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Interpretation of WISC IV Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 7 year old son is currently in the second grade. At the end of the last school year he was recommended by his teacher for gifted testing. In June he was given the WISC-IV by the school psychologist who has since moved away. He was listed as being 7 years 7 months and 15 days old at the time of testing. It is now September and I just received the scores from his school. I am curious about his scores, but also unable to ask the psychologist who completed the testing for an interpretation due to her move over the summer. I am especially concerned with the large difference between his verbal and perceptual reasoning scores, and wonder if this could indicate a problem for him. As well as interested in why both his subtests in working memory and processing speed have such a seemingly large range in the scaled scores.

He is socially adept and learns most things with ease. He reads well and went from a 1.8 reading level in September of first grade to a 4.8 reading level in May of the same year. I do not have his exact number for this year yet. He is quick to learn new concepts in math and verbalizes frustration with his peers when they do not do so. However, he is also a class clown and will do almost anything to make his classmates laugh. I have been told by both his first and second grade teachers that he stays on task when they are working on something in class, but that as soon as he has completed the task he talks/plays and is disruptive to others. He also is louder and fidgety when they are moving from one task or place to another. Such as from desks to the carpet or walking down the hallway. He had chronic ear infections with fluid behind the drums at a very young age as well. His ear drums have ruptured on both sides multiple times. He had a pure tone hearing test this week at school and I was told that he "tested within normal limits" for the results. I do not have a copy of those results yet.

His test scores were as follows:

Verbal comprehension:
Similarities: raw score 11, scaled score 10
Vocabulary: raw score 27, scaled score 12
Comprehension: raw score 16, scaled score 11
Sum of scaled scores: 33
Composite score: 104

Perceptual Reasoning:
Block Design: raw score 30, scaled score 14
Picture Concepts: raw score 23, scaled score 19
Matrix Reasoning: raw score 23, scaled score 16
Sum of scaled scores: 49
Composite score: 139

Working Memory:
Digit Span: raw score 11, scaled score 8
Letter-Number Sequence: raw score 17, scaled score 14
Sum of scaled scores: 22
Composite: 104

Processing speed:
Coding: raw score 41, scaled score 9
Symbol Search: raw score 34, scaled score 14
Sum of scaled scores: 23
Composite: 109

FSIQ: 120

I did not receive and interpretation on this testing. There also is not a percentile rank or a confidence interval for any of the composite scores. Those boxes have been left entirely blank.

A: It is quite strange that there is no percentile rank as it is important to see where the child stands within the norming population. You should find out from the school if you could get the psychologist who did the testing to give a more comprehensive analysis of the test.

I would do a brief analysis of the scoring but will only be able to take into account of the scores as given as above. A Full Scale IQ of 120 indicates that he is in the Superior range (right on the dot: 120-129). His VCI, WMI and PSI scores all indicate an Average range. However, his PRI score is in the Very Superior range. This is entirely based on the composite scores given above.

However, I found that based on the raw scores, there has been quite a bit of miscalculation here. This is a serious matter – please get in touch with the school. From the raw scores, I have managed to generate the following results with the percentile.

Scale Sum of Scaled Scores Composite Score Percentile Rank 95% Confidence Interval Qualitative Description
Verbal Comprehension (VCI) 31 100 50 93 - 107 Average
Perceptual Reasoning (PRI) 46 133 99 123 - 138 Very Superior
Working Memory (WMI) 19 97 42 90 - 105 Average
Processing Speed (PSI) 22 106 66 96 - 114 Average
Full Scale (FSIQ) 118 114 82 109 - 119 High Average

From the above analysis, it is found that your son has a Full Scale IQ of 114. I fail to understand how the school psychologist could have miscalculated the raw scores – if the above scores are correct. In fact, the whole test may not have been administered, as it should be. I suggest you take this matter up very seriously and ask for a retest. You may want to seek help of another psychologist to interpret the scores as well. I wish you all the best.


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