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Large Discrepancies On The WASI II Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My daughter took the WASI-II for admission to her school's gifted program, and her scores varied so greatly that I'm wondering whether I should have her tested for an LD. Her %ile scores were the following:

  • 99.9% for vocab

  • 91% for similarities

  • 75% for matrix reasoning

  • 9% for block design

Her composite scores were the following:

  • verbal - 133 (99%ile)

  • FSIQ - 117(87%ile)

  • perceptual reasoning - 95 (37%ile)

What might these huge variations point to? Non-Verbal Learning Disability? Also, what kind of additional testing, if any, would you recommend? Thank you.

A: There is indeed a gap between the verbal and perceptual reasoning scores. On the WASI II, the Block Design subtest is designed to measure the ability to analyse and synthesize abstract visual stimuli. Vocabulary is designed to measure an examinee's word knowledge and verbal concept formation. Matrix Reasoning taps on fluid intelligence, broad visual intelligence, classification and spatial ability, knowledge of part-whole relationships, simultaneous processing, and perceptual organization. The Similarities subtest is designed to measure verbal concept formation and reasoning. Finally, Perceptual reasoning is a person's ability to visualize, understand, and work with non-verbal information.

Her verbal scores are in the very superior range and perceptual reasoning is in the average range. Her FSIQ appears to be in the high average. There is definitely a huge gap between her verbal and non-verbal scores.

It appears that your daughter scores very low on block design which may be indicative of any of the following: poor perceptual skills; poor visual motor coordination; inability to deal with abstract; deficient non-verbal reasoning; visual problems; inattention; possible cerebral dysfunction; anxiety; depression; visual motor coordination; figure-ground disorder; visual input disorder.

Without further testing, it is hard to determine if she has NVLD (Non-Verbal Learning Disability). It is best to get her further tested to rule out any disorder that is causing her to have trouble with her perceptual skills. A variety of evaluation procedures are used to determine NVLD. There is no single list of tests for NVLD since the evaluation procedures are individualized.

Please see a clinical psychologist to decide what would be best for your daughter. Here's wishing you all the best in your journey.


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