Cognitive / Giftedness

Cognitive or IQ Assessments

What is a Cognitive / IQ Assessment?

A cognitive or IQ assessment involves a series of different activities to help identify a child’s specific learning style, strengths and areas of need. This knowledge helps to generate suitable recommendations for teachers, parents and other professionals that are used to meet those learning needs of school aged children.

The learning profile generated by an assessment conveys a great deal of information about a child, both educationally and behaviourally. Firstly, the assessment generates scores known as an IQ score. This can also be regarded as an estimate of the child’s general cognitive ability and can be used to help understand and predict how a child will function in a school context. Secondly, observations can increase understanding as to how a child approaches tasks, reacts to failure and praise, and their general attitude towards learning.

​What can Cognitive Assessments be used for?

Understanding the findings of a cognitive assessment and following the given recommendations, assists teachers, parents and other specialists in better understanding a child/adolescent’s cognitive profile.

In general, an IQ assessment can be used to:

  • Gain a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the child’s strengths and needs.
  • Determine if a child is reaching their learning potential.
  • Assess and understand fluctuations in concentration and attention levels.
  • In collaboration with other appropriate assessments, diagnose specific learning problems.
  • Once a diagnosis is made, appropriate recommendations and methods of intervention can be made.

​Reasons why Cognitive Assessments are administered

There are many reasons why children may be referred for assessment. Each referral is looked at individually and the assessment process is structured accordingly. Referrals are often made from Parents, Teachers, Individual Learning Needs Specialists, other Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, GPs, etc.​

It is also common that a reason for a referral entails a re-assessment. If a child needs to be re-assessed some aspects must be considered. These include the purpose or reason for re-testing, the amount of time between the current test and the previous test as well as the age at which the previous assessment was administered. Whilst the WISC-V can be administered to children of young ages, it is important to remember that language skills are still being acquired at preschool and early school stages. Thus, the assessment scores may not be as accurate when compared to the scores of the student in later years. The reason being that in the early years of primary school, children of this age are still developing language skills and as the WISC-V is highly verbally based, the language component is a big factor, which determines success. Language acquisition is more stable and better developed as the child advances through school.

Tests Used

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence | Fourth Edition

Age range: 2:6 – 7:7

The WPPSI–IV is an innovative measure of cognitive development for preschoolers and young children that's rooted in contemporary theory and research that also places a strong emphasis on child-friendly, developmentally appropriate features and includes new processing speed tasks, the addition of working memory subtests, an expanded factor structure. The extensive enhancements are targeted to benefit both children and examiners.


Age range: 6:0 – 16:11

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®–Fifth Edition, the latest version of the most proven trusted cognitive ability measure ever. It has been redesigned to give you a truly comprehensive picture of a child's abilities and it includes notable improvements to make identifying the issues—and finding the solutions—faster and easier, without sacrificing the Wechsler gold standard of excellence. The WISC–V gives you flexibility and interpretive power, along with access to more subtests, so you get a broader view of a child's cognitive abilities. New subtests are targeted to common referral questions for children such as the presence of a specific learning disability. An expanded factor structure provides new and separate visual spatial and fluid reasoning composites for all ages.

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - Australian and New Zealand Standardised, Third Edition (WIAT-III A&NZ)

Age range: 4:0 - 50:11

The WIAT-III is suitable for use in a variety of clinical, educational, and research settings, including schools, clinics, private practices, and residential treatment facilities. Use WIAT-III results to:

  • Identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of a student
  • Inform decisions regarding eligibility for educational services, educational placement, or diagnosis of a specific learning disability
  • Design instructional objectives and plan interventions

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale | Fourth Edition

Age Range: 16.0 - 90.11

The WIAT-IV is used to assess intellectual profile for people between 16 and 90 years old. It is composed by four scores and a general intelligence index. The four indexes are VCI, PRI, WMI and PSI. Every index is composed by two or three subtest that are required to obtain the total IQ score.


Other Measures:

You will also be required to complete questionnaires based on social-emotional, developmental and behavioural aspects.

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