NYC ERB Will Use WPPSI®-IV for ECAA Testing for Private School Admissions

The ERB recently revised its “What to Expect on the ECAA” brochure to reflect the changes it is making on the test for NYC kids applying to private kindergarten. They are using the new WPPSI®-IV to assess Manhattan children applying for kindergarten admissions. For those of you who have been doing practice questions with your child for the WPPSI-III, don’t worry – many of subtests are very similar to what was on the WPPSI®-III.

The Early Childhood Admissions Assessment or ECAA is the IQ test that is given to little NYC independent school applicants one-to-one by a psychologist each year. It takes about 40 – 50 minutes to administer and is given in the spring and fall before children apply to NYC independent schools. Many kids are tested in their nursery schools, while others are assessed at the ERB office at 470 Park Avenue South. If you visit the ERB website at, download the ECAA What to Expect brochure, and you will get an idea of the types of questions your child will be asked.

If your child is entering Pre-K to 1st grade, he will be given 8 subtests for a full scale IQ score and the assessment should take about 40-50 minutes. Here are the 8 subtests that will be administered:

Verbal Subtests
1) Vocabulary
2) Similarities
3) Information (replaced “Word Reasoning” from WPPSI®-III)
4) Comprehension

Non-Verbal Subtests
5) Block Design
6) Matrix Reasoning
7) Bug Search (replaced “Coding” from WPPSI®-III)
8) Picture Concepts

Practice questions for all of these subtests are available at

FAQ’s about IQ Tests For Young Children

1) Which subtests of the IQ test will my child take?

When we talk about IQ Tests, we are talking about tests such as the WPPSI®-III or IV or the Stanford-Binet V, tests that are administered by psychologists working one-on-one with your child. These tests often have many subtests, but your child is not always given every possible subtest from the instrument.

The subtests that are administered depend on the reason why your child is being assessed. If your child is being assessed to qualify for a private school program, for example, the private schools usually direct the psychologist as to which subtests should be administered. In cities like Manhattan, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta, there are test administration groups that administer the test one time to a child, and that score can be used for applications to schools across the city. In those locations, every child will be given the same subtests that the association of independent schools has decided they want all children to be given.

If your child is being assessed to determine if she has a learning issue, the psychologist will use her judgment as to whether a full scale IQ test should be given, or whether a more limited assessment is called for. IQ tests generally have Core Subtests, Supplemental Subtests, and Optional Subtests. The psychologist may substitute some subtests for others if your child has limitations in language or motor skills, or if for any reason she feels a different subtest is more appropriate to helping her understand your child’s learning delays.

2) How long does the test take?

Depending on whether or not the psychologist is giving the full test, administration times may vary. On many of the subtests on IQ tests, children start with a question that is easy for them and they are allowed to keep going until they miss 4 or 5 in a row (or until they get to the end of the questions in a subtest). So children who answer more questions may take longer to be tested. Generally, the test lasts 30 – 45 minutes for younger children (i.e. ages 2:6 – 3:11) and 45 – 60 minutes for older children (i.e. ages 4:0 to 7:7).

3) If my child is 4, will he be compared to all 4-year-olds or to 4-year-olds that are born in the same month in which he was born?

On the WPPSI® tests for young children, kids are compared to other children born within 3 months of themselves. So a child born January 1 who takes the test the day after her birthday would be compared to children who are 4:0 (as she is) through 4:2 – a 3-month age band. Many parents try to schedule the test when their child is at the oldest part of the age band so she will be compared to younger children (with this child, that would be at the end of March). If this is easy for you to do, it is probably a good idea, but you don’t always have control over when your child will be tested. If you can’t control when the test will be given, you shouldn’t get too stressed about it. There are often good reasons to wait and have a child tested as late as possible, and that might preclude the child from being tested at the “best” part of the age band.

On the Stanford-Binet V, young children are compared to other children born within 2 months of their birthday.

4) If my child doesn’t give a complete answer on a verbal item, can the psychologist encourage him to say more?

Yes, when a child’s answer is incomplete or vague, the psychologist can say, “Tell me more” or “What else” or “Can you explain that to me?”

5) If my child isn’t following instructions, can they be repeated?

Yes, on tasks that are not timed, instructions can be repeated if the child isn’t following the instructions or if the child requests that the instructions be repeated. When the instructions are allowed to be repeated, they can usually be repeated as often as is requested by the child. On timed subtests, instructions may be repeated, but the time to repeat the instructions will be included in your child’s completion time.

If your child does ask for the instructions to be repeated a lot, or if she fails to follow instructions, this will probably result in a notation in the comments section of your child’s test. Private schools that are considering children for admission do pay attention to how well your child listens and pays attention to instructions. For this reason, it is important for you to work with your child on her listening, focusing and following directions skills.

6) Will the psychologist show my child how to do each type of subtest before the actual test starts?

Yes, there are always sample questions where the child is shown what to do and how to answer each type of question. After they have completed one or two sample items successfully, they will go ahead and begin working on the subtest. The psychologist is instructed not to proceed to the actual test until she is sure the child understands what to do.

7) How do I explain to my child why he is being tested?

You might say something along these lines. “Today you’ll be working with a special teacher who wants to know everything that 4 year olds know. The teacher is very nice, just like your teacher, Mrs. Smith. You’ll be working with blocks, playing with puzzles, and answering questions like the questions you answer in school. Just do the very best you can and show her how much 4-year-olds like you know! You may not know the answer to all the questions you’re asked, and that’s just fine. Just give your best guess to whatever she asks, and do your best on each puzzle or activity.”

8) If I don’t understand my child’s test scores or report, will the psychologist sit down with me and explain it?

Before your child is tested, talk to the psychologist. Ask her if a follow up consultation either in person or by phone is included in the cost of the assessment. If not, you may have to pay extra for the private consultation. But if you have any question about your child’s performance, it will be important for you to talk to the psychologist and get a more detailed understanding of what your child’s scores mean.

For Practice questions for IQ Tests, visit or take a look at IQ Fun Park, the test prep kit disguised as a game.

More on WPPSI®-IV vs. WPPSI®-III (or Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence®)

When you learn that your child will be given the WPPSI®-III or WPPSI®-IV, it is important to understand that they are taking an IQ or intelligence test. An alternative to the WPPSI® test that is often given is the Stanford-Binet V. These tests are administered one-on-one with a psychologist and can take from 45 minutes to over an hour. The test was updated in October, 2012, and most psychologists will be using it by fall 2013.

I am really excited about the updates to the new WPPSI-IV test. Pearson has added some new subtests that make the test more fun and playful for young children. They have added sections that assess Working Memory, which was not specifically covered on the WPPSI®-III, and they have limited the amount of expressive language a child needs in order to show what they know and understand.

Here are some of the ways WPPSI®-IV differs from WPPSI®-III:

1) Age was expanded. WPPSI-IV is now for Ages 2:6 – 7:7. The test now covers a wider age range. Of course, there are fewer subtests given to younger children (ages 2:6 – 3:11), and the number of subtests a psychologist administers depends on how complete an assessment she chooses to do. Older children (ages 4:0 – 7:7) are given more subtests. A psychologist might choose to give a child subtests to determine a full-scale IQ (FSIQ) score for the child, or she might decide to get a primary index score, which represents intellectual functioning in specific cognitive areas (such as verbal comprehension, visual-spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory, and/or processing speed).

2) Wider Overlap with the WISC®-IV – There is now a wider overlap where a child can either take the WPPSI-IV or the WISC-IV. The WISC®-IV is the “continuation” of the WPPSI®-IV – the subtests are similar and both tests are published by Pearson. Between the ages of 6:0 – 7:7, either test may be administered. For children suspected of having lower cognitive skills, it is probably best that they be given the WPPSI®-IV. The psychologist can start with a lower level of question difficulty for children in this category. If you have a child this age who appears to have a higher level of intelligence, administering the WISC®-IV allows the child to push forward to more difficult questions and show how high he can go. A good psychologist can talk with you about which test is more appropriate after getting a thorough understanding of why you have having your child tested.

3) Less Writing is Required – The WPPSI®-III required children to make symbols using their pencils in the old “Coding” section of the test. Not all children had the fine-motor skills to manage this task. This task was designed to measure a child’s “processing speed” – that is, how quickly they are able to work at a new task. If they were having trouble manipulating their pencil, it wasn’t the best measure of how quickly a child could work. With the WPPSI-IV, ink daubers replace pencils. Processing speed is now measured in the Bug Search and Cancellation subtests with children “stamping” their answer, which requires less development in the way of fine motor skills and is a lot more fun for the child. These two subtests replace the old Cancellation and Symbol Search subtests, and are considered more developmentally appropriate for younger children.

4) Less Expressive Language is Needed – With the WPPSI®-III, children were asked more open-ended questions where they were required to explain their answers. For example, a WPPSI®-III “Comprehension” question might require a child to explain “Why is it important to share your toys.” Young children with limited expressive language skills might have a hard time explaining why sharing toys is important, although they might understand that it is the polite thing to do so that everyone gets a turn to play. With the WPPSI®-IV, the Comprehension questions are now picture-based. A child will hear a question and must understand what he is being asked (receptive language), and then he is expected to point to the answer. So a child may be shown 4 pictures where children are playing together – some not so nicely, some playing separately – and be asked, “Point to the child who is sharing his toys.” There are still expressive language requirements for this test, with the Vocabulary and Picture Naming subtests, but these two subtests are not always administered.

5) Working Memory has been added – Working memory is a critical cognitive skill for school children. When we talk about this ability, we are talking about a child’s ability to hear or see something, to immediately remember it, and then do something with the information. An auditory working memory test activity that you’ll see on IQ tests would involve reading a string of numbers and letters to a child, and asking them to repeat the numbers and letters back with the numbers first going from lowest to highest and the letters second, given back in alphabetical order. This would not be an appropriate task for a young child, of course. Research shows that younger children have stronger visual memories than auditory, so the WPPSI®-IV Working Memory subtests are all visual in nature. A child sees a picture and then must point to in later when it is mixed in with other pictures. Or a child sees an animal card placed in a location on a zoo map. After the animal card is taken away, the child must put the picture back where it was before. To accomplish these Working Memory tasks, children must access skills around attention, concentration, mental control and reasoning – all critical skills for thinking.

I believe the new WPPSI®-IV is a wonderful intelligence test for young children. It’s subtests are based on the latest thinking and research in the field of child development. Parents often ask me, if given a choice, should their child take the Stanford-Binet or the WPPSI? If your school will accept either test as a qualification for acceptance, I would recommend that you ask for the new WPPSI®-IV.

For Practice questions for WPPSI®-IV, visit or take a look at IQ Fun Park, the test prep kit disguised as a game.

Sources of Information about WPPSI®-IV:

Test Publisher’s website:
Test Publisher’s brochure:

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™ – Third Edition (WPPSI™ – III) and Fourth Edition (WPPSI™ – IV) are registered trademarks of Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliate(s), or their licensors. and are not affiliated with nor related to Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliates (“Pearson”). Pearson does not sponsor or endorse any product, nor have products or services been reviewed, certified, or approved by Pearson. Trademarks referring to specific test providers are used by and for nominative purposes only and such trademarks are solely the property of their respective owners.

WPPSI®-IV – The New ERB – How is It Different From the Old Test…and How to Prepare?

In yesterday’s post, we talked about how the ERB administers many tests to children for private school admissions in NYC. In the last few years, they gave 8 out of 14 subtest from the WPPSI®-III and called it the ECAA or Early Childhood Admissions Assessment. The WPPSI®-III has been updated and is now the WPPSI®-IV. It is a good bet that the ERB will adopt portions of this test to assess children applying to private school in NYC. Throughout the U.S., the WPPSI®-IV is administered as a qualifier for children applying to private schools. Today, we’ll talk about some of the new subtests on the WPPSI®-IV. If you want to learn more about this test, you can CLICK HERE to learn what Pearson, the test publisher, says about it in material it has published on-line.

Below, I will tell you about the new subtests on the WPPSI®-IV. At, we have practice materials to help your child build the skills needed for each subtest. These activities, questions, and games are immediately accessible as soon as you join the site. I always recommend joining at the top 1% level as that is where you will get the most practice materials. I would also like to suggest some publicly available games and activities you can do to build the skills needed to do well on each subtest. Please note that if your child is taking the WPPSI®-IV through the ERB in NYC, we don’t know which of the subtests they will be administering – that has not yet been announced.

3 New Measures of Processing Speed

Processing speed captures how quickly your child can perform the activities on the test. Faster processing speed means that your child is able to absorb information and master material at a quicker pace. Being able to work quickly requires your child to focus his attention, scan, discriminate, and manipulate visual information in his mind. Children whose brains work faster are thought to be “smarter.” On tests that measure processing speed, children are timed and given a limited amount of time to complete the task. With the 3 subtests we are about to cover, children use an ink dauber or “stamper” to indicate their responses. Each of the subtests below require solid visual-spatial reasoning, thinking and memory abilities in order to excel.

Bug Search

This is essentially a “matching” activity done within a specific time limit. The child sees the bug in the far left box and must “stamp” the matching bug with his ink dauber. This activity is used with children ages 4:0 – 7:7. There are 66 matching questions. Below (top) is the sample of “Bug Search” that can be found on the test publisher’s website.

You can find similar activities to this one in many educational workbooks designed for children. To build up your child’s “matching” skills, there are tons of early childhood education games you might consider purchasing for your child. Just go to and type in “match game” and many games designed to build these skills will pop up.


With this subtest, a sample of which is shown from the test publisher’s brochure, children ages 4:0 to 7:7 are shown a series of related objects – in this case, items of clothing. They are then shown an organized (i.e. in rows) and later, an unorganized (i.e. “random”) page filled with items of clothing mixed with other child-friendly items like toys, animals, cars, etc. The child must use his ink dauber and stamp each item of clothing that he sees within a specified time. Some good activities to do with your child to build the skills required to do well on this visual-recognition/classification subtest are the “Spot it, Jr.” games, which can be found at I would also recommend “Where’s Waldo” books, also available at Another great item to build your child’s visual-spatial reasoning skills needed to perform this activity are the “I Spy” books. You can buy these at the pre-school level and let your child work her way up to trickier and more complex arrays of hidden items. Children love these books and they have no idea that they are building their non-verbal intelligence when they work with them. You can also get these books at

Animal Coding

The next subtest you’ll find on WPPSI®-IV is Animal Coding, designed for children ages 4:0 – 7:7. Here is a picture of an animal coding worksheet from the Test Publisher’s brochure: Here, children use their ink daubers and stamp the shape that goes with each animal according to the “key” given to them. So (for example), they would stamp a circle when they see a fish, a star when they see a cat, and a square when they see a turtle. There are 72 items. While the child is able to look back at the key to remind himself what to stamp with which animal, that will slow him down. So having a good working memory really helps a child move quickly through this subtest. This subtest has taken the place of “Coding” on the old WPPSI®-III, where children used to make a specific mark when they saw a particular shape tied to a key. The new Animal Coding is much more child-friendly for young kids whose fine-motor skills are just emerging.

New Working Memory Subtests

Another change to the WPPSI®-IV is that Working Memory tasks have been added. Unlike the subtests measuring processing speed, these are not timed. If you read Testing For Kindergarten, you’ll remember that memory – including working memory – is one of the 7 abilities children need for success in school and on tests. Memory is fundamental to higher order thinking. Without it, you cannot think, reason, hypothesize, solve problems or make decisions. Working memory is your child’s ability to retrieve information he was just given, hold on to it, and then do something with it. It is critical to a child’s long-term cognitive success, which is why it has been added to the WPPSI®-IV. The two new Working Memory tasks are both visual. You’ll find aural working memory tasks on tests such as WISC®-IV, where children listen to strings of numbers and letters given to them by the tester – they then have to repeat the letters and numbers back to the tester in a different order. This requires hearing and not seeing the information they must work with. On the WPPSI®-IV, it is visual working memory that is assessed.

Picture Memory

This image comes from the Test Publisher’s brochure on the WPPSI®-IV. In this case, the child from age 2:6 to 7:7 would have previously been shown a “stimulus” picture of one of these items – the star, perhaps. Then the child would be shown the star mixed into an array of other items. She is asked to look at the “stimulus” picture for a short period of time, remember it and then point to the item she just saw. This subtest can get harder by having more “stimulus” pictures and/or more pictures within the array of answer choices. Pictures children have seen earlier in the test may also be repeated, so the child has to remember if this was something she just saw, or something she saw earlier on a different question. There are 35 items on this subtest.

Zoo Locations
Here is what Zoo Locations looks like – the source of the image is the Test Publisher’s Brochure. With Zoo Locations, the child (age 2:6 – 7:7) views an animal card (or cards) that has been placed on a zoo location map for a brief period of them. The card(s) is removed and the child must place the card(s) where it was located before. There are 20 questions. As with the Picture Memory subtest, doing well on this requires strong visual-spatial working memory skills.

To build your child’s visual-spatial working memory abilities, any game that is similar to the old “Concentration” game is recommended. CLICK HERE for an Arthur Concentration game that I found on If you go to Amazon and type in “memory game,” a number of fun memory games come up, including the Original Memory game and some themed-memory games (such as Dr. Seuss and Sesame Street) that may appeal to your child.

There are many other differences between the WPPSI®-III and WPPSI®-IV, which I will write about in future posts. For now, I wanted to show you some of the biggest changes, which are reflected in the sections I wrote about above. At, we have created practice questions and activities that build skills needed for each of the subtests on the WPPSI-IV. If your child will be taking the WPPSI®-IV anytime soon for school admissions consideration, I’d encourage you to join at the top 1% level and work with our materials that are original and different from the test, but designed to help your child build the underlying skills needed to do well on the WPPSI®-IV. I’d also encourage you to mix the activities with some of the games from Amazon that I suggested above. Always keep your test prep fun and playful – that is how your child will learn best.

Sources of Information about WPPSI®-IV:

Test Publisher’s website:
Test Publisher’s brochure:

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™ – Third Edition (WPPSI™ – III) and Fourth Edition (WPPSI™ – IV) are registered trademarks of Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliate(s), or their licensors. and are not affiliated with nor related to Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliates (“Pearson”). Pearson does not sponsor or endorse any product, nor have products or services been reviewed, certified, or approved by Pearson. Trademarks referring to specific test providers are used by and for nominative purposes only and such trademarks are solely the property of their respective owners.

School Admissions Testing – How can I prepare my child?

These days, children are regularly tested to get into private school or gifted and talented programs. If you live in the NYC, the ERB or WPPSI®-III test is given for private school admissions. The OLSAT® and NNAT®2 is given for gifted & talented qualification. The Stanford-Binet is given for Hunter College Elementary qualification. But even if you don’t live in NYC, children around the country are being tested for private school admissions and gifted and talented qualification. The CogAT® Form 6 and Form 7 are commonly given, along with the ITBS® (Iowa Test of Basic Skills), the KBIT®-2 and more.

There is so much you can do to prepare your child for these tests at home. If you have some time, I highly recommend that you pick up my book, Testing For Kindergarten. It is full of games and activities that are fun for your child to do and preparatory for the most common tests that young children are given. IQ Fun Park is a wonderful game you can play with your child that will prepare him for testing. It’s actually a test prep kit, but to a child, it’s play. If you would like your child to do practice questions for the most common tests children are given across the country, offers thousands of practice questions that she can work with either pencil to paper or even as games.

When you do work with your child to prepare for testing, keep it light and fun. Never talk about it as test prep. Call it special homework, brain teasers, or puzzles. Give your child brightly colored stickers for doing a good job. We find that children generally love doing this special work with their parents – it’s a bonding experience. And it is great for you because you get to see what your child is good at and what they need to work on. Once you see that, you’ll want to work on the things that give you’re your child trouble outside of the test prep situation. So, for example, if you learn that your child doesn’t know his letters or numbers during test prep, you’ll want to play fun games with him to teach him those things.

For 100 free practice questions, visit

Visit IQ Fun Park!