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Discrepancy Between Verbal and Non Verbal Scores on WISC-IV

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: Hi, my daughter's school are considering accelerating her next year, so she would go from grade 3 to grade 5. We received her WISC-IV results from the school psychologist today, however I'm having some trouble interpreting them. We weren't given a FSIQ as there was a 28 point difference between some of the scores. I have now been told 'it's up to you whether you decide to accelerate her or not, we will support your decision either way'. As I'm having some trouble interpreting these scores I'm finding make that decision very difficult! Please help! Her scores are below:

Age: 8 years 8 months
Verbal Comprehension Index: 140
Perceptual Reasoning Index: 112
Working Memory Index: 129
Processing Speed Index: 123
FSIQ: Not valid due to >20 point discrepancy VCI & PRI

Thank you for any help you can provide and I'd really like to be able to make a properly informed decision.

A: From the test score, it is clear that your child has superior verbal scores. Briefly, she scored in the Very Superior range for VCI; High Average for PRI; Superior for WMI and PSI. This clearly indicates a need for differentiation learning. FSIQ is not possible as the gaps between the scores are larger than 23 points.

The large gap between VCI and PRI could indicate a non-verbal learning disability (NVLD). Do check if she fits the description. However, her scores are generally on the superior side, so I am not too sure about this without the breakdown of the score.

What I believe is that she definitely needs a curriculum that would suit her intellectual needs. A gifted education programme would be very beneficial for her but if the school may not offer it, she should be accelerated. An acceleration from Grade 3 to 5 is a rather high leap. If the school feels that the leap should be taken, they would have a reason as well. It is strange that they left the decision to accelerate or not with parents without advising what may be best for her.

Whatever the leap may be, she has to be accelerated - be in subject condensation, compacting or full acceleration as has been suggested. If she is socially normal, she may be able to adjust well in a new class with older children. With acceleration, she would need a mentor to facilitate her learning and help her progress. If a double acceleration seems too much, you could suggest a single grade acceleration. Whichever you may choose, a mentor or counsellor is very necessary for her to progress without much problems.

It would also be a good idea to talk to her and find out how she feels about going to a new class with older children. She may just prefer it as they could be cognitively at similar levels. Or she may resent the idea totally. Speak to the school counsellor and teachers to make a decision that would be best for her. The school needs to help you with the decision. Your daughter is very able; she needs learning that would match her ability to cognitively develop further. Wishing the best of luck in making an informed decision!


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