The WISC-V makes up an integral part of any psychoeducational assessment. The test is considered to be the “gold standard” in intelligence testing for children. The assessment can be administered to children as young as 6 years up to 16 years – at which point an adult version of the test would be employed. The full IQ test takes approximately 90-120 minutes to complete, however, this can vary.
The WISC-V is such an important component in IQ testing for children and cognitive profiling and provides a comprehensive overview of a child’s strengths and weaknesses across the following 5 areas of ability: Verbal Comprehension, Visual-Spatial, Fluid Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed. Following testing, the test scores are statistically analysed to explore inconsistencies amongst any of the 5 areas of ability which can, in turn, be useful in identifying a specific learning challenge. I use this data to make tailored recommendations that can be utilised at home, by the school, and by examining bodies.
Understanding a Child’s IQ Test Scores
What is my child’s IQ?
There is often a misconception that the IQ score (or full-scale IQ score) is the most important aspect of the test. This is not true. When we look at the structure of the WISC-V we will see why. Often there are inconsistencies within different aspects of the test which in turn mean that an overall IQ score is only a part reflection of that child’s ability.
Generally speaking, we would expect a child whose scores place him/her in the average range to perform in line with the average population. It does not specifically mean an “average score”.
It is also pertinent to note that our children are not their test scores. Often children can surpass expectation or in contrast, struggle to thrive based on factors outside of cognitive ability.
What does the WISC-V measure?
The WISC-V is made up of 10 subtests which in turn yield 5 index scores. Each index score is a measurement of a particular ability. Each Index comprises of two subtest scores.
The Full-Scale IQ is an average calculation of these five scales; therefore, it is only a meaningful and reliable score if the scales are consistent. For example, if a child obtains a high average score for verbal comprehension, but a below-average score for working memory, the IQ score will appear average. With such test results, it would be more useful to explore the individual index scores and explore the child’s personal strengths and weaknesses than to only focus on the average IQ score.
WISC-V Index Scores
The following short descriptors can be useful to get a better understanding of what the WISC-V measures.
- Verbal Comprehension Index: This index provides a measure of word knowledge and abstract verbal reasoning – verbal concept formation, reasoning, and expression.
- Visual-Spatial Index: This index measures the ability to evaluate visual details, the ability to understand visual-spatial relationships, and understand the relationship between parts and a whole.
- Fluid Reasoning Index: The tasks within this index provide a measure of inductive and quantitative reasoning, broad visual intelligence, and abstract thinking.
- Working Memory Index: This index provides a measure of a child’s ability to maintain and manipulate visual and auditory information requiring attention and concentration. Both visual and auditory working memory is explored.
- Processing Speed Index: This score explores speed and accuracy of visual scanning and identifying visual objects, short-term memory, and visual-motor coordination.
Each of the above indices provides a measure of ability that is linked to academic performance. A child may have strong verbal skills, but if auditory working memory is weak, she is likely to find retaining what the teacher is saying in class a real challenge.
The scores obtained provide a comprehensive profile of strengths and weaknesses – or a Cognitive Learning Profile. It allows us to explore a child’s own personal strengths and weaknesses in addition to any areas of difficulty when compared to age-related children.
IQ testing for children can be useful for:
- Identifying barriers to learning.
- Identifying where a child performs well – which can be used to support the child to focus on their strengths and determine subject and school choice.
- Identifying where a child isn’t performing so well. Tailored interventions can then be focused here.
- Identifying a learning difficulty – and the best actions to support a child to fully access their education and thrive at school.
Why does Dyslexia Diagnostics Use an iPad Platform for its Psychoeducational Assessments?
I have taken the plunge and invested in a new system that allows this clinical test to be administered digitally – on an iPad!
This is a huge leap forward and Dyslexia Diagnostics is one of the very few companies that have made this investment in the locality.
The primary driving force behind this transition is to increase client engagement. Moving away from traditional cumbersome paper and pencil tests and embracing new and advanced technology has been received really well. Children have described the process as being “more exciting” and “fun”.
Other advantages of a digital platform include a more streamlined assessment process, more fluid administration, and access to the most up-to-date clinical tools on the market. Digital testing also means that clients are not faced with materials that have been damaged or marked by previous users. This platform does not however replace the work done as part of the statistical analysis or report writing process.
Contact me to find out more about how a psychoeducational assessment could help your child and in turn support their learning.