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Contrast between the WISC-IV and WIAT scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I am dealing with a boy who is 14 years of age. The boy demonstrates delinquent behavior such as substance use, picking on his suitor when she dresses up, and running away from school. He scored with an IQ of high average on the WISC-IV, however on the WIAT he scored extremely low and borderline on most tests, what does it prove? How can we explain this contrast?

A: Briefly, the WISC–IV is used to assess general thinking and reasoning skills of children aged 6 years to 16 years. This test has five main areas that are; Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI), Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI), Working Memory Index (WMI), Processing Speed Index (PSI), and Full Scale scores.

On the other hand, the WIAT-II is an achievement test for individuals ages four through adulthood. Skills that are tested are Reading (Word Reading, Reading Comprehension, Pseudo word Decoding); Mathematics (Numerical Operations, Mathematics Reasoning); Written Language (Spelling, Written Expression); and Oral Language (Listening Comprehension, Oral Expression).

There is a rather high correlation between the WISC-IV and WIAT-II at the composite level. The VCI is highly correlated with Reading and Oral
Language, the PRI is highly correlated with Math, WMI is highly correlated with Reading, and PSI is highly correlated to Written Language. With the rather high correlation, the scores of the boy you are dealing with do not match.

There is a lot more information required to make interpret reasons for discrepancy in scores. How far apart were the tests taken? How was he feeling on the day of the test? He does appear to have a behavioral concern – has he been diagnosed with ADHD? I’m afraid it is a little hard to interpret what the problem may be but I strongly advise seeing a psychologist for a detailed interpretation based on his individual scores.

An interesting site for tests and measurement can be found here. Best of luck!


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