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Disparity Between Scores on WISC IV

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son, age 6, just took the WISC-IV. He shows one obvious strength in Perceptual Reasoning. My question is, does the disparity between this subscore and the others simply demonstrate a strength or does it, due the relative weaknesses of the other subscores, indicate a need for further testing?

Verbal Comprehension - 104

  • Similarities - 12

  • Vocabulary - 12

  • Comprehension - 9

Perceptual Reasoning - 135

  • Block design - 15

  • Picture Concepts - 19

  • Matrix Reasoning - 13

Working Memory - 102

  • Digit span - 11

  • Letter Number Seq - 10

Processing Speed - 100

  • Coding - 8

  • Symbol Search - 10

Thank you for your time.

A: To answer your question, at a first glance it does represent very superior strength in on area with relative weaknesses in others. At the same time, this is not normal and may be indicative of some concerns (learning concern/s) and further testing is required. I would assume that instead of the Full Score (FSIQ), the administrator would use the General Ability Index score (GAI) since the difference is larger than 23 points. The PRI indicates superior strength whereas the other indexes indicate average scores.

Children who have strengths in perceptual reasoning on the WISC IV are generally considered visual-spatial learners. These children often do best when presented with information in a “hands-on” manner, rather than an auditory-sequential method. Check out this site for starters for more information on visual-spatial learners.

You would need to determine a few other factors as to why testing was done. If the school did the testing, why was it done especially at this stage? Did they see a potential or concern? Were any other tests given? What behaviours drove the need for testing? WISC-IV is an individual test and rather costly and if the school had done it, there has to be a good reason. Is there any language concern? What about his auditory processing skill; any reading, spelling, organization concerns? It would be good to do further testing and get more information especially about his auditory processing, sequencing, and most importantly language processing. See a good psychologist or get referred for a neuropsychological evaluation for further evaluation. He is very young so if there is a need for intervention, this is a good time.

Hope that helps. Wishing you all the best.


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