Chapter 2: WAIS-III test performance in a SA context: Extension of an existing cross-cultural normative database

AUTHOR/S: A. Edwards, Gaylard, S. Radloff

ABSTRACT: The aim of this chapter is to present new research data, preceded by a brief review of the application of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale in South Africa, including the SAWAIS (1969), the HSRC standardization of the WAIS-III (Claassen, Holzhauzen, & Mathe, 2001), and prior cross-cultural normative indications (Shuttleworth-Edwards et al., 2004). The latter study provided preliminary normative data for the WAIS-III on a Southern African population, that was stratified for race and first language (‘Black African’ versus ‘White English’), level of education (‘Grade 12’ versus ‘Graduate’) and quality of education (‘Advantaged Education’ via schooling completed within the historically white private and/or former Model C educational institutions, versus ‘Disadvantaged Education’ via schooling completed within the formerly designated black township Department of Education and Training educational institutions). A limitation of the research was the lack of control for language within the black participants that were drawn from the Eastern Cape, South Africa as well as from Zimbabwe.  In order to rectify the lack of homogeneity of language, all non- Xhosa first language participants were excluded from the black sample and sixteen additional Xhosa first language participants were tested on the WAIS-III.  Data analyses found no significant differences between the original and new groups, except in the comparison between mixed African language Private/Model C graduates and the Xhosa first language Private/Model C graduates, where there was a lowering of WAIS-III subtest, index and IQ scores in the latter group.  This lowering is explained in that the pure Xhosa first language group was less educationally advantaged than the original mixed African first language group.  Overall, these results demonstrate an incremental increase in WAIS-III test performance for sample groups on a continuum of quality of education from least to most advantaged education, with quality of education being a more potent variable than race and first language.  This was true for both verbal and non-verbal subtests.

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