Discrepancies in the WISC-IV scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son recently had a psychological evaluation done, as he is having
behavioral problems at school. He is 10 years old and just finished
grade 4. Here are the results of the WISC IV:
The Conner's evaluations showed him as oppositional, but no strong
indication of an attention problem. The psychologist interpreted the
test results as indicating that my son has a nonverbal learning
disability and is verbally gifted. When I look at the signs of NVLD,
they do not describe my son. The troublesome aspects he has are: often
doesn't pay attention to lessons, instructions at school and home;
doesn't seem to hear sometimes; responds slowly to requests; is
forgetful and disorganized. He has relatively poor spelling and grammar
in written work for a child who reads so avidly. Is this related to his
relatively low WM and PS?
Any advice to help me interpret the results and find the best school
system for my son would be appreciated. He is currently in a Montessori
school, but I think he may need a more structured program.
A: The results generally place him in the
high range of ability; and the GAI indicates some sort of a learning
problem, hence the lower FSIQ.
It appears that your son has highly superior verbal comprehension index
(VCI) which measures verbal concept formation. This suggests his high
ability to listen to a question, draw upon learned information (both
from formal and informal learning) reason through an answer, and express
thoughts aloud. He would also probably need more time to process
information rather than making spot on decisions. Generally, it predicts
readiness for school and achievement orientation rather well.
The other scores are in the average range (with WMI a little above
average). But the FSIQ indicates that he is in the gifted range based on
the test. In any case, the VCI has been researched to be the best
predictor for giftedness. In addition, the VCI accounts for 62% of
The GAI may replace the FSIQ for eligibility in special programs because
it is sensitive to cases in which working memory performance is
discrepant from verbal comprehension performance and/or processing speed
performance is discrepant from perceptual reasoning performance at an
unusual level. It can also be compared to the FSIQ to assess the effects
of working memory and processing speed on the expression of cognitive
ability. It is possible that a lowered FSIQ may be apparent for some
children with learning disabilities, attention problems, or other
neuropsychological issues. In your son's case, a significant and unusual
discrepancy exists between VCI and WMI warrants for the use of GAI.
You may need to do further tests to determine the problem especially for
NVLD. Speak to the tester (WISC) to help interpret the results in
detail, looking at the sub scores from each category and have him/her
recommend other tests. I believe your son may need special individualized
program catered for him and as you mentioned, some structure is
required. Hope that helps a little. Good luck!