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WPPSI Score Indication

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My younger boy is 6 years, 11 month old. I've brought him for a Wechsler Preschool and Primary scale of Intelligence [WPPSI-III (UK)] test and BAS single word reading ability, when he was 5 yrs 7mths old. The reason being that I suspected he may be having dyslexia (due to bad handwriting, writing mirror images of Chinese characters when younger).

His score for WPPSI-III was 114 Verbal IQ, 123 Performance IQ, 116 Processing speed and 126 Full Scale IQ. Conclusion by the psychologist - at-risk group of dyslexic. Recently he took a TONI III test at 6 years 10 months, and he scored 138.

My questions are below:

  1. Is he above average / gifted child?

  2. He is not very good with his mathematics. Does his score in the above tests mean he should be good with numbers?

  3. He seems to be able to remember words well if they are in rhythm (e.g. in a song/poem-like). Is it advisable to let him take on a 3rd language? (he's doing English and Chinese now).

  4. Raising him - which other areas should I look into?

Thank you in advance for your attention.

A: I would comment on his WPPSI III scores as I am more familiar with the scores compared to the TONI-3 (Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, Third Edition).

Based on his scores, he is in the above average range. For most gifted programmes, a cut-off at 130 is usually required for admission. In general, he scored high average on performance, processing speed, with an FSIQ in the high average range as well. He may be considered for a gifted education programme as a special case. There is a discrepancy between his verbal and performance IQ scores VIQ & PIQ). The PIQ is indeed the best indication of a child's general cognitive ability. In this case, your son's score shows a high average. However, do note that the performance score is not as highly correlated with school achievement as is the verbal score. Even though the performance score may well be the better indicator of general ability under the circumstances, it is not as good a predictor of school grades as is the verbal score - which is why it may be preferred over the PIQ in schools for special programmes.

The Processing Speed Quotient (PSQ) provides an estimate of a child's ability to quickly and correctly scan, sequence, and discriminate simple visual information. Your son's processing speed abilities, as measured by the Processing Speed Quotient, are in the high average range. Processing speed is an indication of the rapidity with which a child can mentally process simple or routine information without making errors. Good speed of simple information processing may free cognitive resources for the processing of more complex information, and ease new learning. This speed can be translated to doing any task at school.

On his risk for being dyslexic, I think you should get another opinion as the scores alone may not be a reliable indicator for a learning disability and you have not mentioned anything that would place him as being dyslexic. What about his British Ability Scales (BAS) single word reading score? No score was indicated so it is hard to tell. Get a proper diagnosis done if you feel there are symptoms. Not all individuals with dyslexia have problems with mathematics, but many do. There are those who have a good memory for sequences and can execute procedures by doing it step by step. For dyslexics, solving word problems in Math may be especially challenging because of difficulties with decoding, comprehension, sequencing, and understanding mathematical concepts - not because they are dyslexic and therefore poor in Math.

In learning other languages, if he is already struggling in language learning, it may create extra pressure for him. But if he isn't and appears to enjoy languages, by all means, expose him to a third language. Children learn language quite easily, especially if there is interest. You can explore but be careful not to push especially since he is already learning two languages.

Raising him would require you to look into his strengths and weaknesses and pay due attention to those. It does appear that he may need some help in his verbal IQ so perhaps you may want to concentrate on learning and enrichment that would enhance his verbal ability. For now, get him tested for dyslexia; if he is diagnosed, there are interventions that would help him tremendously and ease his learning.

Hope that answers your concerns and best of luck!


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