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WASI Test (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence)

What is the WASI?

The WASI Test (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence) delivers an estimation of a student’s general intellectual ability by measuring the verbal, nonverbal, and general cognition of individuals from 6 to 89 years of age. Romanian-American psychologist David Wechsler developed the WASI intelligence scale, guided by his belief that intelligence was not one dimensional, but rather composed of a series of cognitive abilities. This test allows psychologists and other professionals to screen for intellectual giftedness or learning disabilities.

The newest version of the WASI, the WASI-II, was released in 2011. The WASI-II integrates the format and structure of the WASI while still offering updated content, better instructions, and greater clinical use. It gives test takers the option of taking four- and two-subtest versions of the test. This way testers can maintain better control of the time that the test takes to administer, as well as the depth of the assessment.

The Two-Subtest Form consists of vocabulary and matrix reasoning. This version of the exam produces the testers Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) which is a quantitative measure of ones complete cognitive capacity.  This version of the WASI can be administered in around 15 minutes.

In contrast, the Four-Subtest Form includes vocabulary, similarities, block design, and matrix reasoning. Due to the additional content areas, this test format is able to produce a richer profile of a test taker’s intellectual profile. The test taker is provided with an estimate of his or her general cognitive ability,  verbal comprehension index score (VCI), and nonverbal fluid ability. This test generally takes 30 minutes to administer.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the WASI:

  • Full Name: Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence
  • Creator: David Wechsler
  • Latest Version: WASI- II
  • Publication Date (WASI II): 2011
  • Age Range: 6 to 89 years of age
  • Completion Time: Four-Subtest form, 30 minutes; two-subtest form, 15 minutes
  • Scoring Options: Manual Scoring

WASI-II Sections

Below are the categories of questions on the WASI. For sample questions that build the skills necessary for WASI success, take a look at our 100 free questions.

100 Free Practice Questions

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Vocabulary (31 Items): The vocabulary subtest includes 3 picture items and 28 verbal items. For picture items, the tester names the object presented visually. For verbal items, the test taker will define words that are presented visually as well as orally. This section is designed to measure the breadth of the individual’s vocabulary, and overall understanding of words. On the updated version of the WASI-II, art was added for the picture items.

Block Design (13 Items): The block design subtest measures the ability to analyze and understand abstract visual items. A total of 9 items from the WASI were kept and 4 new items were added. While viewing a sample model or picture in the stimulus book, the test taker makes use of red and white block in order to re-create the design. The test taker must finish the reconstruction within a set time limit.

Matrix Reasoning (30 Items): The individual will view an unfinished matrix or series and chooses the option that completes the matrix. Within this section, 23 items will remain from the WASI, while 7 new items were added.

Similarities (24 Items): For the picture items (items 1-3), the tester chooses the option that shares a specific characteristic with the target objects. For the verbal items (Items 4-24), the tester is shown two words that display common objects or concepts. It is the tester’s job to write how they are similar.

How the WASI-II is Scored

The WASI-II is initially scored by converting the test takers raw score into a scale score. The scale score represents a common scale that allows for a quantitative comparison between a population of students. From there, the scale score is transformed into a composite score. For example, a composite score on the WASI-II could look like a numerical value of “90-109”. Traditionally, this score represents ‘average” performance. Additionally, on the tester’s scoring sheet, they will also likely see a score labeled percentile ranking (PR). This score demonstrates how the test taker scored against his or her peers. For example, if there is a 70 in this region then the individual will know that they scored better than 70 percent of the other test takers.

Standard Score Ranges for the WASI

“Superior” Performance: 130 and beyond. Individuals who score in this range are considered to be in the superior or “gifted” range.

“Very High” Performance: 120-129. Individuals who score in this range as classified as performing at a high level.

“Bright Normal” Performance: 110-119.

“Average”: 90-109

“Low Average”: 80-89

“Borderline Mental Functioning”: 70-79

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