For decades, intelligence tests, or IQ tests, have been used to determine a person’s intellectual capacity, for a number of purposes, from school admissions to psychiatric evaluations. The Wechsler intelligence test is one such test that is still commonly used to this day, especially in private schools. What is the Wechsler intelligence test and what does it mean? Read on to learn more:
About the Wechsler. The Wechsler intelligence test was developed in the 1950s by a psychologist named David Wechsler. Wechsler’s aim was to create a test that could replace the then-standard Stanford-Binet intelligence test, as he believed intelligence consisted of a number of different aspects and that a legitimate intelligence test should be multifaceted, to account for those different aspects. There are three Wechsler tests, each designed for a specific age group: the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV) is for children ages 7 and up, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSC) is for children ages 3 to 7 and 3 months, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) is for adults.
What the Wechsler measures. Wechsler tests are divided into four parts: spatial perception/reasoning, verbal/linguistic understanding, memory/recall, and processing speed. The overall test score is a composite of these four sections. The average score is 100, while about 67 percent of people score somewhere between 85 and 115.
What the Wechsler doesn’t measure. It is important to note that the Wechsler does not matter emotional intelligence or creativity – two very important aspects of human cognitive abilities that many would argue are types of intelligence in their own right. Additionally, in light of more modern multiple intelligences theories, the Wechsler measures only a limited, or narrow, view of intelligence. Unfortunately, many of today’s private schools (or, at least those with less progressive philosophies) are still using the Wechsler intelligence test as a primary means of determining which children are admissible.
Other factors for consideration. There are certain circumstances that can have a substantial effect on a test taker’s Wechsler scores. Things like emotional imbalance and learning disability can undermine a person’s ability to score to the highest potential. For example, people in the midst of a depressive bout consistently score lower on IQ tests than they do when their depression has subsided.
As you can see, the Wechsler intelligence tests may be an effective means of measuring intelligence within certain parameters, but it is also very important to understand that Wechsler tests have their limitations. There is very good reason to believe that intelligence is far more complex than, and extends far past the scope of, what can be measured by a simple, four part test.
About the Author: Chuck Vilain isn’t a huge fan of IQ tests but understands they are used in certain scenarios. He himself works with a group of Rye math tutors and simply wishes each of his students to explore and find their own levels of potential.