The Pros and Cons of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

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The Pros and Cons of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III) Introduction This paper discusses the pros and cons of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III). First, important definitional, theoretical issues, including the nature of intelligence, a brief history, and pros and cons are discussed. Next, the development, reliability, validity, and assets and limitations of the WAIS-III are examined. This is followed by discussion of the meaning of IQ scores, use of successive level interpretation and cautions and guidelines for administration. Last, subtests, assessing special population groups, short forms, profile forms, and what a report on intellectual assessment should contain are briefly discussed, followed by summary and conclusion. The Nature of Intelligence

Intelligence is an intrapersonal phenomenon, that is inside a person and it is generally agreed that the nature of this energy is unknown. Nevertheless, it may be known by its mental products (Groth-Marnet, 1997; Wechsler, 1939). Because there are many different ways to be intelligent there have also been many different definitions proposed (see Neiser, et al., 1996 for summary). A consensus on what constitutes intelligence is generally lacking. Alfred Binet (1908), the author of one of the first modern intelligence tests, defined intelligence as the inclination to take and maintain a specific direction, and capacity to adapt to achieve a goal outcome, and the power of autocriticism (Kaplan, & Saccuzzo, 2005). In contrast, David Wechsler, the developer of the Wechsler scales, defined intelligence as the aggregate capacity to act purposefully, think rationally, and deal effectively with the environment (Wechsler, 1958 as cited in Kaplin, & Saccuzzo). A review by Sternberg, (2005) of intelligence literature over the past century by psychologists and intelligence experts reveals two main themes, that is, that intelligence is the capacity to learn from experience and the capacity to adapt to one's environment (Sternberg). There are also two commonly accepted theories about intelligence, 1) general intelligence, 2) multiple intelligences (Groth-Marnat). The theory of general intelligence was proposed by Spearman in 1904, when he noted that children’s school grades across different subject tests reported a significant positive correlation. This suggested to Spearman that although there were specific abilities, there was also a global influence of intellectual ability at work, he termed, “g” for “general intelligence” (Sternberg, 1997). More recent theories of intelligence in contrast suggest that human intelligence can be best conceptualised as multiple abilities or intelligences (Kaplin, & Saccuzzo, 2005). However, a number of different intelligences have been proposed, and there is a general lack of consensus about how many intelligences there are (Sternberg, 1997). One such theory by Thurstone (1930) proposes that there are seven components of intellect. He termed “Primary Mental Abilities”: 1. Verbal ability. 2. Verbal fluency. 3. Numerical ability. 4. Spatial ability. 5. Perceptual ability. 6. Inductive reasoning. 7. Memory (Kaplin, & Saccuzzo, 2005). Cattell (1971, 1987) on the other hand insisted that g should be split into two dimensions: fluid (gf), abilities, that represents an individual’s ability to reason, think, and acquire new knowledge, and crystallised (go) intelligence, that represents an individual’s acquired knowledge and understanding (Caruso & Cliff, 1999). More recently, Gardner (1983) proposed seven relatively independent competencies, Linguistic, Musical, Logical-mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-kinaesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal. In addition, an intermediary stance has been adopted between g and multiple intelligences (Kaplin, & Saccuzzo). For example, Vernon (1950), suggested that there was multiple...
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