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Large Variance in KBIT2 Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 6 yr old son recently had a KBit2 test done, with results as follows:

Verbal 67, percentile ranking 1; Non Verbal 109, percentile ranking 18.
Comparison: Verbal = 67 Non Verbal = 109, Difference of 42.

Our paediatrician thinks our son has attention issues, namely ADD as does his school teachers. The have recommended a WISC IV assessment due to the large variant in scores. What can you tell me about this? Thank you.

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. It serves to estimate cognitive functioning of children referred for assessment of specific learning disabilities. In short, it serves the purpose to provide a relatively quick and accurate estimate of abilities; and to identify students who may benefit from specific non-mainstream programmes.

This is a brief assessment and not a full IQ test like the WISC IV. It takes 15min to half an hour. For a child with attentional disorder, this is suitable for sustained attention. Basically, a few questions are asked and following questions are tracked for correct answers. After a series of incorrect responses, the testing stops. Verbal component deals with vocabulary subtest and nonverbal tests Matrices subtest intelligence. The Verbal portion of the test is made up of two subtests, Verbal Knowledge and Riddles. These measure verbal, school related skills by measuring an individuals word knowledge, verbal concept formation, reasoning ability and range of general information. The Non Verbal portion is made up of the Matrices subtest and measures the ability to solve new problems by assessing ability to perceive relationships and complete visual analogies. It appears that your son did better in the nonverbal measure but much lower on verbal component.

The gap between the scores are unusually high and warrants for some serious attention as it implicates a possible learning disability which needs intervention. Even though the WISC-IV is a more comprehensive test, it's obvious that the is a concern. I would think the school should deal with the problem directly instead of further IQ type tests, which would probably indicate similar variance in scores. Since there is a suspicion on ADD, get it diagnosed. There is probably another learning concern – an educational psychologist may be able to suggest further tests for this. Hope that helps. All the best!


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