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Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 3rd. ed. (WISC-III) 1991

The WISC-III is an individual test that does not require reading or writing. Verbal subtests are oral questions without time limits except for Arithmetic. Performance subtests are nonverbal problems, all of which are timed and some of which allow bonus points for extra fast work. One criticism of the WISC-III is that older students must earn speed bonuses to obtain better-than-average scores. Subtest scores, IQ scores, and factor index scores are based on the scores of the 2,200 children originally tested in a very carefully designed, nationwide sample, but still must be interpreted very cautiously for any individual, especially one who may have somewhat unusual patterns of strengths and weaknesses. As with any test, influences such as anxiety, motivation, fatigue, rapport, and experience may invalidate test scores. Because U. S. children are improving in the skills tapped by intelligence tests, the 1991 WISC-III usually gives lower scores than did the 1974 WISC-R to the same student.

  • Information: oral, "trivia"-style. general information questions. Scoring is pass/fail.
  • Similarities: explaining how two different things (e.g., horse and cow) or concepts (e.g., hope and fear) could be alike. Scoring is 2-1-0, according to the quality of the responses.
  • Arithmetic*: oral, verbally framed math applications problems without paper or, for most problems, any visual aids at all. Scoring is pass/fail.
  • Vocabulary: giving oral definitions of words. Scoring is 2-1-0, according to the quality of the responses.
  • Comprehension: oral questions of social and practical understanding. Scoring is 2-1-0, based on quality.
  • Digit Span: repeating dictated series of digits (e.g., 4 1 7 9) forwards and other series backwards. Series begin with two digits and keep increasing in length, with two trials at each length.
  • Verbal IQ is based on Information, Similarities, Arithmetic, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
  • Verbal Comprehension Factor is based on Information, Similarities, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
  • Freedom from Distractibility Factor (a misnomer -- attention, concentration, and working memory describe it better) includes Arithmetic and Digit Span.
  • Picture Completion*: identifying missing parts of pictures. 
  • Coding A**: marking rows of shapes with different lines according to a code as quickly as possible for 2 minutes (under age 8)
  • Coding B**: transcribing a digit-symbol code as quickly as possible for two minutes (eight and older).
  • Picture Arrangement**: sequencing cartoon pictures to make sensible stories.
  • Block Design**: copying small geometric designs with four or nine larger plastic cubes.
  • Object Assembly**: puzzles of cut-apart silhouette objects with no outline pieces.
  • Symbol Search**: deciding if target symbols appear in a row of symbols and marking YES or NO accordingly.
  • Mazes*: no pencil lifting, points off for entering blind alleys.
  • Performance (nonverbal) IQ is based on Picture Completion, Coding, Picture Arrangement, Block
  • Design, and Object Assembly.
  • Perceptual Organization (nonverbal) Factor is based on Picture Completion, Picture Arrangement, Block Design, and Object Assembly.
  • Processing Speed Factor, or visual-motor, clerical speed and accuracy, includes Coding & Symbol Search.
  • Full Scale IQ is based on the ten tests included in the Verbal and Performance (nonverbal) IQ scales.

* time limit ** time limit and bonuses for speed