evaluation lessens. The WISC-R Manual (p. 60) indicates that
the examiner should ask the child to elaborate upon an
ambiguous answer and also to give full credit to any response
that is "equal to or better than" the sample answers.
Notwithstanding these observations, we will not discount Dr.
Williams' suggestion that a black child could be penalized by
Item 12. Item 16 on the information sub-test is, "Who wrote
`Romeo and Juliet?'" The answer: "Shakespeare; Tschaikowsky."
Item 17 is, "What is celebrated on the Fourth of July?"
Answer: "American independence from England."
Item 18 is, "What does C.O.D. mean?" The answer is given as
"cash or collect on delivery (or a correct description of the
process.") Dr. Williams testified that, ". . . there are a lot
of black kids who have not had the exposure and the experience
to the word C.O.D., but it does not mean that black kids
cannot codify abbreviations and symbolize abbreviations at a
Item 20 on the WISC is, "Where is Chile?" The answer: "South
America." This same item appears on the WISC-R as No. 21. It
may have been found that there was some ambiguity in the
question, since the WISC-R item asks, "In what continent is
Chile?" rather than simply, "Where is Chile?" Dr. Williams
pointed out in connection with the WISC item that a little boy
told him, "Well, it's at home on the shelf", obviously
thinking the question referred to the soup known as Chile.
This seems like the misunderstanding about "rubies." When it
is obvious that the child misunderstands the question, the
competent examiner follows up with an additional question.
Item 24 asks, "How far is it from New York to Chicago?" Any
answer from 800 to 1,000 miles is scored correct.
Item 25 is, "When is Labor Day?" The answer should indicate
that it is the first Monday in September.
Item 26 is, "Who discovered the South Pole?" The answer:
Item 29 is, "Who was Genghis Khan?". The answer: "a Mongol
Conqueror of North China." Dr. Williams criticized this item
on the basis that "my knowledge of Genghis Khan has nothing to
do with where I live my environment, so I would disqualify
that as a question of intelligence." We believe Dr. Williams
interprets too literally Wechsler's definition of intelligence
as an ability to cope with one's "environment." The word
"environment" in this context does not denote only one's
immediate physical surroundings. It means the milieu one is
called upon to deal with, which, in the case of a school
child, includes the demands of the classroom as well as those
of the playground and the home neighborhood. The ability to
acquire and assimilate information certainly has something to
do with one's ability to cope in life. Moreover, it should be
noted that the question concerning Genghis Khan is the
twenty-ninth of thirty items on the WISC Information sub-test.
It is obviously an item considered by the test authors to be
very difficult, one designed to test the upper reaches of the
abilities the test purports to measure. The relevance of this
particular item to the placement of children in classes for
the mentally retarded seems nil.
Item 30 on the sub-test is, "What is a lien?" The answer
given is "legal claim on property as a security for a debt or
We turn now to the second sub-test on the WISC, "General
Comprehension." This consists of fourteen items as opposed to
the seventeen items on the WISC-R Comprehension sub-test. The
following WISC items are identical to WISC-R items:
2 (friend's ball) 5
4 (fight) 6
10 (beggar) 12
The following are the WISC items which are not repeated on
Item 3 asks, "What would you do if you were sent to buy a
loaf of bread and the grocer said he did not have any more?"
The general criterion is: "go to another store for it." Dr.
Williams indicated that ". . . the correct response is really
culturally determined, because black kids used to tell me,
`Well, I go back home, because my mama told me don't be
foolin' around on the street, that if I go to the store, don't
get lost, don't go any other place, because I'm going to beat
Dr. Williams was not cross-examined as to how frequently he
encountered such a response, nor the particulars of any
specific testing situation. Generally, this was true as to all
of his testimony concerning the responses he claims to have
obtained from black children on the specific test items. It
would have been helpful to the court if plaintiffs had
produced the actual scoring sheets used in tests given black
children. These sheets would have shown the verbatim responses
of the children. No problem of confidentiality prevented the
use of actual test papers, since the names of the children
involved would simply have been blocked out. As an example of
how easily this could have been done, the defendants produced
for plaintiffs' use the records pertaining to 6,000 children
in the Chicago school system who were tested for retardation.
This was done pursuant to a protective order which provided
for blocking out the names of the children and otherwise
preserving the confidentiality of the information. The
production of that kind of evidence would have been far
preferable to these almost casual recollections of Dr.
Williams, the accuracy of which has to be taken on blind
The other items appearing on the WISC "General Comprehension
Sub-Test" which are not repeated in the WISC-R are Items 5, 8,
9 and 11. No witness commented about any of these items.
Item 5 asks, "What should you do if you see a train
approaching a broken track." The general criterion is: "Give
appropriate warning to the approaching train." Two-point
answers are those which suggest signaling the train, such as
waving a handkerchief or something bright. One-point answers
involve something more indirect, such as "tell the man in the
station, and he'd stop the train. . . ."
Item 8 asks, "Why should women and children be saved first
in a shipwreck?" General criteria are: "women more necessary
for the care of children; children have a longer life ahead
than adults; women and children are not as strong as men."
Two-point responses recognize at least two of the above;
one-point responses recognize at least one.
Item 9 is, "Why is it better to pay bills by check than by
cash?" General criteria art: "the returned check is a record
of payment; it is safer; more convenient." Two-point responses
recognize at least two of the above ideas; one-point responses
recognize at least one.
It appears to me that Item 9 is subject to the same
criticism as Item 18 of the General Information sub-test
("C.O.D.") as far as the experience of many black children is
Item 11 asks, "Why should most government positions be
filled through examinations?" General criteria are: "To get
better qualified and trained people; set standards; reduce
political favoritism; prevent nepotism." Two-point responses
recognize at least two of the above, one-point responses
include at least one.
The third sub-test on the WISC is "Arithmetic." There are
sixteen items, with one point for each. The test is
discontinued after three consecutive failures. Items 1 through
13 are read to the subject. Items 14-16 are presented on
separate cards for the subject to read. There is a time limit
for each problem. The limit is 45 seconds for Items 1-3, 30
seconds for Items 4-11, 60 seconds for Item 12, 30 seconds for
Item 13, 60 seconds for Item 14, and 120 seconds each for
Items 15 and 16.
In Item 1, the examiner places nine blocks in a row before
the child and says, "Count these blocks with your finger."
Item 2 asks the child, "Now take away all
of the blocks except four. Leave four blocks for yourself."
Item 3 is similar to Item 2, except that the child is asked
to take away all blocks except seven.
Item 4 is, "If I cut an apple in half, how many pieces will
Item 5 is, "John had four pennies and his mother gave him
two more. How many pennies did he have altogether?"
Item 6 is, "James had 8 marbles and he bought 6 more. How
many marbles did he have altogether?"
Item 7 is, "A boy had 12 newspapers and sold 5. How many did
he have left?"
Item 8 is, "At 7 cents each, what will 3 cigars cost?"
Item 9 asks, "A milkman had 25 bottles and sold 11 of them.
How many bottles did he have left?"
Item 10 is, "Four boys had 72 pennies. They divided them
equally among themselves. How many pennies did each boy
Item 11 is, "A workman earned $36.00; he was paid $4.00 a
day. How many days did he work?"
Item 12 reads, "If you buy 3 dozen oranges at 30 cents a
dozen how much change should you get back from $1.00?"
Item 13 is, "Thirty-six is two-thirds of what number?"
Item 14 is, "If 3 pencils cost 5 cents, what will be the
cost of 24 pencils?"
Item 15 is, "If a taxi charges 20 cents for the first
quarter mile and 5 cents for each quarter mile thereafter,
what will be the fare for a two-mile trip?"
Finally, Item 16 asks: "Smith and Brown start a card game
with $27.00 each. They agree that at the end of each deal the
loser shall pay the winner 1/3 of what he (the loser) then has
in his possession. Smith wins the first three deals. How much
does Brown have at the beginning of the fourth deal?"
No witness commented on the "Arithmetic" sub-test.
The next WISC sub-test is "Similarities." The first part of
the test consists of four questions entitled "Analogies."
These four questions are given to children under eight years
or subjects suspected of mental deficiency. Each of the four
items in "Analogies" is read to the subject and he is to
complete the item:
1. "Lemons are sour but sugar is _______."
2. "You walk with your legs and throw with your
3. "Boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to
4. "A knife and a piece of glass both _______."
If a subject passes two of the four "Analogies" items, he
proceeds with Similarities, which are Items 5 through 16 of
the test. He continues until he has three consecutive zero
responses. Responses are scored two, one or zero, depending
upon the degree and quality of the generalization. The
examiner presents each item by asking, "In what way are a
_______ and a _______ alike?"
Item 5 is "plum-peach." Two points are given for a response
stating that they are both fruits. One point is given for a
response saying they are both food, both round, both have a
skin or some other specific characteristic.
Item 6 is "cat-mouse." Two points are given for a response
stating they are both animals, mammals or creatures. One point
is given for a response indicating they both have four legs,
eyes, that they both eat, or any other specific common
The remaining items in the sub-test are:
11. Scissors-copper pan
16. The numbers forty-nine and twenty-one.
The maximum score on the sub-test is 28 points. As will be
noted, some of the WISC items were repeated on the WISC-R.
No witness referred to this sub-test on either the WISC-R or
The next sub-test is "Vocabulary." It is administered in the
same manner as the vocabulary test on the WISC-R. It contains
forty words rather than the thirty-two words on the WISC-R.
Twenty of the WISC vocabulary words are repeated in the
WISC-R. They are: Bicycle, knife, hat, umbrella, nail, donkey,
diamond, join, nuisance, brave, nonsense, gamble, fable,
belfry, espionage, stanza, seclude, affliction, mantis and
The remaining twenty WISC words that were not used in WISC-R
(with WISC item number indicated) are:
There was no reference in the testimony to any of the WISC
vocabulary items other than "umbrella."
The next sub-test is "Digit-Span," consisting, as in the
WISC-R, of "Digits Forward" and "Digits Backward." The
fourteen items on this sub-test are identical to the fourteen
items on the WISC-R "Digit Span" sub-test. The only difference
is in the method of scoring. On the WISC-R, the subject is
given either two points, one point or zero points for an item,
depending upon whether he correctly repeats both trials, one
trial or neither trial of the item. On the WISC, the subject
is given a number of points for each item equal to the number
of digits he repeats correctly on either trial of the item.
This difference in scoring does not seem material to the
question of racial bias.
The next sub-test on the WISC is "Picture Completion." There
are some differences between this sub-test and its WISC-R
counterpart. The WISC contains twenty items, the WISC-R
twenty-six items. The child is given 15 seconds to respond to
each item on the WISC, 20 seconds on the WISC-R. Some of the
items on the two are different, some are the same. The
following items are identical:
1 (comb) 1
3 (fox) 3
5 (cat) 5
6 (door) 13
9 (scissors) 18
12 (screw) 20
16 (thermometer) 22
18 (umbrella) 26
19 (cow) 21
20 (house) 23
Four other items on the two tests are substantially identical.
Item 4 on the WISC shows a white woman missing a mouth whereas
Item 2 on the WISC-R shows a black woman missing a mouth. Item
8 on the WISC shows a seven of diamonds missing one of the
diamonds, whereas Item 14 on the WISC-R shows a five of
diamonds missing one of the diamonds. Item 10 on the WISC
shows a 1940's style jacket missing its buttonholes, whereas
Item 16 on the WISC-R shows a modern jacket missing the
buttonholes. Item 15 on the WISC, showing a male profile
without an eyebrow, is repeated as Item 25 on the WISC-R, but
the male has a modern hair style rather than the shorter hair
of the 1940's.