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Understanding Test Results


Shannon
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We asked for my 7 year old to be evaluated for a Specific Learning Disability because of her struggles with reading.  Our district pretty much relies on the discrepency model.  We received the test results today for the the Woodcock Johnson, WISC and CTOPP.  We are meeting with the team on Thursday to go over the evaluations.  I'm not an expert, but looking at her reading scores on the Woodcock Johnson (in the 70s) vs. her full scale IQ (109) and her verbal comprehension on the WISC (106), this seems like it meets the discrepency model, but I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has a better understanding than me.  I've attached the scores for both the Woodcock/Johnson and the WISC.

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First I want to just say I am just a mom who has done what I could to learn about testing but this is just my thoughts based on personal experience not professional knowledge....But in looking at the testing results I would start by focusing on the IQ testing...When I look at the individual domains there seems to be a lot of scatter....scatter is large jumps between scores. For example in the verbal domain your child has an 8 on similarities and a 14 on vocabulary...that is a 6 point spread! What it shows is your child has a HUGE vocabulary but comparatively struggles with similarities. But the BIG one for me is the processing spread....coding is a 12 but symbol is a 5...that is a 7 point spread and points to a potential concern in the area of the processing especially when you look at the total domain numbers and have one in the 114 and then processing is 92 which is 22 points apart which is a full stanine. 

Now to your original question: Personally your test scores show discrepancy between IQ 109 to 75....but breaking it down further to the individual testing notice reading sentence fluency is the lowest number 71 which may indicate that fluency is a main concern (along with the decoding which was 78 and quicker decoding does lead to better fluency). Notice the comprehension number is higher which means that these concerns are not effecting comprehension as much which is great right now because it shows a need for intense decoding instruction (specialized instruction another prong of getting an IEP).

I do also want to know a unique thing I see in the writing section, it shows a higher spelling score than child's ability to decode which likely means the child is memorizing the way words look in order to write them down. But the lower number is in the sentence fluency which I believe is a timed activity which again may be evidence to look more into the processing piece from the IQ testing. 

Hope some of this helps.

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Thanks Murmer.  Those are all great observations and super helpful.  Our eligibility meeting is on Thursday and I'm hoping that these scores show enough of a discrepency to get her qualified for SLD, but my county is very reluctant to give IEPs to kids who aren't behavior problems.

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I have a few thoughts to share....
1. On the Woodcock-Johnson IV the "Broad Reading scores" are mostly all under "low". Because these are less than average, they could use that data to write in favor toward eligibility. However, in all of the other categories, they could say they still fall somewhere under average range and are therefore not low enough.
2. The 3 lowest areas in terms of percentile rank on the subtests of the WISC-V are Processing Speed (Symbol Search) at 5th percentile, Working Memory (Digit Span) at 37th percentile and Verbal Comprehension (Similarities) at 25th percentile. These are each very important in their own right. Ask the person who did the assessment what each of these tests include and how those skills carryover to the classroom environment. (Asking this should help you think of more questions to ask.) More than likely they will take each of these scores and combine it with the other subtest in the same area, which unfortunately, could result in a more "average" result. For example, under "Processing Speed" because Coding was a strength at 75th percentile it is easy to minimize the impact of Symbol Search at 5th percentile by averaging the 2 together and listing the averaged score under "Processing Speed". I have seen things done like this in the written narrative of reports. 
3. Having such a low processing speed means your child is going to take much longer than their peers to think through things. Combined with a lower working memory score makes it even harder to solve problems independently. Accommodations will be important in helping this student be able to keep up with the class. Rather than have me attempt to explain each of these terms in a way you understand here, you can search them and/or ask the person who did the review to explain them. The good news is that since the "Coding" score was relatively strong at 75th percentile that tells me your child would likely do well in copying from reference charts and other such tools, which can help make up for weaknesses in processing speed when doing assignments, rather than having to recall all details (i.e. how to form letters and numbers) from memory all the time. 
4. For the reasons above, be sure to ask for explanation on anything which doesn't make sense to you and what each test, especially those with lower scores, consisted of. 
5. Think about how those things remind you of your child and troubles you have seen your child have so you can give examples as well. 
6. Having a low processing speed will impact IQ scores on tests because portions of the tests are timed. It isn't necessarily indicative of how smart a person actually is. My son, who is now almost 18, can solve very complex problems but scores terribly on many of these tests, partially because his processing speed was as low as 3rd percentile when tested.

Good luck!
Shannon
 

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Hi Shannon.  You have already received great information.  I just have a few things to add.

When you say your district "pretty much relies on the discrepancy model," I would advice asking the team to bring a copy of the state compliance standard for eligibility under Specific Learning Disability, as well as any school district policy (some state departments of education require a written policy) regarding the eligibility model they have chosen.  It really helps to have those in front of you and ask the school to specifically apply the data to the standards.  It prevents the district from being vague about the numbers.  It appears your daughter would be eligible under most discrepancy models if they use a 1.5/22 point standard deviation (federal law only states "severe discrepancy," so you need to know how your state defines this).  I would try to keep it simple and argue that her Broad Reading score of 75 and her full scale IQ of 109 meet the standard.  Period.

 A side note:  I don't see where she was given a non-verbal IQ test.  This is important for children with a specific learning disability in reading - she might have an even higher IQ.

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22 hours ago, Carolyn Rowlett said:

 A side note:  I don't see where she was given a non-verbal IQ test.  This is important for children with a specific learning disability in reading - she might have an even higher IQ.

I just learned that there is a non-verbal score available for the WISC in the software the psych use to calculate things....basically it is all the scores except the verbal score. So you can ask the psych to pull that up...mine was able to in the meeting when I asked for it. 

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