Low general ability

Background

Eva is a girl aged 12 years 2 months. Her teachers have regarded her as a student of somewhat below average general ability, and in particular it had been noted that she had immature language skills. She was not on the school’s SEN register. However, her parents have raised the question of whether Eva has dyslexia, and so LASS was administered by her class teacher. The results are shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9. Eva – a case of low general ability.

Interpretation of LASS 11-15 results

With the score on Reasoning at the 16th centile it is clear that Eva is rather below average, although it should be remembered that this only assesses non-verbal intelligence. To check Eva’s verbal intelligence, a test such as the British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS) could be given. 

It is notable that Eva appears to be holding her own in some areas, such as reading accuracy (Single Word Reading: centile 42) and Spelling (centile 28), since these are higher than might have been predicted from her intelligence. Her phonic skills (Nonwords) are also in the average range (centile 38), suggesting that decoding has been well taught. Her main problem is with Sentence Reading (centile 12), which suggests problems of comprehending text. It is also likely that her poor vocabulary knowledge is affecting her text reading ability. But Eva’s diagnostic test results are all in the low-average range (rather than being well below average), so it is unlikely that she has dyslexia (Cave: centile 36; Mobile: centile 42; Segments: centile 29).

Educational recommendations

The special educational needs co-ordinator felt that the level of Eva’s difficulties, when considered in the context of her intellectual ability, did not justify a significant amount of additional support. However, she was put on the SEN register at Stage 1, and arrangements were made for her to participate in regular shared reading work with students from the local college who visited the school to support literacy work every week as part of their community education programme, with the objective of developing her text comprehension ability. 

Although Eva is of low intelligence, she has learned to read words, but she has problems with sentences and a limited vocabulary. If she used Clicker5 as her writing tool, she could have grids of words supplemented by pictures, if needed, for new curriculum words. She could have her own talking wordbook and banks of phrases to stimulate better sentence construction. Use of a talking books series such as Read Right Away would help to develop reading comprehension.