Interpretation of WISC-IV Scores
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
We are trying to figure out how best to help our child do well in
school. She is having some difficulty with reading at level and writing.
While she can tell us very funny and colorful stories, her written work
is very simple. She also has some difficulty with organization and
settling down to work. We believe, based on her WISC-IV test results
that she is a visual spatial learner and are looking to understand how
to use this information to help her succeed. The initial information we
found on visual spatial learners appears to be accurate in describing
Are we over interpreting her WISC-IV results? What information or
resources would help us help her? Should we discuss her test results
with her teacher to help her teacher understand and be better informed?
Age at test 8 years, 5 months
VCI Composite 119
PRI Composite 133
WMI Composite 110
PSI Composite 97
FSIQ Composite 122
GAI Composite 130
Block Design 15
Picture Concepts 16
Matrix Reasoning 15
Digit Span 12
Letter-Number Sequencing 12
Symbol Search 9
From the detailed scores, it indicates that your daughter is rather
bright, though not to the level of being gifted. However, her PRI scores
are very high. This index measures non-verbal and fluid reasoning. It
assesses children's ability to examine a problem, draw upon visual-motor
and visual-spatial skills, organize their thoughts, create solutions,
and then test them. It can also tap preferences for visual information,
comfort with novel and unexpected situations, or a preference to learn
by doing. For indication of giftedness, of the four indices, the VCI is
the best indicator and the PRI is the second best indicator.
As you rightly pointed out, she does appear to have strong
visual-spatial skills. You may want to help nurture her skills here.
Check out these sites:
It would also be an excellent idea to speak to her teachers and help
them understand her the way you do. They may be able to focus on her
strengths and help her learn better. Her PSI score is a little depressed
(in comparison to other scores, but in reality, it is average) so you
may want to include more activities here. A very simple way of
explaining processing speed is the length of time it takes for the
information to be decoded (or understood/ interpreted) by the brain for
a response to be made. When any information is processed, it is affected
both ways while receiving and sending out information. For instance,
when you give instructions to a child (who is at an age to understand &
respond), instead of working on the task immediately, the child may look
puzzled for some time until they are able to process the instructions to
perform the task.
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).
Children with learning disabilities, attention problems, or other
neuropsychological issues may result in working memory and processing
speed deficiencies which in turn lower 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.
Hope the above information helps a little and would help you to plan
suitable activities for her. Good luck!