What Does The Verbal Comprehension Index on The WISC-V Mean?

By Jessica Smith on Monday, April 11, 2022
image_pdfdownload this as a PDF

Does your child struggle with problem solving? Do they have a hard time expressing their thoughts verbally? Or does your child struggle to recall things that they have learned? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, a full neuropsychological evaluation with Dr. Kulman of South County Child and Family Consultants may be extremely beneficial. 

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children–5th edition (WISC-V) is one of the tests that a psychologist may use during a neuropsychological evaluation to measure the child’s skills, which can help them learn to the best of their abilities. One of the 5 Primary Index scores on the WISC-V is the Verbal Comprehension Index, which measures the child’s verbal skills. The Verbal Comprehension Index consists of two subtests: vocabulary and similarities.  There are also two supplemental tests for the Verbal Comprehension Index: Information and Comprehension. If you would like to learn more details about the makeup of the subtests, you may find this article by edpsyched.com to be helpful! 

To break it down, the Verbal Comprehension Index represents the child’s ability to do a multitude of things: 

  • Retrieve and acquire knowledge about the world around them
  • Utilize and comprehend verbal information within context
  • Reason and problem solve based on previously acquired knowledge
  • Are able to apply their knowledge verbally when presenting their thoughts 

It is important to note that the Verbal Comprehension Index is a reflection of one’s culture. This means that culture can play a role in the child’s Verbal Comprehension Index as different cultures value different skills and depth of knowledge. A child’s score is often reflective of the knowledge and skills their culture sees as essential, practical, and worthwhile to know. Also, this index is impacted by the child’s access to education.

High Scores

Since the Verbal Comprehension Index measures a form of intelligence, children who perform well are often seen as bright and intelligent, as they appear to be a storehouse of information. A high score also suggests that the child has the ability to benefit from their experiences by learning verbal concepts and communication skills, which is often an indication of formal education.

Children with a high Verbal Comprehension Index score, on average:

  • Can effectively retrieve information to express their thoughts or support their learning
  • Can accurately comprehend language, understand others, and ask fact-based informational questions
  • Can access and apply verbal knowledge
  • Can explain their thoughts and articulate facts regarding the world around them 

Low Scores

It is important to note the variability in the Verbal Comprehension Index score when it comes to lower scores. Lower scores could be caused by limited exposure to cultural or educational opportunities. For example, a child’s low score could be a reflection of their lack of educational access, which is not reflective of their actual ability levels. Similarly, a child that is learning multiple languages may have a lower score than is reflective of their actual abilities. 

Children with a low Verbal Comprehension Index score, on average:

  • Have difficulties understanding oral language or verbal expression
  • Have a hard time expressing themselves verbally
  • Struggle to convey basic knowledge about the world despite being able to recall what they have learned
  • Struggle with basic problem-solving and reasoning skills
  • May have a decent breadth of vocabulary knowledge, but have trouble with abstract reasoning or categorization skills

If you are looking for a neuropsychological evaluation that includes the WISC-V’s Verbal Comprehension Index, make an appointment with Dr. Randy Kulman of South County Child and Family Consultant in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Dr. Kulman specializes in working with and evaluating children with ADHD and can help better your child’s learning skills through the evaluation. For more information on South County Child and Family Consultants, contact us here. To read more about The Verbal Comprehension Index, click here

Receive online class information and helpful tips from Dr. Randy Kulman's LearningWorks for Kids