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Score Discrepancy on the WISC-IV

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a seven year old boy who recently had taken the WISC-IV. His scores came back a bit confusing. He is in first grade.

  • Verbal Comprehension 128-Superior

  • Perceptual Reasoning 106-Average

  • Working Memory 99-Average

  • Processing speed 73-BORDERLINE

  • IQ 105-Average

Any info on the 30 point spread between scores is appreciated. It appears he is gifted with a LD but what exactly is his LD how can we help? He is having behaviour issues at school.

A: There appears to be a really large gap between the verbal comprehension index compared to the rest of the index. The VCI is in the superior range and the PSI is borderline which shows that the Full Scale IQ should not be used.

You are right on track to be suspicious about the huge gap between the scores and yes, there has to be a learning problem with such scores. This is why the GAI (General Ability Index) should be used in this case instead of the Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) - which is, if the composite scores vary by 23 or more points - which is the case here.

In general the VCI is considered one of best predictors of overall intelligence. Sometimes a low score occurs because the child has acquired the information but does not have the expressive language to demonstrate it. This is not the case here. The PSI which is the ability to quickly and correctly scan, sequence, or discriminate simple visual information, short-term visual memory; attention and visual-motor coordination - appears to be very low which indicates a learning problem.

I am not in a position to make a diagnosis here but it is clear that there is an issue that needs intervention. And especially since your son has just started formal schooling, the earlier the intervention, the better the chances to cope with the concerns. I would strongly suggest that you see a psychologist who may be able to suggest some further tests that would confirm or rule out some concerns and intervene as soon as possible. Best of luck!


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