An approximate decade has passed since the previous version of the Weschler Intelligence Scale for children (WISC-IV), adapted in Spain in 2005, until the publication of the new version, the WISC-V. Between both tests various modifications can be observed in the scales which make up each of the tests.

These scales currently provide a higher level of reliability and validity of the theoretical construct “intelligence”, which have been obtained from the most recent scientific findings in the fields of intelligence, neurodevelopment and learning processes.

In the text published by the Cinsejo general del COP de España, an increase in psychometric indices is confirmed over: Theoretical Foundations, Item Analysis, different types of Validity (content and internal structure) and various types of Reliability (stability, internal consistency). Thus, most of these scores on these methodological characteristics are located in the category of Excellent.

The following is a detailed description of the essential aspects of the main tests which make up the current WISC-V .

Characteristics of the WISC-V

The WISC V is a clinical test of individual application aimed at assessing the intellectual aptitudes of individuals between 6 and 16 years of age and 11 months of age .

The results obtained in each of the scales contained result in five specific scores, the Global Indices and a general score that indicates the total IQ of the person evaluated .The statistical expression of the CI score is based on the normal distribution of the intelligence variable, which establishes that the population average is at value 100 and has a standard deviation of +/-15 points.

Thus, 68% of the population is between values 85 and 115 and only 2% is in the extremes (scores below 70 or above 130). Below 85, it is understood that the individual has a general intellectual capacity significantly below the average. The same is true for figures above 115, although in the opposite direction (higher intellectual capacity).

New indexes, factors and scales

As a novelty with respect to its predecessor, some of the five primary indices have been reformulated and added components. Thus, the WISC-IV was made up of the following indices: verbal comprehension, perceptive reasoning, working memory and processing speed. On the other hand, the WISC-V comprises verbal comprehension, fluid reasoning, visuospatial capacity, working memory and processing speed. Therefore, the previous primary factor “perceptual reasoning” has been divided into the current “fluid reasoning” and “visuospatial capacity”, extending the specificity of the aptitudes included in each of them.

The following secondary factors can also be obtained: quantitative reasoning (measures accuracy of academic achievement in reading and mathematics), auditory working memory (memory skills and inhibition of proactive interference) and non-verbal (intellectual ability on tests without verbal content), general ability (intellectual ability less related to working memory and processing speed than Total IQ) and cognitive competence (efficiency in processing information).

More specifically the WISC-V has fifteen scales , which are detailed below:

TESTING Cubes Reproduction with cube-shaped pieces of some two-colour models presented on cards and with a certain time limit. Similarities Description of the conceptual elements presented by two words read by the examiner. Matrices Selection among several options of the element that completes each of the matrices presented. Digits Repetition of a series of numbers that the examiner indicates using three different criteria: repetition in the same order, repetition in reverse order and repetition in numerical order from lowest to highest. Keys Copy of symbols assigned to the numbers between 1 and 9 in a given time. Vocabulary Graphic identification and verbal definition of the elements indicated by the examiner. Scales* Selection among various options of the answer that balances the weight on the scale shown, in a given time. Visual puzzles* Selection of the elements that make up the displayed puzzle within a limited time. Span of drawings* Identification of the elements presented in order of appearance, in the first presentation, within a later series where more elements appear interspersed. Search for symbols Identification of one of the two model symbols in a larger set of elements, with a time limit. Information Evaluation of general knowledge from questions of a different nature. Letters and numbers Order of the elements (letters and numbers) indicated by the examiner, in increasing and alphabetical order respectively. Cancellation* Search for elements in a set of stimuli presented in a structured or random way in a given time. Comprehension Answering of questions asked by the examiner about social norms and rules. Arithmetic Mental resolution of arithmetic problems in a time limit.

The Global Indices

The fifteen tests indicated are classified into two different subtypes (main and optional) depending on whether they are to be counted towards the final count of the total IQ value. Thus, the scales which add up for this calculation become: Cubes, Similarities, Matrices, Digits, Keys, Vocabulary and Scales.* Tests newly incorporated in the WISC-V version

As indicated above, the list of the fifteen specific tasks above make up five indices, which consist of the evaluation of the following skills :

1. Verbal Comprehension

It evaluates skills in the formation of verbal concepts, the expression of relationships between concepts, the richness and precision in the definition of vocabulary, the understanding of social conventions and knowledge linked to culture. It is composed of the scales Likeness, Vocabulary, Information and Understanding .

2. Fluid Reasoning

It corresponds to a measure of logical-deductive reasoning and the identification of abstract visual patterns and simultaneous processing capacity through visual analogies. It is composed of the measures of Scales, Matrixes and Arithmetic.

3. Vysospatial Capacity

It determines the level of reasoning from stimuli and non-verbal conceptual abstract information , visual analysis, as well as the practical constructive capacity and perceptive organization. The scales of Cubes and Visual Puzzles are included.

4. Working Memory

It is a measure of the information retention and storage capacity , as well as the ability to mentally operate with that information, transform and generate a new result with it. Included in this index are the Digits, Letters and Numbers and Drawing Span tests.

5. Processing speed

It analyses the ability to focus attention and to explore, sort, discriminate the visual information presented quickly and effectively. It is conformed by the scales of Keys, Search of Symbols and Cancellation.

Areas and purposes of application

The WISC-V test has been designed for purposes included in the application areas both clinical and neuropsychological, educational psychology, forensic psychology or in the field of social services.

Among the different aspects of the main objectives of this test is the determination of the cognitive capacity or neuropsychological functioning both in the establishment and in the dismissal of the existence of: Developmental Disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or Intellectual Disability Disorders), the presence of High Abilities; Specific Learning Disorders, neuropsychological dysfunctions such as dementia, Attention Deficit Disorders or also the determination of Special Educational Needs (SEN) in the school community.

Bibliographic references:

  • General Council of Psychology of Spain:
  • Hernández, A., Aguilar C., Paradell, E. and Valla, F. (2015) Review of the Spanish Adaptation of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – V. Ed: Pearson Education.