From Gifted to Below Average?
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
In second grade at 7.7 years old my son was evaluated in school and was
given the WASI test. He scored a verbal IQ of 141 (99.7 percentile) and
Performance of 93 (32nd percentile).
He is now 13 and hasn't tested well on standardized testing.
I took him to a therapist specializing in learning disabilities. He
retested him with the WISC-IV and said the first tests were probably not
accurate and that he has him down as below average intelligence and ADD.
None of his teachers see the ADD, nor do we. The teachers also see him
as above average intelligence who is not living up to his potential.
I don't feel comfortable with the new results, not that he is not
gifted, I don't care about that, but going from gifted and intelligent
to below average and ADD? Could testing results be that much different?
I thought when he was growing up that he had a learning disability
because of the schism in the tests (a difference of close to 50 points),
and his struggles with testing, but the new testing shows quite a
difference. Instead of a learning disability they came back with a
diagnosis of ADD when the teacher questionnaires did not show this as a
problem? Medication was suggested, but I don't think this is an issue.
This is quite strange and perhaps there is something wrong somewhere.
The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) is known to be a
quick, reliable measure of intelligence. The WASI is nationally
standardised, yields the three traditional Verbal, Performance, Full
Scale IQ scores, and is linked to the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for
Children IV (WISC-IV). Result are quite reliable for a brief test as
such to gauge the intelligence score of an individual.
One main issue with the validity of the WASI is that this test tends to
inflate a subject's Verbal IQ, which could have been the case with your
son. Therefore, it has been suggested that the WASI used cautiously and
a second testing may be possible for detailed scores. The WISC-IV is
much more accurate and reliable as a test. I believe that there has been
a learning issue which may not have been looked into carefully or even
gone unnoticed over the years. His performance score on the WASI is
rather poor with verbal on the extreme other end.
Perhaps, after over five years, due to lack of intervention of a
possible learning or developmental problem, he may have not tested well
on tests. I really think there is something not right here and you would
need a second opinion or even third opinion. I do not think that he is
given a fair test to capture his strengths. On the ADD diagnosis, unless
the detailed results are seen, it is hard to make out. I do feel that he
may have a learning problem rather than a developmental disorder. The
below average score needs further interpretation and possibly a retest
with a test that may be more suitable in diagnosing his problem. Please
seek a professional for further testing and a proper diagnosis to enable
intervention as soon as possible. All the best.