WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) (Wechsler Individual Achievement Test®-Fourth Edition ) – Overview

What is the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV)?

The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test®, Fourth Edition (WIAT®-4 or WIAT®-IV) measures an individual’s academic achievement. It is one of the most widely administered achievement tests and is offered to individuals between the ages of 4 and 50 years and 11 months. The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) was published in 2020 and is based on the WIAT III but has 5 new subtests, 5 new composite scores, and automated scoring of Essay Composition.

The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) measures various aspects of academic achievement, including:

  • Mathematics: measures numerical operation, math problem solving, and math fluency
  • Oral Language: Measures receptive and expressive vocabulary, phonemic proficiency, listening comprehension, and oral expression
  • Reading: measures word reading, pseudoword decoding, reading comprehension, and oral fluency
  • Written Language: measures spelling, punctuation, capitalization, sentence combining, and essay composition

The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) provides scores that can be used to identify a person’s strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas, as well as an overall composite score that provides an estimate of comprehensive academic achievement. The test is administered individually by a psychologist or trained examiner, and it typically takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours to complete. The results of the test can be used to inform educational and intervention planning and to help identify students who may need additional support or accommodations to succeed academically.

For what purpose is the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) test given?

It can be used for a variety of purposes, including identifying learning disabilities, evaluating academic progress, and developing educational interventions. Some schools use the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) as part of the admission process, while other schools may use it for admission into their gifted program.

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How is the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) different from the WIAT-III?

The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) is an updated version of the WIAT-III. The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) includes several changes and improvements over the previous version.

    • Updated Norms
    • Expanded Age Range
    • New Subtests
    • Improved Test Structure
    • Enhanced Interpretive Report

Overall, WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) is an updated comprehensive assessment with new subtests and improved normative data. It assesses an individual’s academic achievement and reflects changes in educational practices and demographics.

What are the new subtests on WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) and what do they measure? 

  • Phonemic Proficiency (Oral Language) – This subtest measures the speed and accuracy of phoneme manipulation. Phonemes are individual sounds within words.  For example, the word “car” has 3 sounds – /c/ /a/ /r/.
    • Questions here might be, “Say “car” but change the /c/ sound to a /t/ sound – “tar” (beginning sound).
    • Or say “bat” but change the /a/ to an /e/ sound – “bet” (middle sound).
    • Or say “rut” but change the /t/ sound to a /n/ sound. – “run” (end sound).
    • Or say “popcorn” but don’t say “pop.” Or say the word “bat” backwards – “tab.”
  • Orthographic Fluency (Reading Fluency) – This subtest measures an individual’s orthographic and sight vocabulary.
  • Decoding Fluency (Reading Fluency) – This measures the speed of irregular word (or sight vocabulary) and nonsense word reading.
    • A student is shown 8 words that are spelled differently than they sound. They must read each word aloud within a time limit.
    • On the Pseudoword subtest, students are shown 6 nonsense words that are spelled phonetically correct. They must read these words within a time limit. This tells us if a child has a strategy for phonetic decoding each word.
  • Sentence Writing Fluency (Writing Fluency) – This measures the speed of writing sentences.  A student is shown pictures, each with an accompanying word.  They must write as many complete sentences as they can within 5 minutes that incorporate the word exactly and take inspiration from the picture.
  • Orthographic Choice (Oral Language) – This recognition spelling subtest assesses a student’s ability to recognize and decode irregularly spelled words. These must be recognized by sight because they aren’t spelled the way they sound.  For example, a student is shown 3 words – thay, tha, they.  One is correctly spelled, the other two are spelled the way they sound phonetically.  The student must identify which is spelled correctly.  This subtest is only available with the online version of WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV).

What WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) subtests are given at each grade level?

Not every subtest is given to every student.  The chart below shows you which subtests are given at each grade level.

SUBTEST ORDERSUBTESTPre-KKinderGrades 1-2Grades 3-4Grades 5-12+
1Oral Language: Phonemic ProficiencyXXXXX
2Reading: Word ReadingXXXXX
3Oral Language: Listening ComprehensionXXXXX
4Written Language: Alphabet Writing FluencyXXXX
5Reading: Reading ComprehensionXXXX
6Mathematics: Math Problem SolvingXXXXX
7Reading: Orthographic FluencyXXX
8Written Language: Sentence CompositionXXX
9Oral Language: Oral ExpressionXXXXX
10Reading: Oral Reading FluencyXXX
11Written Language: Essay CompositionXX
12Reading: Pseudoword DecodingXXX
13Written Language: Sentence Writing FluencyXXX
14Mathematics: Numerical OperationsXXXXX
15Reading: Decoding FluencyXX
16Written Language: SpellingXXXX
17Mathematics: Math Fluency – AdditionXXX
18Mathematics: Math Fluency – SubtractionXXX
19Mathematics: Math Fluency – MultiplicationXX
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How is the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) different from the WISC-V?

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®, Fifth Edition (WISC®-V) is a standardized intelligence test used to assess cognitive or reasoning abilities in individuals between the ages of 6 and 16 years 11 months. This test assesses a person’s thinking abilities and not what they learn in school. The WISC-V evaluates performance in the following areas- verbal comprehension, visual-spatial ability, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed.

WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) evaluates an individual’s academic abilities in language, reading, writing, and math. It is similar to state achievement tests in the way that doing well on this test depends on what has been learned in school.

How does the automated scoring of the Essay and Sentence Composition subtests work in WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV)? 

For the Essay Composition subtest, the prompt is something like this: “Write about your favorite ____ and tell me at least 3 reasons why you like it.”  The test administrator transcribes the child’s essay into the scoring software for WISC-4.  Trained on thousands of WIAT-III and WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) actual student essays, smart artificial intelligence (AI) software is used to automatically score the essay.  It looks for errors in the areas of capitalization, end punctuation, internal punctuation, omission of words, extra words, spelling, verb usage, pronoun usage, word ending, and word order.

For the Sentence Composition subtest, it looks at the number of words and sentences written, the correct usage of the target word in the sentence without changing it, and subject-verb agreement.  For this subtest, students should keep their sentences short and to the point, going for as many correct sentences as possible within the 5-minute timeframe.

How is the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) scored?

Composite scores are provided for each area of achievement, including the following:

  • Mathematics Composite includes subtests measuring numerical operations, math fluency, math problem solving, and math reasoning.
  • Oral Language Composite includes subtests measuring phonemic proficiency, listening comprehension, oral expression, and oral language composite.
  • Reading Composite includes subtests measuring word reading, pseudoword decoding, reading comprehension, and oral reading fluency.
  • Written Language Composite includes subtests measuring spelling, sentence composition, and essay composition.

To obtain the composite scores, the individual subtest scores are combined using a weighted formula. This formula considers the number of subtests taken in each composite and the relative importance of each subtest.

The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) also offers a Dyslexia Index which helps identify risk for dyslexia among students or individuals ages 5 through 50.  It includes scores on Phonemic Proficiency, Word Reading, Orthographic Fluency, and Pseudoword (Nonsense Word) Decoding subtests. These subtests can be administered apart from the rest of the WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) test.

The WIAT-4 (WIAT-IV) is a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s academic achievement. The scores are interpreted in the context of a representative sample of students (individuals) in the same grade/age group.

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