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Correlation Between K-BIT and WISC Tests

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 8 year old daughter just took the Kaufman Brief Intelligence test and scored:

Verbal 129
Nonverbal 143
Overall Composite 141

Now they want to do the WISC in order to qualify her for the gifted program in our school district. At first I was really excited, but now I've heard that the tests are different and that many children score lower on the WISC. She needs a 130 to get into the program and I just don't want to make her take the test if it's unlikely for her to make that score. I feel like she will make the score, but I just want to do what is best for her.. and I know she will be disappointed if she doesn't make it.
Any insight on the correlation between the two tests and scores?

A: The K-BIT 2 consists of 3 subtests that are used to compute 2 scale scores (verbal and nonverbal). These scale scores can be combined into a composite index that is used as a measure of overall intelligence, comparable to a FSIQ score (as in WISC). The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) by definition is a "brief" intelligence test, which is often used as screening test. The K-BIT has just a few subtests of their comprehensive test KTEA. The WISC is a comprehensive test and one to one comparison cannot be made per se.

For instance, in a brief version, if the subtests presented are not the child's strongest areas, then the score may be quite different from the same child's score on a full comprehensive version. Furthermore, most test may stress on different aspects. The Wechsler tests are said to emphasize speed, which penalizes some careful and methodical gifted children, reducing their scores on processing speed. Newer versions Stanford-Binet tests are still said to be stronger for verbal kids.

The KBIT-2 is researched to be highly correlated with various Wechsler scales. However, data from studies suggest lower mean IQs, with a KBIT-2 gifted sample mean of only 115, compared to the more commonly found means in the low to middle 120s for gifted groups in validation studies. Although this is based on a limited sample and should be further researched, this would be a factor to consider when the KBIT-2 is used for gifted screening programmes.

I think you should allow her to take the test, as a comprehensive test would be able to point out strength and/or weaknesses that can be enhanced or worked upon. A gifted education programme is an ability - educational matched programme for children would gain from such a programme. This does not mean the mainstream programme is any less – tests just places children who will maximize their potential in programmes that best do just that. There are many children who do extremely well in the mainstream programme due to various reasons and children who feel like misfits in the gifted education programme and vice-versa. Education placements are meant to help bring out the full potential of the child.

Your child is only 8 and already stressing about getting into a gifted programme; which is not a very good indication. You may want to speak to a school counsellor to decide what may be best for your child. Wish you all the best!


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