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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
Supplemental - Highly Recommended: Cerebral Palsy (CP), *Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD), and Sport-Related Concussion (SRC)
CMD-specific guidance: Highly recommended
*Recommendations for use: Indicated for psychological and neuropsychological studies for ages 6 to 16 years. Recommended for other types of studies to characterize the study population.
Supplemental: Epilepsy, Mitochondrial Disease (Mito), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and Neuromuscular Diseases (NMD)
Basic/Supplemental: Traumatic Brain (TBI)
Short Description of Instrument
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.
Administration: Individual, face-to-face, paper-and-pencil, or digital
Completion Time: Core subtests: Approximately 60 minutes
Report Options: Score Reports, Interpretive Reports
Publication Date: Fall 2014
Ages: Children 6:0y-16:11y
Comments/Special Instructions
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.
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
Scoring: The WISC-V has five primary index scores VCI, VSI, FRI, WMI and PSI; five ancillary index scores that may be derived for special clinical purposes or situations: QRI, AWMI, NVI, GAI, and CPI; and two ancillary expanded index  scores VECI and 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.
  • 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
Psychometric Properties: See link below for specific data; Wechsler tests are the most widely used, "gold standard" instrument for testing intellectual functioning.
Sport-Related Concussion-Specific:
Block Design:
Strengths: 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.
Weaknesses: 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:
Strengths: 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.
Weaknesses: 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.
Mitochondrial Disease-Specific:
Strengths: WISC-V scores have been shown to be sensitive to effects of mitochondrial disease progression.
Weaknesses: Processing speed and spatial indices have fairly substantial demands for fine motor speed, which may lead to confounds in data interpretation.
Key References:
Wechsler D, Raiford SE, Holdnack JA. WISC-V Technical and Interpretive Manual Supplement 2014 NCS Pearson, Inc. Retrieved 21 Sep 2023:
Technical Reports:
WISC-V Technical Report #1 Expanded Index Scores
Raiford SE, Drozdick L, Zhang O, Zhou X. Technical Report #1 Expanded Index Scores August, 2015 NCS Pearson, Inc. Retrieved 21 Sep 2023:    
Additional References:
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 Mar;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 Sep;17(5):886-95.
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 Jul;27(4):438-51.
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):1062-70.
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 Aug;28(8):975-86.
Kashluba S, Hanks RA, Casey JE, Millis SR. Neuropsychologic and functional outcome after complicated mild traumatic brain injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 May;89(5):904-11.
Prigatano GP, Gray JA, Gale SD. Individual case analysis of processing speed difficulties in children with and without traumatic brain injury. Clin Neuropsychol. 2008 Jul;22(4):603-19.
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):512-9.
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 Mar;33(1):84-7.
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 Apr;16(2):185-94.
Yin Foo R, Guppy M, Johnston LM. Intelligence assessments for children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Oct;55(10):911-8.
ME/CFS-Specific Reference:
At least some subtests are used in ME/CFS studies:
Sulheim D, Fagermoen E, Sivertsen ØS, Winger A, Wyller VB, Øie MG. Cognitive dysfunction in adolescents with chronic fatigue: a cross-sectional study. Arch Dis Child. 2015 Sep;100(9):838-44.
Mitochondrial Disease-Specific Reference:
Riquin, E, Barth, M., Le Nerze, T, Pasquini, N, Proteau, C, Colin, E, Amati Bonneau, P, Procaccio, V., Van Bogaert, P, Duverger, P, Bonneau, D and Roy, A. Neuropsychological features of children and adolescents with mitochondrial disorders: A descriptive case series. Front. Psychiatry, 2022 April, 13:864445.
Document last updated March 2024
Recommended Instrument for
CMD, CP, Epilepsy, ME/CFS, Mito, MS, NMD, SRC and TBI