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Varied Scores on the WISC IV and WIAT II

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: I had my son tested using WISC IV and scores were:

  • VCI 99th percentile

  • PRI 55 percentile

  • WM 86 percentile

  • PS 17 percentile

  • Full Scale Score 86th percentile

Is this a normal thing?

His WAIT scores were:

  • Reading comp 99 percentile

  • Mathematics comp 73 percentile (made up of Num op 42 and Maths Res 93)

  • Spelling 95 percentile

This was done at 8 years due to concerns with his school results.

We have been to paediatrician and he said my son was perfectly normal, I mentioned ADHD and he said there were no signs at all. (read somewhere could be possibility due to score scatter)

Is this considered gifted as the psychologist did not say he was but did say that FSS was not accurate reflection of his overall functioning?

Can you please give me your thoughts on why scores are so varied and how this might effect his learning. Also is WAIT ever used to determine giftedness. Thanks so much.

A: The information you provided may not be sufficient to determine the variation of the scores. However, I will try to interpret them based on what is available. I assume that your son is 8 years of age. His WISC IV scores are all in percentile; composite scores would give a more detailed indication. It appears that he scored very high on VCI and high on WMI.

While the WISC is an intelligence test, the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) is a test of achievement for children and adolescents. Therefore, different skills are captured. The Composite Score on the WIAT is simply an average of four areas (Reading, Mathematics, Oral Language, and Written Language) and gives a general idea of the child's school readiness. Each subtest is further broken down into the individual test, such as Word Reading or Spelling.

However, all the WISC-IV composites correlate highest with the WIAT-II Total Achievement. It is also found that the VCI is highly correlated with Reading and Oral. In your son’s case, a high correlation is seen between VCI and Reading. The PRI should be highly correlated with the Math composite but may not be the case here.

On the WIAT, the average score for each test is 100, therefore, anything from 90 to 109 is considered Average, although 100 is exactly in the middle. Scores from 110 to 119 are considered High Average, from 120 to 129 is Superior, and from 130 above indicates Very Superior. On the other end of the spectrum, from 80 to 89 the score is considered Low Average, 70 to 79 is Borderline, and 69 and below are Extremely Low.

On the WISC IV, an FSIQ of 85% indicates above average ability, in the range of 115 composite score. His PS is very low, in the range of 85 composite score (one standard deviation away from the mean score) – which may indicate ADHD. I would get a second opinion for ADHD as children with this disorder tend to perform poorly on measures of processing speed (PSI). Please do get this checked.

FSIQ is a good indicator of giftedness, however, in some cases – especially when scores are extremely varied, other factors need to be looked at. In your son’s case, it is hard to determine giftedness as the broken down scores need to be reviewed individually.

The WIAT is an achievement test and usually not used to test for giftedness although some schools may use it for subject acceleration in the gifted program. If there are any scores lower than an IQ of 100, you may want to take note of it as these may be his weak areas in comparison to his peers. Also, look out for scores that are lower than the other scores which may indicate a personal weakness, even if the score is still in the Average range as a whole. Then check for strong scores. When the weak and strong areas have been determined, you/the teacher would have a better idea on what would best help him in his learning.

Hope that sheds some light. My very best to you.


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