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Testing WISC-III and WISC-IV Within a Year

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I understand that the WISC-III or WISC-IV should not be administered twice within a 12 month period. My child was given the WISC-III at school and now we are having him tested with a private psychologist who wants to administer the WISC-IV. Is this acceptable and will the results be considered valid? Since the school psychologist is the one who informed me that a test cannot be give twice in the same year, I am concerned that they will not accept the results of our outside testing and therefore may not provide services or accommodations that are suggested by our private doctor.

A: The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV), released in August 2003 to replace the WISC-III (1991), is clearly an update of the WISC III. In comparison to the WISC-III, the WISC-IV is a substantial reformulation. The ceiling is still 160 (highest IQ score possible), but the WISC-IV offers additional harder questions at the upper ends of a number of subtests.

School districts usually have one year, according to American Psychological Association (APA) standards, to begin using a newer version of an IQ test. Therefore, most school districts that employ Wechsler tests should have begun using the new edition by the following year (around Fall 2004).

I am not able to understand why your son was given the WISC III now, when the test is not used anymore. The norms become inaccurate over time, which is why it needs to be updated – and this means the outdated one should not be in use. In fact, I don't even think it would be accepted for programmes. You really need to find out from the school as to the reason the are still using a test that is over 2 decades old when an updated version has been around for a while. I believe if it is a special case, they may accept testing from a private doctor. But do find out from the school first. Good luck!


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