The History and Development of Wechsler IQ Tests

The Wechsler IQ tests have been getting more and more popular with the passing of time. Every new version tries to remove weaknesses of the previous one. Even the first Wechsler Intelligence Test, in 1939, was a major development in the testing industry.

It is not for the reason that they have developed the perfect system to measure your intelligence...

...but for the reasons:

1- Easier to administer

2- Easier to compute

3- Easier to compare, and

4- Easier to revise whenever required.

Wechsler IQ tests are widely used for assessing individuals belonging to different age brackets. There are two different Wechsler tests for assessing the mental capabilities for children. A separate Wechsler test for measuring the intelligence of adults is also present. All three of these Wechsler IQ tests have been stemmed out of the original IQ test and they are quite similar to each other.

The History of IQ Tests

The history of IQ tests goes way back; in fact man has been interested in knowing about the intelligence that fuels the various cognitive, thinking, processing and mental abilities of man for thousands of years now. Finally in the yearly days of 1900s, a famous French psychologist, Alfred Binet was asked by the national government to come up with a test that would somehow measure and, therefore, be able to segregate children with potential learning disabilities from the others.

This is how the first Intelligence Quotient test was formulated. It was used in schools widely at the time since the state had passed laws regarding all French children to attend school. With the help of the test it became easy to identify children who required specialized educational assistance over others.

Intense research and passage of time led to the constant revision of the IQ tests. It was later realized that IQ tests weren’t only needed for children but for adults as well. Adults require help just like children do. With the advancement of different fields of life, it also became necessary to gauge the abilities and potential of individuals who are keen on becoming part of a specified field of interest.

This is how the Wechsler IQ Tests came into being. It has been more than 50 years now that these tests designed by David Wechsler are widely being used to scale the intelligence of adults, as well as children.

Brief History of Wechsler Intelligence Tests

Wechsler IQ tests

David Wechsler, who was a famous psychologist of the mid 1990s worked intensively on the IQ tests and came up with his own revised edition in 1939. This test was known as the Wechsler Bellevue Scale. 15 years after this scale was developed, he further revised his own and this is how the first Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) was developed.

His curiosity about the development of Intelligence of the years of a person’s life, led him to develop a test that could measure the IQ scores of children as well. He started studying how the outside factors affected the growth of intelligence in each individual child belonging to different background. He came to the conclusion that although intelligence is an inborn ability, it is widely affected by influences from the environment.  

He also discovered that just like negative influences or deprived status could halt the growth of intelligence, similarly qualities like persistence and encouragement could affect the growth of general intelligence in a positive way.

What Are the Different Wechsler IQ Tests?

As mentioned earlier, there are three Wechsler test categories in use today.

1.    WAIS or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

The WAIS and its subsequent branches for children have been continuously revised and now the fourth edition, called the WAIS-IV is being used. It is suitable for individuals aged 16 and above.

2.    WISC or Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

This is the next category of Wechsler intelligence test going downward through the age spiral. It is considered the best test to measure the IQ level of children aged 7 to 16.

3.    WPPSI or Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence

This test is suitable for toddlers and very young children. It can aptly measure, the developmental pace of intelligence in kids aged 3 to 7.

Each of these tests is very similar to the other regarding how it is constructed and what areas of intelligence it measures. Of course the difficulty level and the content of each is varied and is suitable for that particular age bracket for which it is designed.

What Can You Expect From A Wechsler IQ Test?

Each of the different Wechsler IQ tests invariably contains 11 different and separate subtests. It is widely divided into two groups.

1.    Verbal Scale

There are 6 subtests that help in measuring the verbal scale of intelligence. They are able to measure vocabulary, math, digit span, similarities and comprehension.

2.    Performance Scale

There are 5 subtests that help in measuring the performance scale of intelligence. They are able to measure digit symbol, object assembly, picture completion, picture arrangement and block design.

Maximize Your Intelligence

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