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Interpretation of KBIT2 and SIGS Test Score

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My seven-year-old son is in first grade, and in a Spanish immersion program. Teachers do the scoring for the children to qualify for the gifted program at school. My opinion is that this poses a problem, in that the children learn entirely in Spanish and so their talents in English (which are obviously far greater than in Spanish-language) are not necessarily recognized by the classroom teacher, who happens to be a native Spanish speaker.

When I asked the guidance counselor about this, she said that she would do a Kaufman brief intelligence test 2 on my son. She did that, and his verbal score was 117, nonverbal was 125 and the composite was 125. I'm not sure what the raw data mean. Could you clarify this for me?

The teacher did a scale for identifying gifted students (SIGS) evaluation on my son, which assesses general intellectual ability (86), language arts(95), mathematics(99), creativity(84), and leadership(92). Her ratings were much lower than what the KBIT 2 scores were. The result was that my son was not recommended for the gifted program, but I feel that the second test that the teacher gave is incredibly subjective, whereas it would seem that the KBIT test is not subjective in nature.

We are still allowed to request a formal evaluation to determine my sons eligibility for gifted services, but I'm just wondering if that is something I should follow up on, or not? I don't really know what the results mean.

I'm thinking of having the school district ask his kindergarten teacher, (kindergarten was in English not Spanish), to evaluate him, since she knew his work in English. Any observations would be most appreciated!

A: Based on the raw score for the KBIT-2, it appears that your son is in the superior range for nonverbal and high average for verbal. His composite score shows high ability and a few schools do admit students with scores above 125 into the gifted and talented programme but this is indeed the borderline cut-off for most. Usually a score of 130 is required for admission. However, there is always exception to the case if you have good evidence that your child would benefit and is more suited in the said programme.

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 programmes. 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 programmes. For some schools, it may be the first line screening method and other methods may be used in combination to strengthen the validity for the need to admit a child in a programme.

Tests such as SIGS (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students) which resemble surveys, is an instrument parents and teachers can use to rate students in the areas of General Intellectual Ability, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Creativity and Leadership. The SIGS are normed based on a large sampling, and the scoring is similar to most standardised scores with 130 or above representing giftedness in that area. Here teachers and/or parents would subjectively record their opinions about the child's performance. The value of the results depends on the gifted training level of the teacher completing the survey. Unfortunately, many teachers are not trained in recognising giftedness, and they may be more likely to identify the high achievers, teacher-pleasers, and obedient students over the gifted students. Therefore, it is likely that some gifted children may be missed out, especially the at-risk ones.

Perhaps you could request that the school tested him on another more objective test and present whatever evidence you have of his intellectual ability before preparing a case. Of course, it would help to get the school district to ask his kindergarten teacher for evaluation as it may certainly help. You are right in suspecting that the current teacher may not necessarily recognise his talents in English so its best to get a teacher who recognises his ability. Good luck!

Replied from reader: Thanks so much for your response! We did go ahead and request additional screening for him. We were able to rate him on the sigs and within the next 30 days he will also be tested on the full intelligence test, the weschsler one.

Your response confirmed my thinking. Unfortunately, the guidance counselor said that the school district would not be willing to have his kindergarten teacher evaluate him. If she did, I know her scores would be much more accurate than those of his current teacher, and this would eliminate the need for further testing, as teacher scores count for half in determining eligibility. Additionally, our district will only test for giftedness every other year (it had been annually up until this year) so this puts more pressure on him to do well on this test.

While I certainly don't expect him to 'study' for this test, I was wondering if you could refer me to any resources or study materials, that might provide examples of what types of problems he might see on the Wechsler test? Thanks for all you kind help!


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