Understanding Your Child's WPPSI and WISC Test Score

April 08, 2016 0 Comments

The WPPSI™ (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™) and the WISC® (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®) are used not only to measure intelligence and determine giftedness, but as a clinical tool for parents or teachers who feel the child may have a learning disability such as Asperger’s Disorder or High-functioning Autism. The WPPSI is for children ages 2 years 6 months to 7 years 7 months; and the WISC tests children ages 6 to 16 years old. If your child has recently received one of these tests this fact sheet will help you understand your child’s score.

Components of the test

    • Verbal comprehension
    • Visual spatial
    • Fluid reasoning
    • Working memory
    • Processing speed

Each component is further broken down into subtests; the number of subtests depends on whether your child took the WPPSI or WISC test.

Numerical scores

    • Below 70 is extremely low
    • 70-79 is borderline
    • 80-89 is low average
    • 90-109 is average
    • 110-119 is high average
    • 120-129 is superior
    • 130+ is very superior

Let’s look at each component of the test below:

Verbal comprehension

This portion of the test measures your child’s comprehension and reasoning using his/her verbal skills, as well as the child’s knowledge already gained, and how well he/she responds to verbal cues. So, if your child scores in the average range he/she will likely succeed well in language type tasks, be able to express him/herself in verbal terms, and digest verbal information productively.

Visual spatial

This measures your child’s ability to organize and understand visual parts and information, assimilate visual and motor functions simultaneously, and see the whole-part connection to objects.  Scoring high on this portion of the test means your child has the ability to see an object made up of smaller parts and can then reconstruct a duplicate of that object from the parts, which requires mental and motor processes. Your child may also be adept at drawing, making his/her bed, fastening clothes, and putting together puzzles or toys that have parts.

Fluid reasoning

This measures your child’s ability to utilize inductive reasoning to make current and future decisions. Inductive reasoning is a person’s ability to use past happenings or observations to predict what may happen in current situations. For example, if a child always met with a classmate at the bus stop for school, he/she would reason the classmate would be there again.  If a child scores high in fluid reasoning, then he/she is likely to learn from experiences.

Working memory

The working memory index involves balancing focus and attention, while manipulating “visual and auditory information in conscious awareness”. Both the WPPSI and the WISC have the child memorize and sequence or place items in an order.

Processing speed quotient

This score will analyze how quickly your child can scan and differentiate visual information. If your child scores above average on this portion of the test, expect him/her to mentally process routine data without mistakes. Some examples include: “simple decision making; copying words, manipulate numbers; make decisions that involve understanding of material that has been presented; and keep up with the flow and comprehension of conversations between people”. 

In addition to each component test having a score, a full score IQ is given too. The full score IQ is an average score of all the separate tests listed above. It's important to note that the scores on the separate tests are just as relevant as the overall full score IQ because they help identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, a wide range in scores between categories must be looked at further. For example, if a child scored 75 on working memory and 85 on the processing speed, but had 130 on the visual spatial test, then this could be indicative of a learning disorder.

These test scores will help identify any area of deficiency, as well as highlight your child’s strong points.






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