Why do most independent primary schools require an aptitude test for admission?
As an admission director, I want the children who join our community to thrive in our environment and this assessment can be useful in determining a child's readiness. I hope to get a sense of how your son or daughter solves problems. Your child's development in the areas of verbal reasoning, visual-spatial problem solving, fluid reasoning, memory and visual-motor speed of processing will be measured and compared with the development of same-aged peers. Tests are just one part of the admission process to understanding how we may best teach your child.
What is the difference between the WPPSI-IV and WISC? What is the right test for my child?
- If your child is younger than six years old and entering either Junior Kindergarten or Kindergarten they will take the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence for Children - Fourth Edition. You will hear it referred to as the WPPSI-IV (whip-see-four).
- The test for children between ages 6 and 16 is the WISC. This stands for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
- The objective of the exams is to understand the student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
- No preparation is needed or allowed for either assessment.
- A qualified examiner, typically administered by a psychologist who works one-on-one with your child and measures different abilities.
- The assessment takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Approximately a week after the assessment the examiner will send you a written summary which includes a Verbal Comprehension Index Score, a Fluid Reasoning Score, a General Abilities Index and a Full Scale IQ Score.
What can parents do to prepare for the WPPSI test?
- Student test preparation is NOT needed nor is it permitted for the assessment.
- Locate a list of testers on the school's admission website. You will likely see a variety of testing locations and fees.
- Before scheduling, look carefully at your calendar and try to avoid days that might be particularly hard for your child to focus or may not be fully rested - i.e. the morning of their birthday party or the Monday after a family trip.
- Please be sure to ask your examiner questions and share any concerns.
- If your child sometimes has difficulty separating, discuss this with the tester beforehand. Having a plan in place will help ease your worries.
- Ask if there is any paperwork you need to prepare before your visit. Your comfort with the tester is extremely important as children can read if you are a bit anxious or nervous.
- The day before the test, make sure your child gets a good night's sleep.
- The day of the test, feed your child a healthy breakfast or snack to ensure they have the energy to focus on the activities.
- If your child is sick the morning of the assessment, reschedule for another day.
What do I tell my child to help prepare her?
Psychologists I work with encourage parents to tell their child they will be working with a grown-up and you will be waiting nearby. Telling a child they will get to play with blocks should help too!
Keep in mind the WPPSI-IV was designed for little ones.
Children have a lot of fun doing the various verbal and non-verbal activities. And, testing is just one part of the admission process at independent or private schools. Understanding how your little one tackles problems can aid in how we teach them. All independent schools have a range of scores that predict success in their particular program. Remember, we want children to thrive in our educational environment and assessments can be useful in determining a child's readiness for a particular program.