Verbal and Nonverbal Intelligence Scores within the Context of Poverty
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The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between the verbal and the nonverbal intelligence scores of students from poverty. It also explored how students’ verbal and nonverbal scores differentiated by ability levels within each grade. The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scale was administered to 1935 kindergarten through fifth grade students enrolled in free or reduced lunch programs. Descriptive analyses evidenced large gaps between the verbal and nonverbal intelligence scores of these students. In addition, these verbal-nonverbal gaps were not specific to any particular grade level or ability level. Rather, all grades, from kindergarten through fifth, demonstrated large gaps between verbal and nonverbal IQ scores. These gaps were even larger for those students with higher nonverbal IQ scores. Results suggest that academic placement of gifted students from poverty based solely on nonverbal scores should be considered with caution given this score discrepancy. While students with high nonverbal scores from poverty may have had the potential for high achievement, they may not be adequately prepared to succeed in academically advance courses given their lower verbal abilities.