The WPPSI Test Guide

WPPSI Test Summary
What: The WPPSI is the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, an IQ test for preschool and early elementary-aged children.
Who: The test is given to children ages two years, six months to seven years, three months
Where: The test is given in schools as part of admissions testing, at test centers and in psychologists’ offices.
When: The test may be administered at any time.
How: The test requires little, if any, reading and no writing from children. A test administrator will record a child’s answers.
Type: The WPPSI is an intelligence test.
Why: The test is used to determine a child’s aptitude for success. The test can be used to identify learning disabilities or to discover if a child is gifted.
Time: Younger children are tested for 25 to 30 minutes, while older children are tested from 40 to 50 minutes.
Language: English
Preparation: The exam measures comprehension and learning potential and not acquired knowledge. The only preparation necessary is making sure your child is comfortable with the test format.
Cost: The cost varies depending on how and where it is administered.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com

The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) is an IQ test for preschool and early elementary-aged children to determine their intelligence quotient. An IQ score established by this exam can help with preschool and kindergarten admission determinations, as well as with psychological and general academic evaluations. The test can be administered to discover if a child has any particular strengths or weaknesses or to help determine how a child might benefit from academic support.

The test is similar to the other Wechsler scales developed by David Wechsler for children and adults, but this scale is specifically-targeted for children ages two-and-a-half through seven years and three months.  The third, and most recent, edition of WPPSI, the WPPSI III, was redesigned to be shorter and more game-like with bold, colorful images to capture and hold a young child's attention. Originally created in 1967, the updated WPPSI III was redeveloped in 2002.

The exam includes two scoring systems, one for children ages two years, six months through three years, eleven months, and one for children ages four years through seven years and three months.

The WPPSI is comprised of fourteen subtests. Generally, older children are given more subtests than younger children. The subtests include:

  • Block Design
  • Information
  • Matrix Reasoning
  • Vocabulary
  • Picture Concepts
  • Symbol Search
  • Word Reasoning
  • Coding
  • Comprehension
  • Picture Completion
  • Similarities
  • Receptive Vocabulary
  • Object Assembly
  • Picture Naming

The scores from the subtests are used to determine composite scores for verbal IQ, performance IQ, processing speed quotient, general language composite and full-scale IQ.

For example, children ages two years, six months to three years, eleven months could be given subtests in Receptive Vocabulary and Information to develop their verbal IQ score, as well as subtests in Block Design and Object Assembly to develop their performance IQ score. The verbal and performance IQ scores would then be combined to determine a full-scale IQ score. Depending on the particular child's own abilities, picture naming might be substituted for receptive vocabulary. A test administrator can determine which subtests are most appropriate for a particular child.

The exam is designed with a child's short attention span in mind. Older children in the four to seven year, three month age range are given an exam that lasts between 40 and 50 minutes, while children in the younger age group are tested for just 25 to 30 minutes.

Answers to the exam are recorded by the test administrator. The scores are generated by a computer software program that accompanies the WPPSI-III test kit. Tests may be offered through preschool and kindergarten admission testing sessions conducted by individual schools, through test centers nationwide, or in a child psychologist's office. The cost for the exam will vary greatly depending on how and where it is administered.

WPPSI score reports include scores, percentile rank and national averages.  Parents are able to determine, then, how their child compares to other children of the same age who have taken the exam. Parents can also compare the full-scale IQ score to the general IQ scale:

130+            Very Superior

120-129        Superior

110-119        High Average

90-109          Average

80-89            Low Average

70-79            Borderline

Below 70       Extremely Low

For more information about the WPPSI-III, consult Tests.com's WPPSI Test Directory.

Source: Pearson Assessment and Information