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  • Writer's pictureGurprit Ganda

What is an Average Score on the WISC Assessment of IQ?

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is one of the most widely used tools for assessing cognitive abilities in children. Developed by David Wechsler, this test has undergone several revisions to improve its accuracy and relevance. One of the most common questions parents and educators have is: "What is an average IQ score on the WISC?" This blog post aims to answer that question while providing a comprehensive overview of the WISC assessment.

Understanding the WISC Assessment

What is the WISC?

The WISC assessment measures a child's intellectual abilities through a series of subtests designed to evaluate different aspects of intelligence. The test is typically administered to children aged 6 to 16 years old. The latest version, known as the WISC-V, includes 16 subtests that fall under five primary index scores: Verbal Comprehension, Visual Spatial, Fluid Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed.

Child Giving WISC Assessment

Purpose of the WISC

The primary purpose of the WISC assessment is to identify a child's cognitive strengths and weaknesses. This information can be invaluable for educational planning, identifying learning disabilities, and even understanding behavioral issues. Schools often use this test as part of their special education evaluation process.

Components of IQ Scores

Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ)

The Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) score is perhaps the most well-known component derived from the WISC assessment. It represents a composite score that summarizes overall cognitive ability based on performance across all subtests.

Index Scores

In addition to FSIQ, there are five primary index scores:

  1. Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI): Measures verbal reasoning and understanding.

  2. Visual Spatial Index (VSI): Assesses spatial processing and visual-motor integration.

  3. Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI): Evaluates logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  4. Working Memory Index (WMI): Tests short-term memory and attention.

  5. Processing Speed Index (PSI): Measures speed in performing simple tasks.

What Constitutes an Average Score?

Standard Deviation

To understand what constitutes an average IQ score on the WISC assessment, it's essential to grasp some basic statistical concepts like mean and standard deviation. The mean score for any standardized intelligence test like the WISC is set at 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

Average Range

An "average" IQ score typically falls within one standard deviation above or below the mean—so between 85 and 115. Scores within this range are considered typical or average compared to peers.

Classification Ranges

Here’s a breakdown of how different ranges are classified:

  • Below 70: Extremely Low

  • 70-79: Borderline

  • 80-89: Low Average

  • 90-109: Average

  • 110-119: High Average

  • 120-129: Superior

  • 130+: Very Superior

Factors Influencing IQ Scores

Genetic Factors

Genetics play a significant role in determining intelligence levels. However, it's important to note that genes interact with environmental factors in complex ways.

Environmental Factors

A child's environment—including educational opportunities, parental involvement, nutrition, and even social interactions—can significantly impact their cognitive development.

Test Conditions

Conditions during testing such as fatigue, anxiety, or distractions can also influence performance on the WISC assessment.

Importance of Contextual Understanding

While knowing what constitutes an average IQ score on the WISC can be helpful, it’s crucial not to rely solely on these numbers for making decisions about a child’s educational needs or potential. Cognitive abilities are multi-faceted and cannot be fully captured by a single number or test result.

Are WISC-5 & WAIS-4 same?

The WISC-5 and WAIS-4 are not the same tests. While both are intelligence tests, the WISC-5 is designed for children and the WAIS-4 is designed for adults. The WISC-5 assesses cognitive abilities specific to children, such as verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. On the other hand, the WAIS-4 evaluates similar cognitive abilities but is tailored to adults.


Understanding what constitutes an average IQ score on the WISC assessment provides valuable context but should be viewed as just one piece of a larger puzzle when evaluating cognitive abilities in children. The average range for FSIQ scores falls between 85 and 115; however, individual strengths and weaknesses across different index scores offer deeper insights into specific areas where support may be needed or where talents may lie.

By considering both genetic predispositions and environmental influences alongside test results, parents and educators can make more informed decisions aimed at fostering each child’s unique potential.

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