This study presented the past, current, and proposed practice of intelligence testing with a unique population, students identified as deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH). As a basis for describing the cognitive ability of Utah's D/HH students and to improve practice guidelines, 61 D/HH students served by Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) were administered the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test (UNIT) standard battery and the Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI) subtests from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). Based on these data, composite score distributions were described and compared with national standardization samples. Participants' WISC-IV PRI scores are summarized with the following descriptive statistics: M = 88.95, 11.05 points below the standardization sample's mean; SD = 14.55; skew = -.74; and SE = .31. Comparing the USDB D/HH sample's WISC-IV PRI scores with the WISC-IV standardization sample's distribution of scores, the participants' scores were significantly lower (two-tailed p-value of <.0001). Participants' UNIT Standard Battery Composite scores are summarized with the following descriptive statistics: M = 90.74, 9.26 points less than the standardization sample's mean; SD = 13.97; skew = -.55; and SE = .31. Comparing this sample's UNIT composite scores with the standardization sample, the participants' scores were significantly lower (two-tailed p-value of <.0001). Additionally, a Pearson correlation compared each participant's scores on the WISC-IV PRI with the corresponding score on the UNIT Standard Battery Composite, yielding a correlation coefficient of .75 with a two-tailed p-value < .0001. Recommendations for future guidelines regarding cognitive assessment of Utah's D/HH students are presented. In particular, this research supported administering the UNIT rather than the WISC-IV. Though no assessment is language free, the UNIT's administration uses simple gestures for directions, rather than spoken language. Additionally, D/HH students were included in the standardization sample. Furthermore, administering one assessment, rather than several, consumes less time for the examiner and the student, saving money and decreasing student time away from classroom instruction.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





deaf, hard of hearing, cognitive assessment, intellectual assessment, nonverbal tests, WISC-IV, UNIT