Preparing for the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV)

The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition, also known as the WPPSI-IV, is an intelligence test for children ages 2-7. The WPPSI-IV is one part of the admissions process for application to many of the  ISAS (independent) schools in New Orleans.

Why am I being asked to have the WPPSI-IV administered?

The WPPSI-IV is one of several pieces of information schools gather to learn about your child. School observations, historical information and teacher feedback are other components of the application process.  The goal in all of this information gathering is for both you and the school to make a well-informed decision about whether your child is a good fit for a particular setting.

What do I need to know?

For many parents, it is anxiety provoking to learn there is a testing requirement for a child as young as age 3. The most common question is, “What do I need to do to prepare my child for this test?”  The good news is this, you do not need to prepare your child for this test.

The WPPSI-IV must be given by a psychologist trained to administer and interpret the results. The ISAS schools that require the WPPSI-IV will provide you with a list of recommended testers.  Psychologists might vary somewhat in in terms of fees, length of evaluation, etc.  It may help to make a few phone calls or explore websites to gain a clearer sense of what the experience will be like.  Typically, parents are not in the testing room during the evaluation.  If you are worried that your child might be anxious about separating from you, talk this over with the psychologist.  Part of his/her role is to make you and your child feel comfortable and to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Rest assured, the WPPSI-IV is designed to be very engaging. Children tend to relax once the evaluation begins and enjoy the one-to-one attention as well as the opportunity to demonstrate what they know. For a child age 3, the WPPSI-IV takes about 25-30 minutes to administer. For a child ages 4-6, the evaluation is about 45-55 minutes.

What Is Involved in the Wechsler Test?

The questions and tasks that are a part of the WPPSI-IV vary depending on the age of your child. For all children, the test measures verbal, visual-spatial and working memory skills. In children age 4 and older, the WPPSI-IV also measures processing speed and fluid reasoning abilities. Your child will be asked to participate in a variety of tasks, including, answering questions, identifying pictures and working with blocks and puzzles.  There is a no paper and pencil component to this test.

What do the Results of the Wechsler Test Indicate?

It is helpful to know that the WPPSI-IV is not a test of achievement but instead an assessment of IQ. The test will not tell you what kind of grades your child will earn in school or if your child will be a doctor or an engineer.  What the WPPSI-IV does provide is information about how your child thinks and problem solves.  The results from the WPPSI-IV ideally add to or support what you already know about your child.  You may receive feedback such as, “your child enjoys talking through problems” or “right now your child shows a preference for hands-on activities.”

Keep in mind, children ages 3-6 are changing rapidly!  There is a tendency to assume that your child’s IQ score is very, very important.  This is not the case.  With young children in particular, a number alone can be quite misleading.  Think of the scores as a snapshot into your child’s functioning in the present rather than a projection of future functioning.

You will receive a copy of your child’s WPPSI-IV report to keep for your records.  Make sure the results are explained and that they make sense to you.  Ideally, this process can facilitate a greater understanding of your child, provide insight into how to continue to support your child’s learning, and ultimately be helpful in finding a school that is a good fit.

Contact Dr. Arian Elfant

If you have any more questions or concerns about the Wechsler Test, you can read more on Dr. Arian Elfant’s website or call her office at (504) 319.6800 today. If you are ready to schedule your child’s admissions testing, make an appointment today!