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  1. #1
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    Question Question for learning support teachers or teachers....or parents! WISC testing.

    So.... this may be long sorry!

    My DD11 is in year 6.

    Halfway through year 3 she started to struggle with maths but ended up getting a C at the end of year 3. Year 4 she struggled and got a D....she also started to struggle with English and comprehension although ended year 4 with a C.

    Last year (year 5) she struggled all year with both maths and english and ended up getting Ds all the way through. Science though got a B.

    Year 5 we got a tutor for her for maths. Her tutor is a primary teacher on maternity leave and is utterly wonderful with her. In about week 6 or 7 of term 4 her maths tutoring started all coming together, but as there was no more assessments it was not seen on 'paper'.

    In year 5 she was assessed by the school speech pathologist and was found to be on the low end of average for comprehension although her vocab was above average. The conclusion was maybe she doesn't visualise when she reads. A program was put in place but I think she stayed about the same.

    Currently....her tutor is now helping her with both maths and english. Tutor says she can see that DD knows the maths as required by the curriculum up to the end of year 5.

    I got a call from the learning support teacher that they want DD to sit the WISC test. They are especially interested in the results for working memory and processing.

    My concerns are that the test ends up with an IQ score that will follow her to high school. Whatever the score is....I would be happier if they could just do components of the test that apply to working memory and processing, but I don't think this can be done.

    My next concern is I think DD has test anxiety (she has been doing an online anxiety program which has helped a little) and that this will have a negative impact on any test she has. Given that the outcome of this test will got with her to high school it bothers me.

    Any thoughts....advice....comments.....

    Am I overthinking this all? Help!!

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    Hi. I'm a primary teacher and somewhat familiar with the WISC test both from past students and my nephew had it done in prep. Firstly, it's not a test you "sit". Eg. Here's a list of questions you need to answer on this sheet. Instead, a child psychologist will run through a series of activities with them, such as looking at a set of pictures and spotting what they have in common. Or following a series of instructions. Because it is an experienced child psych in with them they have a bag of tricks for putting kids at ease if they seem anxious. (All the child psychs I've met through school are sooooo lovely!)

    It is a really valuable test as it provides a good insight especially if there is just one area that is having a negative impact on other areas (it sounds like this is what her school suspects). Having this information available means that her future school can customise their approach to best support her learning.

    An overall IQ score is only of importance if it qualifies the child for disability funding. In this case, while the test will provide an IQ score, it doesn't sound like it will get much more than a glance. It would be important to complete all sections of the test. This is because, while the school may suspect the issue is A or B, the issue may be C or D. I'm happy to help if you have any more questions.

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  4. #3
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    Default Question for learning support teachers or teachers....or parents! WISC testing.

    I'm a psych and @Stretched pretty much summed it up perfectly the full scale IQ score is pretty inconsequential really unless you're looking for an intellectual disability diagnosis, which it doesn't sound like you are. And school will see the number but can't really do anything with it. It's useful insomuch as it gives an idea of the level we should expect a child to succeed to (better/worse/same as peers) but that's all.
    However, I would question the purpose of the assessment (based on what you've written)...on its own, the WISC can give some information that is helpful in the classroom but it is much more helpful if done in combination with other assessments. Personally, I never do just a WISC if doing a learning assessment, as it's only one piece of the puzzle. And the reason you said about wanting to see her working memory and processing speed scores...if she's having difficulty remembering strings of information, and is slower than her peers to process new information, well the WISC isn't really going to tell them anything they don't already know - and they can put strategies in place to combat these issues without doing an assessment.
    If they want to look at the big picture and see if there is an underlying learning difficulty (for example a specific learning difficulty in reading (dyslexia) or maths (dyscalculia)) present and the WISC is just one test out of several they will do, or if the WISC is a starting point that depending on how she scores, they may do further assessments (that is, a low IQ isn't the reason she's not achieving in school) I'd be more inclined to say yes to that rather than a WISC alone with no further testing for curiosity's sake. Hopefully the school is setting up a meeting with you and the psych who would be administering the assessment, so you can be fully informed about the purpose and have the opportunity to ask questions beforehand. They can't administer it without receiving full informed consent from you first.

    I love doing assessments and pulling all the pieces together to figure out why a kid is struggling, but at the same time, I only do them if there is a question I need answered that can't be answered through classroom observation alone, and if the classroom teacher/parent has put measured intervention strategies in place that haven't resulted in any or minimal improvements. They are long assessments and I don't like to make a child sit through them unless absolutely necessary! Having said that there's no harm that will be done to your child if she sits it, but if that's the only assessment being proposed then the educational advantage of making your DD sit it is a bit questionable in my opinion...
    Last edited by besha; 05-02-2016 at 04:27.

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  6. #4
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    Thanks @Stretched and @besha!

    I am having think about it all and may have a couple of other questions if that's okay.

    I am leaning towards signing the form and waiting until the meeting with the guidance officer (who I think is a psychologist) and then I can always withdraw consent at that stage.

  7. #5
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    Sounds like a good plan. If the guidance officer is the person who would be giving the test, then they are a psychologist (only psychologists are allowed to administer). If you have any other questions I'll be happy to answer if I can

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