WISC-R prediction of learning for Puerto Ricans with varying degrees of English language proficiency

Fernando Francisco Lopez-Diaz, Fordham University


The predictive validity of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised/Escala de Inteligencia Wechsler para Ninos-Revisada Verbal, Performance, and Full Scale IQ was considered for Anglo and Hispanic children of differing degrees of language proficiency on a measure of academic achievement (California Achievement Test (CAT)) and a learning task (The Tower of Hanoi (TOH)). A sample of 120 subjects (ages 10-13) was divided into two SES/gender-controlled groups consisting of 40 controls (white, native English speakers), and 80 Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent. The experimental subjects were divided into four groups of 20 according to their degree of language proficiency in Spanish and English: Comparably Superior, English Superior, Spanish Superior, and Comparably Limited. An analysis of variance revealed that for the WISC-R/EIWN-R IQ scores, the Control and Comparably Superior groups were similar, but all of the Hispanic groups differed from each other significantly. It would not be appropriate to use the WISC-R/EIWN-R IQ scores to predict scores on either criterion variable, based on a pooled regression estimate (Fisher-Z transformation). The WISC-R/EIWN-R was found to be a valid predictor for both academic achievement (CAT) and performance on a learning task (TOH) for the Control and Comparably Superior groups. For the English Superior and Comparably Limited Hispanic groups, however, the WISC-R/EIWN-R had no validity in predicting performance on a learning task (TOH) while it was valid for predicting academic achievement (CAT). In the case of the Spanish Superior group, there was a negative relationship between WISC-R/EIWN-R IQ scores and performance on the learning task (TOH) in which children with lower IQs performed better than children with higher IQs. But the WISC-R/EIWN-R IQ measure was found to be a valid predictor for academic achievement (CAT) with the Spanish Superior group. These findings suggest that for non-native English speakers WISC-R/EIWN-R IQ tests are to some extent assessing degrees of language proficiency rather than innate ability.

Subject Area

Psychological tests|Educational evaluation|Special education

Recommended Citation

Lopez-Diaz, Fernando Francisco, "WISC-R prediction of learning for Puerto Ricans with varying degrees of English language proficiency" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9304521.