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Information Processing/WISC-III PI Interpretive Guide
 
Prepared by Amy Gabel, Ph.D.  1
This list is provided to assist practitioners in looking at patterns across a child’s performance; it is not meant as an exhaustive list of skills and subtests.  Check off the subtest patterns that you see while scoring the PI; indicate those that are statistically significant with an asterisk. Look at the sections and see where you have a “preponderance of evidence” to suggest that the area is
relevant to the student’s functioning. Use the information gathered on the checklist as a guide to think about primary and secondary deficits, as appropriate, and to develop interventions.  Problem solving is not listed on this guide, as the child’s performance on the PI in total tells you about HOW the child solves various types of problems.
 
Referral Question #1: Does the student experience difficulties with tasks that
require attention?  Look at the following:
  Arithmetic lower than Arithmetic Addendum 
  Arithmetic lower than Written Arithmetic
  Spatial Span problems
  Letter Span difficulties
  Significant number of requests for repetition across subtests
  Interval data for Coding – sporadic, excessively slow
  Interval data for Coding – Symbol Copy – sporadic, excessively slow
  Low score on Block Design Multiple Choice vs. others (impulsive
responses)
  Sentence Arrangement – read differently
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Supporting test data (Specify)
  Supporting reports from student and/or parents (Specify)
 
Referral Question #2: Does the student experience difficulties with tasks
requiring Executive Functions?  Look at the following:
  Elithorn Mazes
  Rule violations (high)
  Errors (high)
  Trial 1
  Trial 2
  Latency in planning (slow)
  Stimulus pull observed in Sentence Arrangement 
  Multiple Choice Items (stimulus pull observed)
  Coding Intervals (unusual patterns of extreme slow or fast performance)
  Arithmetic vs. Written Arithmetic (can student pull relevant from irrelevant
details – if no, Written Arithmetic may be higher))
  Errors in Coding (evidence of breaking set?)
  Errors in Symbol Copy (evidence of breaking set?) 
  Breaking set in Digit Span (go forward instead of back)
Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved.Prepared by Amy Gabel, Ph.D.  2
  Errors on Trial 1 of Spans (but do 2
nd
 one ok)
  Spatial Span – differences between forward and reverse conditions
  Evidence of breaking set?
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (Specify)
 
Referral Question 3:  Does the student experience difficulties with tasks that
require efficient motor functioning?  Look at the following:
  Block Design Multiple Choice higher than regular Block Design
  Extra blocks used on Block Design PI
  Are both Symbol Copy and Coding impaired (look at speed issues – if
higher on Symbol Copy, likely not a motor speed issue)
  Symbol Copy low score
  Errors on Symbol Copy
  Elithorn Mazes
o Errors - high
o Time to complete - long
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (specify)
 
Referral Question 4:  Are there language-based difficulties that affect the child’s
performance?  Look at the following:
  No responses across verbally based items
  Information Multiple Choice higher than regular Information
  Vocabulary Multiple Choice higher than regular Vocabulary
  Picture Vocabulary may be higher than regular Vocabulary
  Grammatical errors observed on Sentence Arrangement
  Picture Completion pointing only responses
  Picture Completion NRs (no responses)
  High repetition requests across subtests
  Better score on Letter Span non-rhyming than rhyming (good readers
often show less interference on non-rhyming trials)
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (specify)
Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved.Prepared by Amy Gabel, Ph.D.  3
 
Referral Question 5:  How adequate does the child’s fund of knowledge appear
to be?  Look at-
  Information Multiple Choice sufficiently high 
o Category differences? (Specify)
Arithmetic Comparisons (should be sufficiently high under at least 1 condition)
o Regular vs. Addendum
o vs. Written Arith
o No Responses minimal
  Vocabulary Multiple Choice sufficiently high
  Knowledge expressed in categories on Picture Completion 
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (specify)
 
Referral Question 6:  Are there memory/learning weaknesses that affect the child’s learning?
  Written Arithmetic higher than regular Arithmetic
  Coding Incidental Learning low
  Paired Associate Symbol low
  Paired Associate Digit low
  Free Recall low
  Letter Span low
  Digit Span low
  Spatial Span low
  Retrieval vs. Recognition – Multiple Choice tasks higher (recognition stronger)
o Information Multiple Choice higher than regular Information
o Vocabulary Multiple Choice higher than regular Vocabulary
  Interval rates on coding – significantly slow, intervals static
Referral Question 6a:  Relative to other aspects of memory, are there working
memory weaknesses that affect the child’s performance?
  Arithmetic vs. Arithmetic Addendum vs. Written Arithmetic (follows pattern of low to relatively higher)
  Spatial Span reverse lower than forward condition
  Digit Span reverse lower than forward condition
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (specify)
Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved.Prepared by Amy Gabel, Ph.D.  4
 
Referral Question 7: What are the child’s skills in regard to Spatial-Perceptual
skills?  They are likely to be poor if you see problems such as those below:
  Columns awry in Written Arithmetic
  Block Design PI and Regular Block Design: are problems noted?
  Block Design PI – Structured vs. Non-structured – unstructured lower 
  Block Design Multiple Choice vs. Block Design PI (likely to see higher score on Multiple Choice)
  Breaks in configuration unusually high
  Use of extra blocks 
  Differences in Paired Associates Symbols vs. Digits (greater difficulty with
symbols over digits)
  Errors high
o Coding
o Symbol Copy
  Supporting classroom data (Specify)
  Additional supporting test data (Specify)
  Additional data from parents or student (specify)
 
Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved.
 
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