Article Review: Sped Assessment in 2002

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[. . .] As the WISC has a ceiling age of 16 and the WAIS can be administered to subjects as young as 16 years-old Gordon et al. administered both (the WISC-IV (UK) and the WAIS-III (UK)) to 17 students with a mean age of 16.2 years who were identified as having intellectual disabilities. A counterbalanced repeated measures design was used to avoid order effects. Despite finding significant correlations between the IQ scores for the two tests the mean WISC-III Full Scale IQ was 64, whereas the mean WISC-IV score was 53, a significant difference and one that would result in two different classifications of MR severity. All the participants scored lower on the WISC-IV than the WAIS-III with the smallest difference between any participant's scores being five points. The Index Scores, with the exception of the Working Memory Index, were also significantly higher on the WAIS-III, with the differences ranging between 9.50 and 12.58 points. The primary difference in Full Scale IQ scores was reflected in the verbal domain (the mean Verbal Comprehension Index score was 67.59 on the WAIS-III and 55.76 on the WISC-IV).

The situation becomes even more complicated. Silverman et al. (2010) compared the WAIS and the Stanford-Binet scores of 74 older adult patients with intellectual disabilities (the majority of the participants had been diagnosed with Down syndrome). There was also additional data on some of the participants such as scores on other, but not as popular measures of intelligence such as the Leiter International Performance Scale, the Slosson Intelligence Test and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. The mean WAIS IQ score for the group was 58.1, whereas the mean Stanford-Binet IQ score was 41.3, a difference greater than a standard deviation for both tests (the standard deviation for the WAIS tests is 15; the Binet tests it is 16). Moreover, the WAIS Full Scale IQ score was consistently higher than comparable measures of other tests. The Standard-Binet tests were more strongly related to other measures of intelligence than were the WAIS tests, indicating that the WAIS, the most popular instrument for measuring IQ, overestimated intellectual ability at the low end of functioning relative to the other measures.

When comparing different tests one needs to rule out differential minimum scores on the tests, which were controlled for in this study. Other effects such as practice effects, the Flynn effect (IQ scores tend to rise over time in a society), other forms of error (random and systematic) and other explanations have been ruled out as significant contributors to the findings in all the studies mentioned.

IQ tests have been used to measure low intellectual ability ever since Binet and Simon produced their original test IQ test in 1905. IQ is viewed as a measurable construct and the concept of MR or intellectual disability has been viewed as a measurable entity since the development of these tests. State guidelines regarding the assessment of MR in order to provide special services to these need clients typically specify IQ as a determining factor the assessment of MR. Those states that do not publish formal IQ cutoff scores most often rely on their respective educational systems to determine the proper IQ cutoff for the assessment of MR (Polloway et al., 2009). However, the assessment of IQ is fraught with inaccuracies. These measurement errors can effect who gets what resources, who is placed in the proper environment, and in some states who lives and dies. It is time for a standardized IQ measure that is used across all situations to measure intellectual disabilities.


Gordon, S., Duff, S., Davison, T. & Whitaker, S. (2010). Comparison of the WAIS-III and WISC-IV in 16-year-old special education students. Journal of Applied Research and Intellectual Disabilities, 23, 197-200.

Polloway, E.A., Patton, J.R., Smith, J.D.., Antoine, K., & Lubin, J. (2009). State guidelines for mental retardation and intellectual disabilities: A revisitation of previous analyses in light of changes in the field. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 44, 14-24.

Silverman, W., Miezejeski, C., Ryan, R., Zigman, R., Krinsky- McHale, S. & Urv, T. (2010). Stanford-Binet & WAIS IQ differences and their… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Sped Assessment in 2002.  (2012, July 6).  Retrieved June 15, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Sped Assessment in 2002."  6 July 2012.  Web.  15 June 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Sped Assessment in 2002."  July 6, 2012.  Accessed June 15, 2019.