Disparity between Verbal and Nonverbal Scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My 6 year old daughter (in Kindergarten) has always appeared
gifted in that she knew how to spell her name at 18 months,
had 1:1 correspondence at 26 months, could read at 4, is now
reading at 3rd grade levels, has always required little rest
or sleep time, and is exceedingly creative. She just had a
K-Bit test administered at school and scored a 133 verbal,
96 nonverbal. Her nonverbal age equivalent was younger than
her age and by all accounts from her teachers, friends and
family she is exceedingly mature for her age. The
administrator said that the split is fairly uncommon.
Educators in our family as well as ourselves (parents) are
confused. She had an off day that day and was exhausted but
I don't know whether that would have had any effect on the
test results. It is a shock to say the least and she cannot
now qualify for "gifted" testing this spring. Can you share
any thoughts about the disparity? Should we continue testing
"outside the system" or be working on any areas with her? My
research suggests constructing maps but she is already quite
adept at navigational computer games, constructive play in
terms of building toys and models, as well as
sketching/drawing. Thank you!
A: A little about the test; the
Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) is a brief,
individually administered screener of verbal and nonverbal.
The scales have some benefits; it is quick and easily
administered by a wide range of personnel. The nonverbal
test is ideal for non-readers, the hearing impaired and
learning disabled. By measuring two distinct cognitive
functions through two subtests, K-BIT gives a balanced
A significant disparity between verbal and nonverbal scores
may as in your daughter's case may suggest a language
difficulty but I'm afraid that's about all I can tell.
However, based on the description of people around her, this
is rather strange. Nevertheless, just basing on the scores
alone, it is really hard to determine the reason for the
disparity. It is also possible that her emotions and anxiety
level on the day of the test may have influenced the
results; however, the gap should not have been that wide.
You may want to further monitor her learning to determine if
indeed there is any area of concern. Alternatively, you may
want to get a second opinion professionally by testing her.
My suggestion is that for now; get a second opinion outside
the system as you mentioned to understand the problem. Here
is wishing the best of luck.