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Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-V (WISC-V)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V)
Supplemental – Highly Recommended: Cerebral Palsy (CP), Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD) and Sport-Related Concussion (SRC)
CMD-specific guidance:
Highly recommended for psychological and neuropsychological studies for ages 6 to 16 years. Recommended for other types of studies to characterize the study population.
Supplemental: Epilepsy, Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), Mitochondrial Disease (Mito), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Neuromuscular Diseases (NMD)
Basic/Supplemental: Traumatic Brain (TBI)
Short Description of Instrument
Administration: Individual, face-to-face, paper-and-pencil, or digital
Completion Time: Core subtests: Approximately 60 minutes
    • FSIQ
    • Primary Index Scores: Verbal Comprehension (VCI), Visual Spatial (VSI), Fluid Reasoning (FRI), Working Memory (WMI), Processing Speed (PSI)
      • VCI: Similarities, Vocabulary, (Information, Comprehension)
      • VSI: Block Design, (Visual Puzzles)
      • FRI: Matrix Reasoning, Figure Weights, (Picture Concepts, Arithmetic)
      • WMI: Digit Span, (Picture Span, Letter-Number Sequencing)
      • PSI: Coding, (Symbol Search, Cancellation)

    • Ancillary Index Scores: Quantitative Reasoning (QRI), Auditory Working Memory (AWMI), Nonverbal, General Ability (NVI), Cognitive Proficiency (CPI), Expanded Index Scores (Verbal/expanded crystallized index: VECI, expanded fluid index: EFI)
    • Complimentary Index Scores: Naming Speed (NSI), Symbol Translation (STI), Storage and Retrieval (SRI)
    • Five primary index scores; FSIQ as well as three of the five ancillary index scores can be obtained through the ten primary subtests

Scoring Options: Q-interactive® Web-based Administration and Scoring, Q-global™ Scoring & Reporting or Manual Scoring
Report Options: Score Reports, Interpretive Reports
Publication Date: Fall 2014
Ages: Children 6:0y–16:11y
Psychometric Properties: See link below for specific data; Wechsler tests are the most widely used, "gold standard" instrument for testing intellectual functioning.
The WISC V provides a good estimate of a child's overall intellectual ability and areas of strengths and weaknesses. The test structure includes new and separate visual spatial and fluid reasoning composites for greater interpretive clarity and a variety of levels of composites for interpretive options. Primary Index Scales include: Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) Visual Spatial Index (VSI) Working Memory Index (WMI) Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI) Processing Speed Index (PSI) Ancillary Index Scales include: Quantitative Reasoning Index (QRI) Auditory Working Memory Index (AWMI) Nonverbal Index (NVI) General Ability Index (GAI) Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI) Expanded Index Scores Verbal(Expanded Crystallized) Index(VECI) Expanded Fluid Index(EFI) Complementary Index Scales include: Naming Speed Index (NSI) Symbol Translation Index (STI) Storage and Retrieval Index (SRI)
Although other instruments are used to assess pediatric intellectual function, this is the gold standard.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children V Technical Report #1
Additional Benefits: There is a Wechsler test covering every age group and therefore could be useful in longitudinal studies and studies comparing patients across age groups. The updated WISC-V is more analogous to the most recent update of the WAIS-IV (adult version of the Wechsler Test), making longitudinal comparison easier.
Weaknesses: Caution because psychometric research with full range of children with cerebral palsy is lacking, although many studies have used the WISC in assessing children with cerebral palsy, often as part of comprehensive battery. The test is very language intensive, and is therefore not appropriate for use in children with significant language impairment.
Fine motor demands for some tasks may skew results (e.g., Block Design requires rapid manipulation of manipulatives). If Block Design cannot be administered, the Visual Puzzles subtest can be substituted to obtain the FSIQ. The VSI and some ancillary index scores may not be obtained in this situation.
Floor effects may also be problematic for children with more significant impairment, with IQ scores generally not being measurable below the low 40s.
Sport-Related Concussion-Specific:
Block Design:
Advantage: Block design is a sensitive test to difficulties in processing speed, executive function, and visuospatial function. It is widely used in the pediatric population as part of the WISC and WPPSI and is validated for use in children with TBI.
Limitations: The specific tests of block design in mild traumatic brain injury or concussion are limited and generally involve using the test with other measures. In addition, many of the studies use TBI samples with mixed severity. There are some adult studies that suggest that block design can help to discriminate between moderate and complicated mild samples but this is preliminary.
Processing Speed Index:
Advantage: The WISC and WPPSI are widely used intelligence measures and the processing speed index is a well-validated and reliable measure in the pediatric population. Processing speed is often an impairment after concussion and this measure yields both component scores for the subtest as well as a global assessment of the index. There are multiple studies that use this index in brain injury in children.
Limitation: Many of the TBI studies in children use more severe TBI classifications or include complicated mild injuries. In addition, these mixed samples limit the extension of this measure to concussion.
Age Range: 2–16 years
There are five primary index scores for the WISC-V: Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI), Visual Spatial Index (VSI), Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI), Working Memory Index (WMI), and Processing Speed Index (PSI); five ancillary index scores that may be derived for special clinical purposes or situations: the Quantitative Reasoning Index (QRI), the Auditory Working Memory Index (AWMI), the Nonverbal Index (NVI), the General Ability Index (GAI), and the Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI); and two ancillary expanded index scores termed, Verbal (Expanded Crystallized) Index (VECI) and the Expanded Fluid Index (EFI) (Wechsler et al., 2014; Raiford et al., 2015).
Hand scored or computer scored.
Administration of core battery takes about 60 min. Addition of supplementary subtests can significantly lengthen the administration time.
Manual supplement:
WISC-V Technical and Interpretive Manual Supplement
Technical Reports:
WISC-V and Children with Intellectual Giftedness and Intellectual Disability
WISC-V and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Accompanying Language Impairment or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
WISC-V Technical Report #1 Expanded Index Scores
Allen DN, Thaler NS, Donohue B, Mayfield J. WISC-IV profiles in children with traumatic brain injury: similarities to and differences from the WISC-III. Psychol Assess. 2010;22(1):57-64.
Babikian T, Satz P, Zaucha K, Light R, Lewis RS, Asarnow RF. The UCLA longitudinal study of neurocognitive outcomes following mild pediatric traumatic brain injury. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2011;17(5):886-895.
Bigler ED, Jantz PB, Farrer TJ, Abildskov TJ, Dennis M, Gerhardt CA, Rubin KH, Stancin T, Taylor HG, Vannatta K, Yeates KO. Day of injury CT and late MRI findings: Cognitive outcome in a paediatric sample with complicated mild traumatic brain injury. Brain Inj. 2015;29(9):1062-1070.
Bigler ED, Abildskov TJ, Petrie J, Farrer TJ, Dennis M, Simic N, Taylor HG, Rubin KH, Vannatta K, Gerhardt CA, Stancin T, Owen Yeates K. Heterogeneity of brain lesions in pediatric traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychology. 2013;27(4):438-451.
Canivez GL, Watkins MW, Dombrowski SC. Factor structure of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition: Exploratory factor analyses with the 16 primary and secondary subtests. Psychol Assess. 2016;28(8):975-986.
Kashluba S, Hanks RA, Casey JE, Millis SR. Neuropsychologic and functional outcome after complicated mild traumatic brain injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89(5):904-911.
Prigatano GP, Gray JA, Gale SD. Individual case analysis of processing speed difficulties in children with and without traumatic brain injury. Clin Neuropsychol. 2008;22(4):603-619.  
Raiford SE, Drozdick L, Zhang O, Zhou X. Technical Report #1 Expanded Index Scores August, 2015 NCS Pearson, Inc. Accessed 21 Oct 2016:
Rackley C, Allen DN, Fuhrman LJ, Mayfield J. Generalizability of WISC-IV index and subtest score profiles in children with traumatic brain injury. Child Neuropsychol. 2012;18(5):512-519.
Ryu WH, Cullen NK, Bayley MT. Early neuropsychological tests as correlates of productivity 1 year after traumatic brain injury: a preliminary matched case-control study. Int J Rehabil Res. 2010;33(1):84-87.
Tonks J, Williams WH, Yates P, Slater A. Cognitive correlates of psychosocial outcome following traumatic brain injury in early childhood: comparisons between groups of children aged under and over 10 years of age. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2011;16(2):185-194.
Wechsler D, Raiford SE, Holdnack JA. WISC-V Technical and Interpretive Manual Supplement 2014 NCS Pearson, Inc. Accessed 21 Oct 2016:
Yin Foo R, Guppy M, Johnston LM. Intelligence assessments for children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Developmental medicine and child neurology. 2013;55(10):911-918.
At least some subtests are used in ME/CFS studies:
Sulheim D, et al. Cognitive dysfunction in adolescents with chronic fatigue: a cross-sectional study. Arch Dis Child 2015;100:838-844.


Document last updated April 2020
Recommended Instrument for
CMD, CP, Epilepsy, ME/CFS, Mito, MS, NMD, SRC and TBI