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The WISC-V Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: Hello, I am thrilled to find this wealth of information. This site is going into my bookmarks. :) 2 questions:

1. My 10 year old took the WISC V and several other tests. We received the scores and they are puzzling. WISC V is "scaled scores" (Mean=10, SD=3). I don't know what that means. His scores:

  • Verbal Comp=Similarities is 19;

  • Vocab is 17

  • Visual Spatial= Block Design 17;

  • Visual Puzzles 17 etc...

All the rest of the scores range from 15-19 on this test.

I am confused because I am used to seeing them in a this form. For example: 90 is average; 140 is highly intelligent etc. Also seeing them in "percentile" form and/or "grade level." Can you help me figure this out?

2. I read somewhere that the WISC IV and WISC V are different in that the IQ scores received could be a bit lower on the V. The Standard Difference could be off a bit. I am only concerned with that because places Mensa or Davidson ask for a certain score and it is the same on both versions of WISC.

I hope this makes sense. Thank you for your time.

A: There has to be a lot more in the report rather than the scaled scores. In any report, the FSIQ should be described followed by the Primary Index Scores (VCI – VSI – FRI – WMI – PSI). The full scale IQ comprises of Similarities (SI), Vocabulary (VC), Block Design (BD), Matrix Reasoning (MR), Figure Weights (FW), Digit Span (DS), and Coding (CD).

Scores are first scaled and the scaled scores are then converted to index scores. Index scores are summed and divided by 5 (for the 5 Primary Index Score) to derive a Mean Index Score (MIS). Based on the MIS, the 5 scores are compared and differences noted. The difference, if found to be significant, would be indicated as a strength or a weakness.

There should be a lot more than the scaled scores in the report to interpret the scores. However, based on the mean and SD, your child appeared to have scored in the very high range. It is noted that in the WISC-V, the FSIQ is generally downplayed in the manual and the ratio of verbal tests to visually based is slightly lower but overall all functioning is quite similar to WISC-IV. I would suggest that you speak to someone at the test centre or school for a full report as it is hard to make sense of the scores with so little information.

If anything, the WISC-V is an upgraded and revised version of the WISC-IV and is able to capture intellectual abilities of a child. WISC-V is very new and there aren't many reviews as yet; therefore it is best to speak to someone at MENSA if you feel that scores differ on both tests. By right, it should be similar and just a few points higher or lower. Being a new test, I am sure there are considerations as to what scores are acceptable for admissions.

Hope that helps a little. All the best!


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