Discrepancy Between WMI and PSI scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
If a child has a significantly higher WMI score (100) when compared to a
PSI score of (79), what can cause this. I often find that when the
processing speed is low the working memory is as well. Please explain
the cause and the ramifications of the discrepancy.
Based on the scores indicated, the child's scored in the Average range
for WMI and Borderline for PSI. Working memory tests the ability to hold
information and manipulate it. It measures attention, concentration,
memory, ability to encode information, and rehearsal strategies. Higher
scores indicate a good short-term memory and the ability to sustain
attention, good at spelling, reading, and math calculation skills.
On the other hand, processing speed measures the ability to respond to
simple, visual motor tasks quickly, especially when under pressure to
maintain focus, attention and concentration. Lower scores here could
indicate difficulties with tasks such as copying notes from the board
and working under time pressures and poor perceptual discrimination
Processing speed is related to reading performance and development and
working memory. This means increased processing speed can decrease the
load placed on working memory, while decreased processing speed can
impair the effectiveness of working memory. Problems in either one of
them is linked are often part of the reason children struggle in school
and could sometimes be seen in Twice Exceptional students (gifted
children who also have a learning concern).
The scores above do show a discrepancy between both the scores but not
an abnormal difference. A breakdown of the scores would be more helpful
to see if the difference is significant. By improving on processing
speed, it would take some load off working memory as well. Therefore, it
would be good to see if the child's processing speed can be improved.
The following link provides some reading and suggestions to improve
Lower processing speed scores could also be linked to conditions such as
ADHD and specific learning disability. It is best to seek further help
to rule out the conditions or start intervention. Good luck!