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Difference between the WISC and Woodcock Johnson Test

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: What is the difference between (WISC) and Woodcock Johnson Test (WJ)?

A: Let me brief you with some details of each of the test in general.

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is an intelligence test for children between the ages of six and 16 inclusive. This test can be completed without reading or writing. The WISC would generate an IQ score (the average score being 100). Apart from generating an IQ score, some practitioners also tend to use it to diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities; though to diagnose disorders it is best to use a battery of tests. The WISC is also used to assess a childˇ¦s cognitive development based on the childˇ¦s chronological age. This contributes information concerning a childˇ¦s developmental and psychological well-being.

As for the Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) Test, there are two types administered to children from age two up to the oldest adults (with norms utilizing individuals in their 90s). The WJ Tests of achievement is an achievement measure (test of developed skill or knowledge) used in educational diagnosis. It tells us how well a student is performing in traditional academic areas when compared to hundreds of other students. The WJ-III Achievement Test is probably the most often recommended individual achievement test for gifted children, due to its high ceiling. The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities correlates well with IQ tests and can be used in place of the WISC test since the test similar skills. It is also known to cover a wide variety of cognitive skills. Apparently, these two different WJ tests were developed to enable a tester to efficiently look for gaps between intelligence and achievement.

Both are well known test, one is an IQ test, the other an achievement measure. Research has indicated that the Woodcock-Johnson indices proved to correlate a better with achievement compared to the WISC. It was also found that learning disabled students performed more poorly on the WJ Tests of Cognitive Abilities than on the WISC-R. The question most people ask is that is one better than the other?

Test developers claim that correlations between ability test scores are generally high; which means, any one can be used to determine general ability. However, there are many cases whereby children score higher on one compared to the other. The main reasons are, firstly, different tests measure different aspects of the same ability. Secondly, each test is normed on a different group of students and thirdly, errors of measurement do occur.

Hope that helps your understanding a little.


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