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    Irena-- Interesting. My son is "high avg" for digit span which is low comparatively but miles above both our PSI subtests. (His working memory is only a tad over one SD below his VCI.) This despite his very clear ADHD profile and diagnosis as well as his Dyspraxia. I usually find your son right in line with mine so I find this difference curious and wonder what is the functional difference between them that creates that variance. It's got my curiosity working. Thanks for sharing this.

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    Originally Posted by blackcat
    Originally Posted by Irena
    Just wanted to add some new (to me anyway!) information regarding low digit span to this thread for those researching. My son had/has an exceeding low digit span score. When I looked more closely at his scores, it was clear that the forward digit span was fine the first time he tested and quite high the second time he tested (first time on WISC, second time a year later with SB-V). However, his overall digit span score was still quite low. Why? Because he was almost incapable of doing the digit span backwards. I searched high and low for reasons for this and all I ever heard was it is a sign of ADHD. I really do not feel in my gut like my son has ADHD. I believe there is a problem, but I just simply do not see adhd in him. (And I fear that the jump to ADHD is so easy and will prevent the 'true' problem from being addressed.) Recently, my son was formally diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos and the geneticist said Developmental Coordination Disorder (a/k/a dyspraxia) is very often co-morbid. Well, I started researching DCD/dyspraxia. I am just reading a book called "Understanding Developmental Dyspraxia - A textbook for Students and Professionals" by Madeline Portwood. According to the book, digits forward and digit backwards may involve different cognitive processes, especially in certain clinical groups and that studies show that the performance of dyspraxic youngsters highlights significant weakness in repeating the digits backwards. So, I just wanted to add that info here. Low digit span can indicate ADHD but, particularly in cases where the child struggles with the backwards digits, it is part of the profile of a dysraxic child as well.

    What is a normal digit span going backwards? I guess I have no idea. DD is ADHD and SLOW like a slug in school. I am very worried about her working memory and processing speed. However, I remember when she was 3-4 years old she was able to repeat 4 numbers backwards. Now a few years later it is more like 5 (although I haven't tried it in a while). I think DS (who is dyspraxic and possibly ADHD as well) can easily do 4 digits backwards but his digit span score was only average on the WISC which is why I'm wondering what is normal (he is 6 years old). He was extremely whipped up during testing though and I'm not sure how accurate the results are. Are 6 year olds expected to easily repeat 4 numbers backwards?

    I have no idea either, unfortunately ... it seems difficult to find info on the digit span test and the different cognitive processes involved and what the test means.

    My DS's WM is superior now so I am really befuddled. When he was last evaluated it came up as superior on the WISC IV but I just realized I do not know the breakdown of how he did on numbers reversed and forward. I do remember at 6 DS could usually do 3 numbers backwards but he did struggle with 4 backwards...

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    Originally Posted by HappilyMom
    Irena-- Interesting. My son is "high avg" for digit span which is low comparatively but miles above both our PSI subtests. (His working memory is only a tad over one SD below his VCI.) This despite his very clear ADHD profile and diagnosis as well as his Dyspraxia. I usually find your son right in line with mine so I find this difference curious and wonder what is the functional difference between them that creates that variance. It's got my curiosity working. Thanks for sharing this.

    Well, it seems our sons are back in line with each other again b/c my son's didgit span test was high average on his most recent WISC IV (I posted my original post on this thread before DS was last evaluated). I am in shock by his "above average" digit span and his "superior" workling memory ... I still sometimes wonder if they confused him with someone else LOL

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    Hi, im relatively new to this. I am wondering how do you interpret digit-span results on the WAIS. For example, say someone got an 8 - is there any way i can correlate that to the capacity of numbers they recalled correctly? Does any (adult) have any empirical evidence they can share with me?

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    Originally Posted by Mike Morgenstein
    Hi, im relatively new to this. I am wondering how do you interpret digit-span results on the WAIS. For example, say someone got an 8 - is there any way i can correlate that to the capacity of numbers they recalled correctly? Does any (adult) have any empirical evidence they can share with me?

    From the very brief reading I've done on digit span, the average adult has a forward digit span of about 7 (give or take 1 or 2). So that's like remembering a phone number. I don't know what a score test of "8" would be, other than it's probably in the low average range. So maybe they remembered 5 or 6 digits. Just guessing.

    Last edited by blackcat; 10/17/13 09:15 PM.
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    My son got a "7" on digit span the first time he took the WISC IV at 6 1/2 years. I remember that he seemed to do okay on numbers forward but really poorly on numbers backward. But I do not know how many he got right. The score is 'scaled' so basically you get like two points for each right answer, it's totaled (I think that is the "raw score"), and, then, the tester looks the raw score up on a chart by age for the scaled score.... so it's sort of hard to figure out.

    Take heart my kid's digit span score and letter number sequencing score improved significantly over a year and half...

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    Ahh ok. Thanks guys. This is interesting because i am pondering as to what would give you (adult per say) a 99% percentile digit span score. Something along the lines as to how many correct. Quite possibly someone here has an empirical experience of getting a really high score and X # of digits recalled

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    Remember this very recent thread on digit span (some useful likes within it)...

    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted....h/true/Digit_span_scores.html#Post183527

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    Originally Posted by jimmyy
    Hi all, just discovered this forum a few days ago. May I ask a question on how to interpret low digit span score from my son's WISC IV test?

    My son is 9 yr old. He did WISC IV test this past weekend and got the following score:
    VCI: 146
    Similarities: 18
    Vocabulary: 18
    Comprehension:17
    PRI: 143
    Block Design: 17
    Picture Concepts: 17
    Matrix Reasoning: 17
    WMI: 129
    Arithmetic: 17
    Digit Span: 9
    Letter-Number Seq: 13
    PSI: 128
    Coding: 15
    Symbol Search: 15

    FSIQ: 148

    It seems Digit Span score is real low. How to interpret this? What is the symptom/consequence of this? Anything needs
    to be concerned? The testing school psychologist said nothing
    to be worried. But still I am wondering if the experienced parents may have seen this kind of "pattern"? Thanks very much.

    There is indeed nothing to worry about; a test's "g-loading" is its correlation with full-scale IQ (the extent to which the test taps into the general intelligence factor). Forward digit-span only has a g-loading of about 0.30, meaning that only 9% of the variance in scores on forward digit-span are attributable to differences in g. There is no reason to assume that because a child has a high IQ, such as your son, that he or she would perform in the superior range on forward digit-span.

    Backward digit-span is a much more g-loaded task, with a correlation with full-scale IQ of about 0.40 (i.e., 16% of the variance in performance on backward digit-span is attributable to full-scale IQ). However, a person's performance on this task is hindered by his or her forward digit-span; in other words, a child cannot recall a certain number of digits backwards if he or she cannot first recall the digits forward. (There are of course exceptions to this rule, and they reveal valuable clinical information on the momentary psychological and physiological state of the examinee).

    When one combines the forward digit-span and backward digit-span tasks, one yields the digit span task utilized on the WISC-IV and WAIS-III, which has a g-loading of about 0.57 (about 32% of the variance on this task is explained by differences in g). This is still a fairly poor g-loading. In a sample of 148 gifted children, the average group performance on digit span was 13.5, with a maximum of 21 and a minimum of 6. In comparison, the group's average performance on vocabulary was 16.1, with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 28. (Vocabulary has a g-loading of 0.83).

    In conclusion, the results are not at all inconsistent; a very high IQ in no way mandates very superior or even superior performance on the digit-span task because it is a poorly g-loaded test.

    Last edited by Frank22; 08/06/14 01:03 AM.
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