Interpreting KBIT-2 Scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I took my daughter to be re-evaluated for her ADHD. In doing so her new
doctor administered the KBIT-2 test. Her scores were as follows:
Composite 117, Verbal 104 & Non verbal 124. What are they "actually
testing?" What is a composite, or what is a non-verbal test? and what do
her scores mean? I want to do what is best for her whether that be
getting her extra help or looking for a gifted program. I would any help
you can give me in explaining this to me & guiding me in the right
direction. Thank You.
I will explain the term in a bit but first would like you to understand
the test. 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. In short, it
serves the purpose to provide a relatively quick and accurate estimate
of abilities; and to identify students who may benefit from gifted or
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).]
This is a brief assessment and not a full IQ test like the WISC IV. It
takes 15min to half an hour. For a child with ADHD, this is suitable for
sustained attention. Basically, a few questions are asked and following
questions are tracked for correct answers. After a series of incorrect
responses, the testing stops. Verbal component deals with vocabulary
subtest and nonverbal tests Matrices subtest intelligence. The Verbal
portion of the test is made up of two subtests, Verbal Knowledge and
Riddles. These measure verbal, school related skills by measuring an
individuals word knowledge, verbal concept formation, reasoning ability
and range of general information. The Non Verbal portion is made up of
the Matrices subtest and measures the ability to solve new problems by
assessing ability to perceive relationships and complete visual
analogies. It appears that your daughter did well in the nonverbal
measure but much lower on verbal component.
The Composite IQ score (also known as Full Scale in some tests) is based
on all or most of the subtests that is being tested. This is frequently
the number most people refer to when discussing someone's IQ. Experts
who develop intelligence tests use mathematical calculations to find the
mean or average score. An IQ score from 90 to 110 is generally
considered in the average range, corresponding to roughly 50 percent of
the population. The higher the IQ score, the lesser the percentage. For
example, high scores of say 130 would only see about 2-3 percent of the
population. A higher score of 145 should occur in about 0.1 percent of
the time or once in a 1,000.
Based on a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15, your daughter
scored in the high range (about 115-130 should be within the average
range on a bell curve) for the K-BIT-2. The cut-off for a gifted
education programme is usually 125-130 (your daughter scored 117) but
can be on a case by case basis since there may be a diagnosis of ADHD.
You may need to see the tester to get the test interpreted in detail to
be able to determine her weaker areas and get some help there.
The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) by definition is a “brief”
intelligence test, also known as a test used for "screening" children.
This means, the K-BIT2 test is just a few subtests of their KTEA (full
version). Therefore, if those subtests are not the child's strongest
areas, then the score could be dramatically different from the same
child's score on the comparable “full” assessment. Having said that,
test designers do select suitable subtests to include in a brief scale.
This is not done randomly, rather using good research background.
One caution for you daughter as she may have ADHD, research has
indicated that the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI)
showed more stable measure of ADHD children's intelligence and that the
KBIT-2 vocabulary scores were significantly lower than the WASI verbal
score, and that there was a significant variability within the
I would strongly suggest that you seek a second opinion if you wish for
your daughter to be enrolled in a programme catered to her needs, as one
brief test alone is insufficient to make diagnosis and decisions on her
learning ability. Wishing you all the best in this journey!