Differences between the WISC-IV and WISC-V

January 28, 2016 0 Comments

The original Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC®), developed by David Wechsler, was developed in 1949 at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. It was an abbreviated adaptation of the original Wechsler-Bellevue Scale. The assessment is a sample of cognitive (reasoning) and behavioral (hands-on) tasks. How well children performed on these tasks was conceived as a measure of native ability.

The WISC®-V, published in 2014, is based on developments introduced in the WISC®-IV, but designed to improve flexibility of interpretation over the WISC-IV. The composite score format allows examiners to see educational performance difficulties more clearly.

WISC-V Content Differences

  • WISC-V eliminates the word reasoning and picture completion subtests.
  • WISC-V includes 3 new primary subtests:
    • figure weights
    • visual puzzles
    • picture span
  • WISC-V includes 5 new complementary subtests:
    • Naming Speed Literacy
    • Naming Speed Quantity
    • Immediate Symbol Translation
    • Delayed Symbol Translation
    • Recognition Symbol Translation

The Visual Spatial Index (VSI) in the WISC-V measures a child's ability to reason in non-verbal tasks like rotating and organizing shapes. Poor performance is shown to predict problems in mathematics. The VSI is closely related to the Perceptual Organization Index in the WISC-IV.

The Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI) in the WISC-V measures a child's ability to solve problems independent of prior knowledge, applying reasoning to novel situations. Deficits on this composite score may signal difficulties with inductive reasoning, generalizing beyond previous experience.

The Working Memory Index (WMI) tests the child's ability to sustain listening attention, to concentrate, to extricate himself or herself from distraction. The test is valuable for predicting if the child will have trouble listening or will require frequent repetition to remember information presented to them. This is relevant for understanding such difficulties as attention-deficit disorders and hyperactivity disorders where children have trouble maintaining concentration. Short-term memory is also important for processing speed. 

The WISC-V dropped the Freedom from Distraction Index (FDI) which was scored in the WISC-IV. However, the essence of that variable is contained in the WMI index.

The WISC-V Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) is much the same as the WISC-IV Verbal Comprehension Index. It measures factors like reasoning with language, understanding concepts and accumulated knowledge. Deficits in the subtests can help diagnose reading problems and academic difficulties. 

The Processing Speed Index (PSI), measuring how fast children are able to perform perceptual-motor tasks, is present in both the WISC-IV and the WISC-V. 

The Test Tutor is a team of test preparation experts. Our Preparation Kit for the WISC-V is designed with the help of experienced educators and psychologists and is based on the latest educational research. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your child.