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Interpretation of the K-BIT-2 Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 5 year old son recently took the KBIT-2 I do not understand his results:

  • Verbal was low 114

  • Nonverbal 127

  • Composite 124

His school district is requesting a re-test in August ? What do his scores mean and will it benefit him to retake test? Thanks.

A: The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition (K-BIT 2) is used to measure verbal and nonverbal cognitive ability. It is used to obtain a quick estimate of intelligence, estimate an individual's verbal versus nonverbal intelligence and/or to screen to identify students who may benefit from enrichment or gifted programs. Additionally, this test is also able to identify high-risk children through large-scale screening who may require a more comprehensive evaluation. So, briefly, it serves the purpose to provide a relatively quick and accurate estimate of abilities; and to identify students who may benefit from gifted or enrichment programs.

This test is developed by leading cognitive ability experts Alan and Nadeen Kaufman, therefore, it is assumed that this test provides highly valid, reliable results and is useful for a broad range of purposes. With the test package, a scoring and administrative manual is provided, so it is quite easy to use the materials. Hence, scores given by the school is accurate based on the correct use of the scoring manual. Having said that, the teacher in charge of the test should at least have good knowledge on the principles of measurement and in the administration and interpretation of tests.

Note: This test is researched to have a rather high correlation with the Wechsler tests (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence -WASI, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - WISC and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - WAIS).

Based on a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15, your son scores appear to be above the average scores (about 85-115 should be within the average range on a bell curve) for the K-BIT-2. This means an overall score of 124 places him in the top 15% of performances. The cut-off for a gifted education programme is usually 130 (your son scored 124) but can be on a case by case basis.

What I find somewhat not very comfortable with is the discrepancy between the verbal and nonverbal scores. This may be the reason for a re-test. Do speak to someone at his school to find out the reason for a re-test. Retesting in done when the scores may not indicate the child's true abilities or there is a discrepancy detected. You may want to check the discrepancy in his results. His verbal scores definitely brought down his overall composite score.

Hope the score interpretation is a little clearer to you now. Best of luck!


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