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WPPSI Scores | Understand Your Child’s WPPSI Test Scores

The WPPSI-IV (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition) has five primary index scores and four ancillary index scores. Your child’s overall score will be determined by norming his or her performance when compared against other students tested within the same age band and averaged across each given set of primary and ancillary subtest scores.

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The Five WPPSI-IV Primary Index Scores

  • Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) – measures a student’s acquired knowledge, verbal reasoning and comprehension skills, and ability to pay attention to verbal stimuli as it is presented.
  • Visual Spatial Index (VSI) – measures a student’s ability to attend to visual details, organize visual information, understand part-whole relationships, and simultaneously integrate visual & motor functions.
  • Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI) – measures both fluid and inductive reasoning skills, broad visual intelligence, simultaneous processing, conceptual thinking, and classification abilities in each student.
  • Working Memory Index (WMI) – measures a student’s visual working memory, visual-spatial working memory and the child’s ability to resist proactive interference when using attention, concentration, mental control, and reasoning skills. A strong working memory is essential for other higher-order cognitive processes.
  • Processing Speed Index (PSI) – assesses a student’s ability to quickly and correctly complete scanning and sequencing questions as well as discriminate amongst simple visual information as presented.

The Four WPPSI-IV Ancillary Index Scores

  • Vocabulary Acquisition Index (VAI) – formerly known as the General Language Composite on the WPPSI-III, this score has been renamed to accurately reflect how its construct is covered on the WPPSI-IV and indicates how quickly a child acquires new receptive and expressive vocabulary skills.
  • Nonverbal Index (NVI) – estimates a child’s cognitive ability using subtests that don’t require a verbal response from the student. If your child is multilingual, this score may be used to estimate his or her overall IQ score (FSIQ).
  • General Ability Index (GAI) – estimates a student’s general ability by relying less on working memory and processing speed relative to the child’s FSIQ.
  • Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI) – estimates how efficiently a student processes cognitive information with regard to learning, problem-solving, and completing higher order reasoning tasks. This score is derived from the Working Memory and Processing Speed subtests and may be compared to the GAI score for children aged 4-7 years and 7 months old.

Understanding How Age Bands Work

There are three distinct age bands each child may fall into when being scored for the WPPSI-IV test. Each age band represents a four-month range and will be listed by year and month:

  • Age band 1 – Year:0-Year:3
  • Age band 2– Year:4-Year:7
  • Age band 3– Year:8-Year:11

Example: If your 7-year-old child is taking the WPPSI-IV, the age bands that apply are 7:0-7:3, 7:4-7:7, and 7:8-7:11.

The WPPSI-IV has been updated to assess children within three distinct age bands. This allows for a more accurate appraisal of a child’s developmental progress by considering cognitive tasks appropriate to their age group.

Here is a detailed analysis of the age bands in WPPSI-IV:

Age Band 1 (Year:0-Year:3):

In this age band, the test focuses primarily on the child’s developmental progress, taking into account the rapid cognitive and emotional development typical for this age. Key skills assessed include perceptual and motor development, language acquisition, and early problem-solving abilities. It’s important to remember that testing in this age range should be interpreted cautiously, as developmental trajectories can vary widely among children in these early years.

Age Band 2 (Year:4-Year:7):

During these years, children are typically in preschool to the early elementary grades. The test in this age band seeks to assess a broader range of cognitive abilities, as children at this age are expected to have acquired foundational skills. More complex skills such as working memory, processing speed, and verbal comprehension are evaluated. Assessment at this age is often used for early identification of potential learning difficulties or giftedness.

Age Band 3 (Year:8-Year:11):

This age band covers the later elementary school years. At this stage, the WPPSI-IV test delves more deeply into cognitive skills that are critical to academic success. It assesses verbal and non-verbal reasoning, attention and concentration, and more advanced problem-solving abilities. The test at this stage can provide valuable information to support individualized instruction and can contribute to the early identification of various cognitive and learning disorders.

It’s crucial to remember that the purpose of these age bands is to provide a more individualized, accurate, and developmentally appropriate assessment of each child. The WPPSI-IV, like any standardized assessment, should be used as part of a comprehensive evaluation and not as the sole source of information about a child’s abilities or potential.

The Standard Score Ranges For the WPPSI-IV

  • Extremely Low: Below 70. Scores in this range represent less than 2% of the population. Children scoring in this range may have significant cognitive delays or intellectual disabilities. They may require specialized educational support and could benefit from individualized education plans (IEPs) or special education programs.
  • Borderline: 70-79. Students who test in this range may have a learning disability and should review their subtest scores to identify specific areas of cognitive weakness. Children who score in this range may face learning challenges or have potential learning disabilities. Their abilities are below average, and they may struggle with academic work. Further analysis of their subtest scores can help identify specific areas of cognitive weakness that can be addressed through targeted intervention strategies.
  • Low Average: 80-89. This is slightly lower than the mean score of 100, but still able to perform as expected in the classroom. Scores in this range are slightly below the average but are still within the normal range. Children scoring in this range are typically able to perform as expected in the classroom, but may need additional support in certain areas to keep up with their peers.
  • Average: 90-109. The vast majority of children tested will score in this range with a mean (averaged) score of 100; the highest possible score on the WPPSI-IV is 160. Children in this range are typically performing at or around grade level and have the cognitive abilities necessary to succeed in a standard academic environment.
  • High Average: 110-119. This typically indicates a stronger cognitive ability in one or more areas (review your child’s subtest scores to see where these strengths are indicated).
  • Superior: 120-129. A score like this indicates your child is gifted in many areas required for school and testing success. These children often excel in the classroom and may benefit from advanced or enriched educational programs.
  • Very Superior: 130+. If your child scores in this range, he or she typically will be accepted into most gifted and talented programs or private schools. They are often considered highly gifted and may be eligible for admission into specialized gifted and talented programs or selective private schools.
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4 Responses


I have read elsewhere that scores between120-129 are mildly gifted or are only gifted with a score of 130 or higher

Does mildly gifted just mean smart or is it still gifted ?

Thank you

My daughter of 5 just completed the WPPSI-iv


I am wondering what lower scores on the Visual Spatial Index and the fluid reasoning index indicate?

I am a retired classroom teacher. I have, in the past, taught several Gifted students. I have been trained, through workshops, Professional Development classes on Gifted, and working with Gifted student to recognize Gifted students. My grandson was tested this school year. He scored – Standard Score (97) and Percentile (42nd.) which interprets to an Average intelligence. I have recognized the Giftedness in this child. It was also recommended by the school district to have him re-tested next school year.
I am concerned because I believe people who test our students should have the qualifications to be a tester. It was brought to my attention that the person who tested my grandson was not qualified (had the experience)to be a tester. What do you recommend I do next?

Francis McCabe

Hi there,

Just wondering if you could help me out with a question. My son recently completed the Wsspi-iv. He is 5 years old and we are looking at possible ADHD. They gave him a full scale iq ranging from 73-85, with the median being a score of 79. However, his individual scores on the test are much higher, Verbal -95. Visual – 94, Working Memory – 90, Fluid reasoning 80 and processing speed -79. He done the test over two days, the first day he done very well scoring all in the average. The second day he was very distracted and hyper. Is the full scale iq score based on the average of all 5 scores? If so, why has my son scored so low if the majority of scores are in the average range, i thought his overall score would be closer to 88 then 79?

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