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Who are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV?

Gifted Development Center: Who are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV?

By Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D., Barbara “Bobbie” J. Gilman, M.S.
and R. Frank Falk, Ph.D.

“Each generation of IQ tests by the various test publishers is eventually revised and renormed, with a test possibly being completely reformulated. We are in the transition phase now, using a whole new series of tests and finding what works and doesn’t work, or which portions to utilize to satisfy various needs. As always, the tests represent both improvements and losses for the gifted. We have seen some extension of test ceilings, which benefits the gifted, and increased emphasis on processing skills, which does not.

Wechsler tests continue to be good initial IQ tests for the gifted. Although they rarely yield scores above the 140s, they offer good diagnostic information, and indications of ability beyond their limits. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV), released in August of 2003, replaces the WISC-III. School districts usually have one year, according to American Psychological Association (APA) standards, to begin using a newer version of an IQ test. Therefore, most school districts that employ Wechsler tests should have begun using the new edition this fall.

The WISC-IV is yielding many gifted-level scores at the Gifted Development Center. However, some of the Full Scale IQ scores are excessively lowered by Working Memory and Processing Speed scores. As intelligence is primarily abstract reasoning ability, emphasizing short-term auditory memory and processing speed on paper-and-pencil tests is less helpful. Two Working Memory subtests (only one was required on the WISC-III) and two Processing Speed subtests (only one was required on the WISC-III) place more weight on these processing skills in the Full Scale IQ score. This is unfortunate for gifted children and confounds the Full Scale IQ Score (FSIQ) as a gifted identifier.

In the normative sample for the WISC-IV, the gifted group (which had scored at least 130 previously) earned a Full Scale IQ score of 123.5 on the WISC-IV. Their Verbal Comprehension score was 124.7 and Perceptual Reasoning score was 120.4. However, in line with our experience, their Working Memory averaged only 112.5 and their Processing Speed was 110.6 (WISC-IV Technical Manual, p. 77).”

Read the entire article here: Gifted Development Center: Who are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV?

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