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Woodcock Johnson Brief Achievement Testing, Speed and Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 3.5 year old daughter was tested with the Woodcock Johnson Brief Achievement test to see if she will score high enough to get into PRE-K 4. My other daughter tested last year, was in the testing room for 25 minutes or so and scored a 98. This year, my second daughter was only in there for 13 minutes. Is there a correlation between time and scores?

Also, can the test be wrong? My second child is extremely verbal and has been for a while. She also has an incredible ability to problem solve but she cant write her name. Does the Woodcock test for different things like that? To me they seem immeasurable! Any response would be very much appreciated.

Thank you kindly.

A: The Woodcock-Johnson Brief Battery provides reliable and valid tests of the nine key academic areas. It introduces a discrete set of items, clusters, test records, and interpretive procedures that provide solutions for brief and focused achievement assessment. This test can be administered between 15 to 45 minutes generally but varies based on the number of subtests given usually based on the child's ability and chronological age. Approximately 5 minutes per subtest.

Your first child was within the time range in answering the questions, however, it appears that your second child managed to complete the test very quickly. The test measures a child's ability to answer correctly the test item. There is no direct correlation between time and test score per se. Because this test is non-bracketed, which means that a child can rise to his or her ability, rather than being confined to questions at their chronological grade level. Each child is assessed using the material appropriate to age and level of accomplishment, working toward higher material until s/he answers incorrectly 3-6 consecutive items, depending on the subtest. Your child may have completed very quickly either because she was able to answer very quickly or the items were answered incorrectly 3-6 time consecutively. Her results would be able to clarify this.

This is an achievement test – it will test what a child has been exposed to and learnt in academic areas. For verbal and problem solving skills, an intelligence test may do greater justice to gauge innate ability.

Hope that helps. All the best!


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