Lower than Expected Score on KBIT-2
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I had my son screened for giftedness
last week. He is 6 years old and graduating Kindergarten. We have known
since he was not even 2 that he was a very bright child. He was doing
puzzles at 18m and doing 100 piece puzzles at 4.5yo. He was in preschool
reading while the others were learning the alphabet. Last year at the
end of pre-school the teachers told me that we could skip kindergarten
and put him in 1st grade. He loves animals and dinosaurs, can tell you
what type, the long names of ones I have never heard of, if they are
herbivores or carnivores, etc.
He is great at adding in his head large numbers and started
multiplication. He knows the continents and countries and where exotic
animals come from, etc. He has what I call a photographic memory. He
just amazes us. This year in Kindergarten seemed to be a waste because
he was bored and knew what they were teaching already. That was our
concern this year was that he would get in trouble and not learn much.
His teacher finally gave him the 4th grade dolce words because he can
read and spell all of their site words, she didn't know what else to do
with him. He has been reading chapter books all year long, while most
kids were learning how to read Cat and Hat.
He says he's dehydrated instead of I'm thirsty. He draws creative animal
pictures and just loves learning things. We take him to the zoo and he
reads all of the captions. He knows all of the planets and the orders
the are in and which planets are made out of what materials. I mean just
loves to learn this stuff. We don't know what to do with him. So we
finally got him tested (KBIT-2) and we were shocked. His scores were so
low. Now mind you, I don't know how the tests are given or scores but
the teacher had never done this before so I don't know if that even
matters. But his score was a 110??? We had friends that are not as
bright as him score much higher. It's so weird and we don't know what to
make of it. I just copied the list on this website of characteristics of
gifted and I know he fits most of these categories. Now that the school
year is over and he was tested, does he have to wait a whole year to be
What do we or can we do? I know he's above average at most things and we
just don't want him to lose interest in school from being bored.
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, therefore, it is assumed
that this test provides highly valid, reliable results and is useful for
a broad range of purposes.
Based on a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15, your son's overall
score is a little above average (about 85-115 should be within the
average range on a bell curve). This means an overall score of 110
places him in the top 15% of performances (though it may not be enough
for a gifted program admission). 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. If the
school decided that the scores do not meet the criteria for a gifted
program, they may have their reasons for doing so which they should
explain to you. Most schools have multiple criteria for admission into
the gifted program and IQ scores are usually well above average for
students to benefit most from such programs.
There is no detailed breakdown of the result, hence a little hard to
tell what brought the scores down. In the first section of this test, a
child is tested on receptive knowledge so a child who is exposed to a
lot of verbal communication throughout their growth years would tend to
score high. The next sections are riddles and yet another section would
be matrices. For matrices, a child is required to look at patterns and
pick matching patterns. Apparently this test itself is a good indicator
of ability regardless of lingual ability. In brief, the KBIT-2 consists
of an IQ composite score with two subtests that is Vocabulary (verbal,
crystallised) and Matrices (nonverbal, fluid). Each of the item is
scored 1 point for a right answer or 0 points for an incorrect answer.
Do take note that the KBIT-2 samples only limited areas of cognitive
functioning and does not measure processing speed or working memory
It is naturally frustrating when you expected better scores based on the
demonstrated abilities of your son which is indeed quite advanced
compared to his peers. There may be several reasons for this score
(which is in fact not low at all, just that you expected much better).
If your son might have been anxious, this could affect the scores.
Younger kids tend to pay less attention and if they find the activity
less than stimulating, they may hurry to complete it. The experience of
the tester is also crucial. An experienced tester would be able to probe
much more than just list answers from the child. You mentioned that the
teacher has never done this before; this may have skewed the results. A
retest by an experienced tester may work in your son's favour but you
may need to wait a year.
In the mean time, discuss his results with the school and see what can
be done to help his learning. Suggest that if they find him advanced
(teachers should be able to tell), test him on subject matter and plan
an individualised programme for him if possible (curriculum compacting,
pull-out programme, etc). At home, monitor his progress and expose him
to stimulating materials and gauge his level and gradually increase the
Most importantly, do check what options the school has for him. Working
with his teachers would help him positively. Good luck!
Reply from the parent: I want to thank you
for taking the time out to respond to me. Our son (6 years old, just
entered 1st grade) is in a new school this year, public, and his teacher
on the 2nd week of school suggested him being screened. They did not
know he was screened a few months ago at the old school by someone
His scores came out how we originally thought they should have. The
teacher, who proctored the KBIT II for him back in May that had no
experience and admitted that she didn't know what she was doing, gave
his scores as a 110, and that he was lower extreme and below average.
Well the guidance counselor who has experience screened him last week
and his score were verbal 136, non-verbal 152, for an overall of 149.
That seems more like my son. They will be giving him an IQ test with in
the next month to see if he will enter the gifted program.
Thank you again for you time. We knew right away something was not
right, and we were right!