The WMS-IV Designs subtest and Chance responding

Written By: W. Howard Buddin Jr., Ph.D.
Published On: 05/01/2014

The Wechsler Memory Scales – IV (WMS-IV) replaced the much-maligned Family Pictures subtest with the questionable Designs subtest. You may have noticed that, occasionally, examinees will earn points for partially correct responses on Designs, leading to an artificially inflated Scaled Score. What kind of scores could be obtained, then, through chance alone?

Some of my colleagues from the University of Kansas – Wichita investigated that very idea, and their article was recently published in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. You owe it to yourself to give it a read if you use the WMS-IV. Read the abstract and/or download the full-text of “Chance Performance and Floor Effects: Threats to the Validity of the Wechsler Memory Scale—Fourth Edition Designs Subtest” here. If you do not have access to Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, please feel free to contact the corresponding author for a full-text copy.[1]


  1. Please note that the authors have been granted permission to distribute their article in this manner.  ↩

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