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Discrepancy in Terra Nova Scores and Presumed Ability

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 4th grader just received the results of his Terra Nova scores. His total score was 91. However, his CSI was 104. That being said, this is a child who has been reading since he was 4, and always interested in learning. He has never received a grade below a 92 in ANYTHING! My concern is the discrepancy. I am afraid there is more than a test taking issue, or are those scores not as bad as I think? Thanks.

A: I can understand your concern especially after what you described of him. The Cognitive Skill Index (CSI) indicates a score for basic intelligence and includes testing on analogies, memorizing picture pairs, verbal reasoning, and sequencing. The average scores here are between 95-105.

Perhaps the scores are not as bad as you think, especially a total of 91. However, there may be other reasons as to why the scores are not what you have expected. Variability in performance based on what is expected can result from non-academic factors such as test anxieties, preparedness for test taking, emotions on the day the test is taking. However, unless really serious, these influences may be marginal.

Perhaps you should see someone in his school to discuss the results and find out the reason his results are not what you and expected. There are many sections for this test and each section needs to be reviewed to look for possible problem areas. This will help you determine his strengths and weaknesses and work on his needs for optimal learning. Here's wishing you all the best.


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