Stability of WISC-R scores in students with borderline intellectual functioning
More details
Hide details
Submission date: 2014-03-18
Final revision date: 2014-04-14
Acceptance date: 2014-04-14
Online publication date: 2014-05-16
Publication date: 2014-05-15
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(1):49–59
Previous studies on the measurement of intelligence in students with learning difficulties indicate low stability of results observed over time. Therefore, careful analysis of changes in intelligence quotient, as well as in results within Verbal and Performance scale subtests, is necessary.
The aim of the research was to analyze changes in WISC-R scores over time in students with borderline intellectual functioning. Test-retest stability of WISC-R was evaluated for Full, Verbal (VIQ), and Performance (PIQ) scales. The study involved 30 students, who were tested three times, when their mean age was 8, 10.8, and 13.6 years old.
The results showed that Full Scale IQ was fairly stable over time and remained below the average level, between –1.01 and –2.00 standard deviations. Significant changes were observed in the Verbal and Performance scale; VIQ decreased and PIQ increased over time. An initially insignificant statistical difference between the scales grew as time progressed. Furthermore, considerable subtest score fluctuation was observed; over time scores in the Vocabulary subtest significantly decreased whereas in Block Design and Picture Arrangement they increased.
The authors argue that delayed acquisition of verbal skills may result from chronic school failure and deficiency of educational support experienced by this group of students. Meanwhile, non-verbal skills, that are less dependent on educational influences and academic knowledge, improve with students’ development through their engagement in everyday life activities.
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Authors.
Ahrens, J.A., Evans, R.G. & Barnett, R. (1990). Factors related to dropping out of school in an incarcerated population. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 50, 611-617.
Anderson, P.L., Cronin, M.E. & Kazmierski, S. (1989). WISC-R stability and re-evaluation of learning-disabled students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 941-944.
Bauman, E. (1991). Stability of WISC-R scores in children with learning difficulties. Psychology in the Schools, 28, 95-100.
Cooter, K.S. & Cooter, R.B. (2004). One size doesn’t fit all: Slow learners in the reading classroom. The Reading Teacher, 57, 680-684.
Covin, T. (1977). Stability of the WISC-R for 9-year-olds with learning disabilities. Psychological Reports, 40, 1297-1298.
Hassiotis, A., Strydom, A., Hall, I., Ali, A., Lawrence-Smith, G., Meltzer, H., Head, J. & Bebbington, P. (2008). Psychiatric morbidity and social functioning among adults with borderline intelligence living in private households. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52, 95-106.
Haynes, J.P., Howard, R.C. (1986). Stability of WISC-R scores in a juvenile forensic sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42, 534-537.
Jankowska, A., Bogdanowicz, M. & Łockiewicz, M. (2013). Dzieci szarej strefy – aktualizacja stanu wiedzy dotyczącej funkcjonowania psychospołecz­nego osób z inteligencją niższą niż przeciętna. Edukacja, 121, 24-36.
Jankowska, A., Bogdanowicz, M., Shaw, S.R. & Łockiewicz, M. (2012). Zagrożenia społeczne osób z inteligencją niższą niż przeciętna – jak powsta­je błędne koło społecznych niepowodzeń? In: K. Białobrzeska & C. Kurkowski (ed.). Zagrożone człowieczeństwo. Część I. Zagrożenia w obszarze rodziny, dzieciństwa i okresu dorastania [Endangered humanity. Volume I. Risk factors within family, childhood, and adolescents] (pp. 223-239). Kraków: Oficyna Wydawnicza Impuls.
Kostrzewski, J. (1981). Osoby o niższym niż przeciętny poziomie sprawności intelektualnych. In: K. Kirejczyk (ed.). Upośledzenie umysłowe [Mental retardation]. Warszawa: PWN.
Krasowicz-Kupis, G. & Wiejak, K. (2006). Skala inteligencji Wechslera dla dzieci (WISC-R) w praktyce psychologicznej [Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R) in practice]. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.
MacMillan, D.L., Gresham, F.M., Bocian, K.M. & Lambros, K. (1998). Current plight of borderline students: Where do they belong? Education & Training in Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, 33, 83-94.
MacMillan, D.L., Gresham, F.M., Siperstein, G.N. & Bocian, K.M. (1996). The labyrinth of IDEA: School decisions on referred students with subaverage general intelligence. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 101, 161-174.
Masi, G., Marcheschi, M. & Pfanner, P. (1998). Adolescents with borderline intellectual functioning: Psychopathological risk. Adolescence, 33, 425-434.
Naglieri, J.A. & Pfeiffer, S.I. (1983). Reliability and stability of the WISC-R for children with below average IQs. Educational and Psychological Research, 3, 203-208.
Nichols, E.G., Inglis, J., Lawson, J.S. & MacKay, I. (1988). A cross-validation study of patterns of cognitive ability in children with learning difficulties, as described by factorially defined WISC-R Verbal and Performance IQs. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 21, 504-508.
Ryan, J.J., Sattler, J.M. & Lopez, Sh.J. (2000). Age effects on Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III subtests. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 15, 311-317.
Schmidt, H.P., Kuryliw, A.J., Saklofske, D.H. & Yackulic, R.A. (1989). Stability of WISC-R scores for a sample of learning disabled children. Psychological Reports, 64, 195-201.
Shaw, S.R. (2008). An Educational Programming Framework for a Subset of Students With Diverse Learning Needs: Borderline Intellectual Functioning. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43, 291-299.
Smith, M.D. (1978). Stability of WISC-R subtest profiles for learning disabled children. Psychology in the Schools, 15, 4-7.
Spionek, H. (1970). Psychologiczna analiza trudności i niepowodzeń szkolnych [Psychological analysis of difficulties and school failure]. Warszawa: PWN.
Spionek, H. (1973). Zaburzenia rozwoju uczniów a niepowodzenia szkolne [Students’ developmental difficulties and school failure]. Warszawa: PWN.
Stavrou, E. (1990). The long-term stability of WISC-R scores in mildly retarded and learning-disabled children. Psychology in the Schools, 27, 101-110.
Tyszkowa, M. (1990). Zdolności, osobowość i działalność uczniów [Skills, personality, and students’ activity]. Warszawa: PWN.
Tuma, J.M. & Applebaum, A.S. (1980). Reability and pratice effects on WISC-R IQ estimates in a normal population. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 40, 671-678.
Vance, H.B., Blixt, S., Ellis, R. & Debell, S. (1981). Stability of the WISC-R for a sample of exceptional children. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 37, 397-399.
Wechsler, D. (1974). Manual for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised. New York: Psychological Corporation.
Wojnarska, A. (2003). Kompetencje szkolne uczniów z obniżoną sprawnością intelektualną. In: Z. Janiszewska-Nieścioruk (ed.). Człowiek z niepełnosprawnością intelektualną [Person with intellectual disability]. (pp. 289-298). Kraków: Impuls.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.