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Interpretation of WISC-IV Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son is 13 in 7th grade and was diagnosed with ADD. He recently took the WISC-IV test and his scores were the following:

VCI 91
PRI 96
WMI 80
PSI 91

What does this all mean? I know it is low average but what else? I am fighting with the school for more services as they are not helping him progress.

Thank you.

A: Before interpreting the WISC-IV scores, one needs to understand the four main indexes of the WISC-IV and what they measure.

Your son's FSIQ places him in the average to borderline low category. I am surprised that the FSIQ was given as he has ADD. In his case, you should also check his GAI. The GAI (General Ability index) which is based only on two subsets of the WISC, which is the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) and the Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI), hence not taking into account the Working Memory Index (WMI) and the Processing Speed Index (PSI) - which lowered his scores. Children with learning disabilities, attention problems, or other neuropsychological issues may result in working memory and processing speed deficiencies which in turn lowers the FSIQ (Full Scale IQ). Therefore, the GAI may provide a comparable approximation of overall intellectual ability as represented by the FSIQ for this group of children. So, when the processing speed is included, the overall intelligence quotient would be lowered.

Somehow, based on his scores, I believe he may have a learning disability as children with attentional disorders alone tend to have higher VCI and WMI. His low FSIQ places him in a category that may indicate attentional disorder with a learning disability. You may need to test further to check if he has a learning disability. He may not be progressing as he is probably not getting the kind of help he requires. Do this as soon as you can to get him help in school.

Wishing you all the best!


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