Aristotle Circle, who publishes the WISC™-IV Workbook, provides the following description. (They are a New York based company providing tutoring and advisory services and publishing a range of high end test preparation products.) Comments from Think Tonight follow after Aristotle Circle's comments.
Product Description from Publisher
The WISC™-IV is a standardized test that is often administered to children ranging from 6-16 years of age. This exam measures students' abilities in areas such as abstract thinking, reasoning, mathematical knowledge, working memory, language, categorization, and processing speed. The full WISC™-IV consists of 15 different subtests and is commonly used as an admissions requirement for private schools or as an eligibility tool for gifted and talented programs. In New York City, children must take an abbreviated version of the WISC™-IV (10 subtests are administered instead of the full 15) that is administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) if applying for entry to grades 2-4 at most private schools. This particular workbook set is inclusive of the 10 major subtests that are administered in New York City by the ERB. Furthermore, the workbooks offer detailed descriptions of the additional 5 subtests that are administered for the full WISC™-IV, as well as examples of each of the types of 5 subtest questions.
The WISC™-IV workbooks help families understand the content on all 15 subtests of the WISC™-IV, as well as provide ample practice questions for the 10 specific subtests that are administered by the ERB in NYC, which will help children feel confidently prepared for the exam.
These workbooks also provide:
- Details about the test, such as how it is administered and scored.
- 9 bi-colored blocks.
- 50 practice questions for each of the 10 subtests that are administered by the ERB in NYC, structured and presented in a way that is similar to the WISC™-IV.
- Details and examples of the additional 5 subtests that are administered as a part of the full WISC™-IV test.
- Challenging levels of difficulty that are appropriate for children up to 16 years of age.
- Suggested activities to help children build the skills necessary to be successful on the exam.
NOTE: The WISC™-IV workbook set consists of both a Parent Book and Child Book.
Aristotle Circle's workbooks are proven to work. They are the preparation materials most recommended by the people who know: the experts on admissions testing and the parents who have used them. The exercises and information our workbooks contain give your child the tools needed to perform to the best of his or her abilities and with less anxiety and frustration.
Some Thoughts From Think Tonight:
We carry Aristotle Circle's WISC™-IV Workbook because we're a business and we have customers asking for a product like this. When we started our business we were able to honestly tell those customers that there was nothing on the market. "The WISC-IV is a protected test. The questions are confidential and there is limited public information about the content of the questions." In recent years the situation has changed.
The WISC-IV remains a protected test and there are potential problems if your child has been prepared specifically for the test but, driven by the incredible competitiveness in New York City to get into both public Gifted and Talented programs and private schools, tutoring companies started to publish test specific workbooks. These vary from rubbish with obvious English grammar and logic errors, little relationship to the test they claim to help you prepare for and low quality presentation, to exceptionally well produced products which map closely to the test. Aristotle Circle is at the top end of these companies.
We found ourselves spending a lot of time on the phone explaining to parents that "Yes, there are test specific workbooks," but "No, we do not carry them," and then explaining why. To save ourselves that time we've presented Aristotle Circle's information about their product above and comments from reviewers below.
We invite you to read the following comments from reviewers and make your own decision. If you want to "prepare" your child for the WISC in a way that doesn't raise ethical concerns please browse our Preparation for the WISC-IV Suggestions by Age
External Reviewer's Comments:
DON'T DO IT- Will invalidate results
Bought this book for my daughter as she was curious and a little anxious about the test. We looked through it for about twenty minutes and then put it away, but then during the test administration she mentioned to the tester that she had practiced for it, and the tester noticed she seemed familiar with the instructions. You are not supposed to prepare for the test, so the tester was obligated to put the fact that my daughter had been prepped in her report to the private school to which we were applying, which invalidated her results. It was embarrassing, expensive (she had to take another comparable test later) and counterproductive (can't help but think it prejudices our application and she didn't do as well on the different test.)
There's a lot of criticism in the reviews about giving your child an unfair advantage, but I didn't see anything about invalidating the results. I should have done more research. So unless you're interested in warning your child he/she has to lie about practicing, I would avoid this. I wish I had.
The use of these booklets is unethical and invalidates the test results. This is not the equivalent of prepping for the SAT- this is the equivalent of climbing into your child's teacher's window and copying tomorrow's test, then changing a couple of words to make a "study guide." The tests are designed to expose the child to new concepts, so are completely invalid if the child is already familiar with the format. If you are using the test to find out about your child's abilities, then you have wasted your money. If you are using the test to gain admission to a school, this is cheating, which is not a good lesson to teach your child about how to get ahead in life. Psychologists and schools are aware that these test prep kits exist and are on the lookout for signs that a child has been prepped. As a psychologist, I know that the widespread use of these test prep kits forces the test makers to repeatedly revise their tests. They pass this cost along to the psychologists, who must then pass it along to the children that we test. These are important tests with important uses and are not children's toys.
This book is a sad commentary on the modern education system
To start off, I am a psychologist who administers IQ tests to children. I understand why parents want to prep their children for IQ tests. NYC parents enroll their children at the best preschools while they are still in the womb, then prep them for every test along the way (including IQ tests) to gain admission to the "best" schools and ivy league colleges. This, then, assures them of a good job on Wall Street. I understand that the public school system in NYC is so awful that parents go to great lengths to keep their children out of it. It's sad that this appears to be the only route to "success" in NYC.
I hope that parents understand a few important things before prepping their children for IQ tests. First, you are not increasing your child's level of "intelligence," you are merely prepping them for a test. Sure, their score may go up, but it doesn't mean that they are smarter. The "99th percentile" was established using children who had never seen the test before. Those are TRULY genius children. If your child needs weeks of prep to reach the 99th percentile, they are not a genius.
Second, creating unrealistic expectations is not the best path to success. Sure, challenging a child is great. But accept your child for who they are, and they will love you for it. Please don't create an environment where love is contingent upon unreasonable expectations. When you prep your non-gifted child into the "gifted" program, don't be surprised when they are unable to keep up with the work. YOU created a situation in which they were unable to succeed.
What are you really measuring?
As a licensed school psychologist I can tell you that If you prepare to take the WISC-IV using study materials then you will no longer be assessing intelligence. The purpose of the WISC is to measure adaptation to novelty and if you prepare you are compromising the integrity of the test.
Ethically, you are not allowed to prepare for the WISC since it is not an achievement test. It's cheating.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®,WISC®, and WPPSI™ are trademarks, in the US and /or other countries, of Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s), or their licensors, which do not endorse these products.