everything she swallowed and in what order.

In Kindergarten he already knew what was being taught so they assigned him computer time with a college student. In first grade he got in trouble for trying to teach other children how to do the work and correcting the teacher. Now in second grade he is not caring to do his work and disrupting class. They are learning how to make fractions, still on addition and subtraction. I told my son the concept of how the times table works and now he is teaching himself times.

He is very shy when it comes to reading out loud in class and he has a hard time making friends his own age because he likes to “play” differently. He likes to use plots and reenact scenes from movies instead of just going out and wildly playing.

Anyways, the school did a pre-testing before they would subject my son to the Multi-Factorial test and it included an IQ Score:

K-BIT-2:

Verbal 118
Nonverbal 110
IQ Composite 117

His Terra Nova scores in October 2007 were in the 5% and his Terra Nova in December he scored a 20/23. They say if they get him more confident in reading and they test him again next year they believe his IQ score will be higher.

(1) How accurate are these IQ scores given by the schools and

(2) should I be pushing for more challenging work? The teachers say he is at grade level but no one realizes, or cares, that once he learns something he gets bored going over it for the next two months. I'm not the type of mom who says my child is a “genius”, but I do believe he is extremely smart and is slipping through the cracks. I read your responses about early signs of giftedness and the majority of those cover him when he was younger. They are about to put him on anti-depressant pills for his anxiety and borderline depression which they believe has to do with his confidence levels which I believe his school has a lot to do with. 

(3) should I be doing more for him? Thank you.

A: The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition (K-BIT 2) is used to measure verbal and nonverbal cognitive ability. It is used to obtain a quick estimate of intelligence, estimate an individual's verbal versus nonverbal intelligence and/or to screen to identify students who may benefit from enrichment or gifted programs. Additionally, this test is also able to identify high-risk children through large-scale screening who may require a more comprehensive evaluation.

This test is developed by leading cognitive ability experts Alan and Nadeen Kaufman, therefore, it is assumed that this test provides highly valid, reliable results and is useful for a broad range of purposes. With the test package, a scoring and administrative manual is provided, so it is quite easy to use the materials. Hence, scores given by the school is accurate based on the correct use of the scoring manual. Having said that, the teacher in charge of the test should at least have good knowledge on the principles of measurement and in the administration and interpretation of tests. [Note: This test is researched to have a rather high correlation with the Wechsler tests (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence -WASI, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - WISC and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - WAIS).]

Based on a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15, your son scores slightly above average (about 85-115 should be within the average range on a bell curve). This means an overall score of 117 places him in the top 15% of performances. You may need to get the school to discuss the scores with you to find out areas that needs enrichment to make a more informed decision on catering for his learning needs.

I am surprised at the decision to put him on medication for his anxiety and borderline depression. Has he been diagnosed by a specialist? He is very young to be put under medications as such. Instead, there are some techniques that do not require popping of pills but requires a lot of practice and effort on the part of the parent and child. He can be taught to learn to breathe (slowly and deeply), progressive relaxation, and move toward what causes him to be anxious. Read about breathing techniques and teach him. Instead of avoiding activities that causes anxiety (which may be effective for reducing anxiety in the short term), help and encourage him to take baby steps toward his fears (his shyness in this case in reading aloud).

To help him overcome his shyness, I would recommend you read the following article from Duke University that suggests ways to help.

Hope the above helps and best of luck.


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