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Wechsler Intelligence Scale For Children Vs. Adults

David Wechsler (1896 - 1981) was an American psychologist whose work frequently specialized in intelligence testing. He developed two intelligence scales - the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) - that still remained use, although in updated versions. He was also an influential theorist whose research regarding the human intellect remains important and relevant, especially in the later development of theory of multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner in the 1980's.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)

Originally developed in 1949, the WISC was intended as an improvement over the Wechsler–Bellevue Intelligence Scale of 1939, which in turn improved upon the older, uni-dimensional Binet Scale. The test was administered to determine cognitive function in children aged 5 to 15. In recent years, 6 - 16 has become the preferred range.

The WISC measures two aspects of intelligence in children: verbal and performance intelligence. Verbal intelligence includes aspects like vocabulary and comprehension; performance intelligence includes matrix reasoning and picture completion. The WISC requires between 65 – 80 minutes for administration and generates a score typical of most IQ tests. The average score is 100 with higher scores indicating higher than average intelligence and lower scores indicating lower levels of intelligence.

This instrument is sometimes used to help diagnosis low cognitive functioning or disability in teens and adults instead of using the more age-appropriate WAIS, which may be too difficult for this population group.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

The WAIS was initially introduced in 1955 as an alternative to the Binet Scale to measure intelligence in adults. By the 1960's, the WAIS had surpassed even the newer version of the Binet Scale, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, as the preeminent tool for testing adult intelligence levels.

Like the WISC, the WAIS undergoes frequent revision to improve the test and to keep its contents current. Early version measured only verbal and nonverbal intelligence; however, the 2008 version of the WAIS (WAIS-IV) included ten sub-tests that examined many facets of human intellect, including memory. This makes the test a potentially useful instrument in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.

Why Take an IQ Test?

For children, taking an IQ test can help parents and teachers make determinations about an individual child's educational course - gifted, standard, or in need of special education. The WISC can provide insights in cognitive functioning that are quantitative and easy to interpret. Testing of this type can also be necessary for certain types of assistance, especially for those children with lower IQ scores.

For adults and older teens, WAIS scores are accepted by some high-IQ societies, like the Triple Nine Society, for the purpose of membership. The WAIS subscales can help with career counseling and aptitude. These days, however, few colleges and universities are interested in the IQ score of applicants, preferring other standardized measures and GPA. Adults may also want the information for more personal reasons, including curiosity, self-knowledge, and entertainment. After all, IQ can be a great conversation starter.