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Vast Difference in Intelligence Test Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughters' CCAT Results (grade 4) were verbal 92 Percentile ; Quantitative 98 percentile ; and non verbal 91 percentile.

Her WISC-IV results were:

Verbal Comprehension 79th percentile
Perceptual Reasoning 68th percentile
and GAI 75th percentile.

Concerns: The day she was administered the WISC-IV she was under a double ear infection (taking antibiotics) and had a low grade fever. She had been absent from school the first two days of the week, went back one day (at my insistence) assessed and then was absent the remainder of the week as she was not well.

I called the psychological assessor the next day to express my concerns about my daughters illness during the testing. She returned my call that evening and at that time gave me the results. She felt that the results were fair and not impacted significantly by the illness and concluded that my daughter did not meet the intellectual criteria for Gifted established by the TCDSB and should remain within the parameters of her present school program.

What further testing can be done to confirm / validate the WISC-IV results? I'm left wondering how much of an impact her illness may have had on her results.

I simply cannot reconcile the vastly different results from CCAT to WISC-IV results taken within 5 months of each other without taking the condition of my daughter at the time into consideration. What are other reasons for such differing results?

Ultimately I just want to ensure that she is placed in the best learning environment for her abilities. What should I do? Thank You.

A: It does sound quite strange that the difference gap is rather large for both the test within such a short time frame.

Briefly, The CCAT (Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test) is designed to determine a child's aptitude for learning. In short term, the result may be seen as predicting the student's general achievement in school. The CCAT tests the student's ability to learn and indicates his or her IQ; however, it should not be seen as a test of achieved learning or "schooling knowledge." Since the CCAT does not provide guidance on how to handle scores near the 97 percentile criteria, a suggestion is that scores above the 90 percentile (but below 97) might be seen an indication that further testing is required. This is when a full psycho-educational assessment such as the WISC IV or the Stanford Binet 5 can be used.

A number of gifted programs (for ages 5 through 8 you did not indicate your daughter's age) require at least 95% average score for CCAT. However, for the WISC, the score must be over 98%. Any illness can surely have an impact on scores, especially for perceptual reasoning as in your daughter's case. However, the impact should not be too large. Having said that, the fact that she was able to attend school may indicate that she was able to take the test. The degree of her fever and the medication she was taking (depending on how strong and what the side effects may be) would have an effect on her ability, concentration and focus. In your daughter's case, since you allowed her to take the test despite her illness may indicate to the school that she was indeed well enough to take the test. It is hard to argue on her condition after the test is taken.

Unfortunately, once the WISC is taken; it takes another two years for a retake. The other option is to take the Stanford-Binet 5. (You need to check with the school if this will be considered). If the results are similar to what you may expect, she may be places in a program that meets her needs. For now, if you feel that she should be enriched further but is not in the gifted program, you may want to speak with her teachers to check her progress and involve her in enrichment activities to stimulate her learning. There are many resources on the internet that you could use for this. Do also refer previous responses in my IQ Test and Creativity section.

Here's wishing you all the best in your parenting journey!


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