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WISC- IV Random comments and clarifications

Subtest standard administration order: Nice but this is not the order that the standardization was done (page 25)

Subtest substitution rule: (page 27)

                Specific subtest per subtest replacement

                Only one substitution per Index

                No more than 2 substitutions per FSIQ

                One subtest used as a replacement at a time

Wechsler Giveth: Age-appropriate start point scoring rule: (page 32)

Wechsler Taketh Away: discontinuation scoring rule: (page 33)

10-30 second Timing rule: 10-30 seconds for children “who have been performing poorly” (page 36)

On the other handrule:  you may grant additional time.  30 seconds is intended to assist in timely administration and should not be done rigidly (page 37)

Timing rule:

                Use of stopwatch (page 21)

When to stop (page 37)

                Timing and clarifying instructions

5-10 second repetition rule:  Several subtests allow repetition of instructions as often as requested by the child.  Arithmetic and Word Reasoning have specific directions for repetition. (page 39)

Two- test- session time limit rule: “as soon as possible, preferably within 1 week” (page 21)

Two- test- session age rule: “use first testing date” (page 44)

Spoiled responses explanation: Difference between spoiled and poor response (page 43)

No rounding rule:  (page 44)

FSIQ is sum of 10 subtests: (page 47)

Computing Index and FSIQ for low functioning children: Examiners should compute Composite scores on each scale only when the child obtains a raw score greater than 0 on at least one subtest on each scale. Similarly, examiners should compute a Full Scale IQ only when the child obtains raw scores greater than 0 on at least one subtest from each of the four Indexes (a total of 4 scaled score points). (page 50)

From TPC Website:

Why are some 0 point or 1 point responses on the verbal subtests not queried?

In standardization it was determined that querying certain responses did not result in any additional information. If, based on your clinical judgment and other observations during the administration, you feel there is additional information to be gathered, you always have the option to query for additional clinical information. However, the responses marked with a Query in the manual, must be queried.

·         If one does use clinical judgment and other observations during the administration to query for additional clinical information, how does one score it?

Block Design:

  • Timing: page 60
  • Allow extra time (”a few additional seconds”) page 61
  • Remove unnecessary blocks from view page 61
  • Booklet rotation rule: Do not permit rotation of booklet page 61
  • Block surfaces rule: page 62
  • Correct rotations rule: only first time page 63
  • Block Design rotation rule (page 63) “Correct only the first rotation by rotating the blocks to the correct position and saying, See, it goes this way”  Does this apply to items 1, 2, and 3 since any incorrect assembly is being corrected with specific language (pages 66 and 67).
  • Do we need clarification on how far apart (gap) the blocks may be in order to be scored as correct.  I believe the PWPSSI-III said they must be within ¼ of an inch.


·         Still 2 words versus 3 words(cf. DAS) making vocabulary knowledge very important (problem with Family:Tribe has been replaced by Flood:Drought)

·         Mistake: Page 60 “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with item 1” should be “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with Sample, then item 1.”

Digit Span

·         Note error in rule on page 86: “Administer both trials of each item, even if the child passes Trial 1.” Should say “Administer both trials of each item, even if the child passes or fails Trial 1.”

·         It may be easier to edit the printed digits than to write what the child says.

Picture Concepts

·         No time limit.  See page 36 for 10-30 second rule.

·         Mistake: Page 90 “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with item 1” should be “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with Samples A & B, then item 1.”

·         Page 90: “Provide assistance on Samples A and B only” really means “Provide answers on Samples A and B only”


·         #2 no eraser

·         Start all children by age, regardless of suspected intellectual deficiency

·         Left handed accommodation: page 95

·         Symbols need not be perfect copies: page 95

·         Spontaneous corrections: page 96

·         No understanding, discontinue: page 97 and 99

·         Coding, page 95.  If child omits an item begins to complete a row in reverse order, the examiners says "Do them in order. Don't skip any," and points to the next item to be completed, and then says “Do this one next.”

Is this also true if the child skips a row? 

What is the “next item to be completed?  If a child omits an item, does the examiner point to the omitted item as the “next item to be completed is that omitted item counted as a skipped item?

This prompt on page 95 also notes “Give no further assistance except to remind the child to continue until told to stop.

Does this mean that this prompt for omitting an item can only be given once? 


  • Stimulus book versus no stimulus book: page 101
  • Local pronunciation allowed; page 101
  • Misheard items: Specific prompt. Page 101 "No other form of questions may be used” Too bad. “What word did you think I was asking you?” is often a very useful prompt.
  • No Qing for demonstrations or hand gestures (Items 5 – 35) page 101
  • Do not penalize for misarticulating: page 102
  • Be careful with instruction about scoring on page 102.  “A child receives credit if it is apparent to you that he or she knows the correct name or definition of an object, despite his or her inability to pronounce words clearly.”  This does not mean “I know that he or she knows the word.”  The child must express the meaning of the word.
  • Clarify rule on pronunciation: Note difference between 'cant pronounce and 'cant define
  • Personalized responses for pictured items: Score as 0.  Should they be Qed?
  • Are personalized responses for the Verbal items also 0 and not Qed?
  • Note “several less definitive but correct descriptive features that cumulatively indicate understanding of the word” page 103 

                                Does this mean that the cumulative responses made it better or simply showed understanding?

                                Note that naming 2 features gets different points (see item 5 – 2 points; item 7 – 0 points; item 8 – 1 point; item 9 – 2 points

Letter-Number Sequencing

  • Must pass both qualifying items – if either one failed, and no administration of subtest
  • Can fail all sample items and trials, but still administer subtest
  • Must edit printed items to reflect response; there's no room to record all verbatim responses.
  • Unclear what the following means: “On specific trials of Items 1, 4, and 5, certain responses require prompts.  Provide the prompts as indicated but do not award credit for responses after the prompt.”  Since the prompt is given when a person makes an error on the first (items 1 and 5) or second (item 4) trial, does this caution mean that for items 1 and 5, the responses to trials 2 and 3 (item 1 and 5) or trial 3 (for item 4) do not count?  The prompt is not asking for a response, and the only expected response should come when the examiner says “Let’s try another one.”
  • Note the rule to “award 1 point even if the child recalls the letter before the numbers.” Page 127
  • Note that a child can obtain a total of 9 raw score points by simply recalling the sequences as given – thus no aspect of working memory
  • Note that if the child fails either of the qualifying items, the manual instructs the examiner to “Discontinue the subtest.  Administer Arithmetic to obtain the WMI and FSIQ.”  True but you must maintain the standardization order.  Administer Arithmetic when it arrives in the subtest order.
  • Note that if the child fails to count to 3, you disqualify and administer Arithmetic.  The first item in Arithmetic is counting to 3!! Can we readminister LNS if the child passes the counting item on Arithmetic?  If the child really cannot count to three, how valid is the WMI?

Matrix Reasoning

  • Mistake Page 131 notes:” Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start at item 4.”  Actually it should read “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with Samples A-C, and then item 4.”
  • Unclear whether a child can rotate stimulus booklet.  BD, page 61, is explicit – no rotation.  Here it seems reasonable to allow a child to rotate the book. If we did prohibit the book rotation, do we also prohibit the child from rotating his or her whole body around the table?
  • Possibly multiple correct answers to item 26.


  • Some confusion in examples of general concepts.  For example, for item 15, “Patents for inventions” the concept listed states “Recognition that copyrights and patents provide legal protection and give proper credit for intellectual property.”  Does this mean that the person must answer with both ideas to be given credit?  Shouldn’t the general concept be written “Recognition that copyrights and patents provide legal protection or give proper credit for intellectual property.”  Note that several general concepts are explicit with the use of the word OR while others are not.
  • The meaning of “response” is not clear for items that require multiple concepts. If a child first response to the “FIRE” item is “Panic” (0 points), one does not Q for another response.  If a child first response to the “FIRE” item is “Panic, and call 911” (0 points, and 1 point), does the examiner Q for the second concept, or score the response as a 0, or score the first response, with 2 concepts, as 1?
  • Pay attention to the asterisks.

Symbol Search

  • Start all children by age, regardless of suspected intellectual deficiency
  • Use the practice items to aid in understanding of directions – not the sample items
  • Difficult to mark correct and incorrect items using the template.  It covers up a place to write for some pages.  Score is number correct minus number incorrect.
  • Examiner turns the pages

Picture Completion

  • Mistake Page 163 notes:” Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start at item 1.”  Actually it should read “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with the Sample, and then item 1
  • Responses in the right hand column, on pages 166-169, are correct only if the child points correctly along with the words.
  • Timing is not clear: page 163: “Stop timing when child responds or 20 seconds have elapsed.”  What is they respond before the 20 seconds, but the response now requires either a Q or a prompt.  Does timing continue for Q or prompts?
  • Picture Completion #29 Orange.  “If the child says “seeds,” say. “Tell me another part that is missing.”  Does the 20 seconds start again?  On the WISC-III this was explicitly stated – on the WISC-IV it is it inadvertently missing from the instruction?


  • Red pencil only
  • Note rule (page 171) for what constitutes a correct or incorrect response.
  • Unclear what to do with self- corrections? Are they commission errors or are they ignored?  “Do not discourage a child from making spontaneous incorrect unless he or she does so repeatedly and it impedes performance.”  So they are allowed, but if a child marks and item, would that be “marks on non-target objects are scored as incorrect.”?


  • Item 15 “Fossil” seems like a vocabulary item


  • 30- second time limit per item
  • Repetition one time per item on child’s time
  • No paper and pencil
  • Do not need correct label (e.g., dollars, minutes, pecks, rods, or chains)
  • Items 1-3 require correct counting, not simply a correct answe

Word Reasoning

  • Mistake Page 196 notes:” Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start on item 1.”  Actually it should read “Children suspected of intellectual deficiency should start with the Samples A & B, and then item 1”
  • 5 second rule for response to clue (page 196)
  • 30 second rule for item (page 36)
  • Examine rule for repeating clue only one time.  Confusing – clue versus trial.
  • Score is not influenced by the number of clues needed.

Record Form

  • Don’t enter supplemental scores into columns for indexes and FSIQ unless they are used as substitutes.  This will help prevent adding in the scores when you did not mean to
  • Note that on page 2, under Discrepancy Comparisons, the column titled Scaled Score1 and Scaled Score 2 actually refers to Standard Scores for the indexes and Scaled scores for the subtests.
  • Back page has the label “Percentile Scores” but the numbers given as the examples are standard score ranges.
  • Analysis page allows Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Reasoning subtests to be compared to their respective means, but Working Memory and Processing Speed subtests must be compared to overall mean.
  • Be very careful in using scaled scores vs. Longest Span for Digit Span.  Longest Span is the number of digits contained in the longest series of digits recalled correctly, e.g., 4 7 6 9 = a span of 4.
  • If you draw pictures on the front, draw confidence bands.  Tables A.2 through A.6 give 90% and 95% confidence bands for index and IQ scores.  For subtests, draw a line up two dots and down two dots.
  • It is better to have queried and lost than not to have queried at all.  If you later decide a query was not permissible, draw a neat, single line through the Q and the subsequent response so you and all the attorneys will know you did not consider the subsequent response when scoring.
  • Pay attention to asterisks and daggers.
  • Record all responses verbatim.  While waiting around for responses (see 30- and 5-second rules and guidelines on pp. 36, 37, & 39), make one dot on the paper each second.