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How is the Woodcock-Johnson Scored?

Three types of statistics or scores are generated by the Woodcock Johnson-IV.

  • level of development
  • comparison with peers
  • degree of proficiency

Below, we’ll jump into what each of these statistics or scores mean and how these scores will be interpreted by educators and schools. Want more? To get started with all of the Woodcock-Johnson testing material offered by Testing Mom, check out our 100 Free Gifted and Talented Questions.

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Level of Development

Age equivalents

An age equivalent (AE), or age score, reflects the child’s performance in terms of age level in the norming sample at which the average score is the same as the child’s score. For example, if a child named Sam is 8 years old and receives an AE of 12.1 on a particular test, the correct interpretation would be, “Test results indicate that Sam’s performance on this test is comparable to that of an average 12 year old.”

Grade equivalent

A grade equivalent (GE), or grade score, likewise reflects the child’s performance in terms of the grade level of the norming sample at which the average score is the same as the child’s raw score. For example, if a child named Rita, a 7th grader, received a GE of 6.5 on the Reading Fluency test, the correct interpretation would be, “Rita is a 7th grader who currently performs at the mid-sixth grade level in reading fluency.”

Comparison with Peers

Standard Score

The standard score (SS) on the WJ-IV describes a child’s performance relative to the average performance of the comparison group. The scale is the same as the IQ test. In other words, the average standard score is 100 with a standard deviation of 15. For example, if a child named John had a standard score of 85 in the calculation test, he would be functioning in the low average range for that particular skill.

Percentile Rank

A percentile rank (PR) describes a child’s relative standing to his or her peers on a scale of 1 – 100. Thus, a percentile rank of 6 would indicate that only 6 children out of a hundred in a comparison group (similar age and education level) would score as low or lower.

Relationship Between Standard Score, Percentile Rank, and Classification

The scoring system for these tests is based on three interrelated components: standard scores, percentile ranks, and classifications. Here’s an overview of each component:

  • Standard Score: The standard score is a transformation of the raw score (the number of correct responses) on a test. The standard score indicates how a person’s performance on a test compares to that of a reference group, typically people of the same age or grade level. For the Woodcock-Johnson test, the mean standard score is 100 and the standard deviation is 15. This means that a score of 100 represents average performance. A score above 100 is above average, and a score below 100 is below average.
  • Percentile Rank: The percentile rank is another way of comparing a person’s test performance to others. A percentile rank of 50, for example, means that the individual scored as well as or better than 50% of the reference group. So, if a child has a percentile rank of 85 on a test, they scored as well as or better than 85% of children their age.
  • Classification: Classifications provide a qualitative interpretation of test scores. For the Woodcock-Johnson test, scores are often classified into ranges such as “low average,” “average,” “high average,” “superior,” or “very superior.” These classifications are typically based on standard scores. For example, a standard score of 85-115 might be classified as “average.”

Here’s how the three components are related:

  • The raw score from the test is transformed into a standard score.
  • This standard score is then used to determine the percentile rank.
  • Based on the standard score, a classification is assigned.

For example, a standard score of 85 corresponds approximately to a percentile rank of 16, which would typically be classified as “Low Average.”

Score RangePercentile RankRange Classification
131 and above98 to 99.9Very Superior
121 to 13092 to 97Superior
111 to 12076 to 91High Average
90 to 11025 to 75Average
80 to 899 to 24Low Average
70 to 793 to 8Low
69 and below0.1 to 2Very Low

Degree of Proficiency

Relative Proficiency Index (RPI) – This statistic is particularly useful in predicting the child’s adjustment to a particular academic program. The RPI predicts a child’s level of proficiency on tasks that a typical age or grade peer would perform with 90% proficiency. For example, suppose a particular child generated a RPI of 55/90 on the calculation test. This means that, on similar math tasks, the child would demonstrate 55% proficiency, whereas the same age or grade peer would demonstrate 90% proficiency. Please note the denominator in the RPI is always 90 (representing 90% efficiency on the test or task) whereas the numerator varies from 0 – 100 and represents how proficient the particular child tested is on that task. Table two presents the interpretations of RPI scores.

Interpretation of RPI Scores

Reported RPIsFunctionalityImplications for Academic Achievement
100/90Very AdvancedExtremely Easy
98/90 to 100/90AdvancedVery Easy
95/90Within Normal Limits to AdvancedEasy
82/90 to 95/90Within Normal LimitsManageable
67/90 to 82/90Mildly Impaired to Within Normal LimitsDifficult
24/90 to 67/90Mildly ImpairedVery Difficult
3/90 to 24/90Moderately ImpairedExtremely Difficult
0/90 to 3/90Severely ImpairedImpossible

AE = Age Equivalent

The child’s performance on a particular task is presented in terms of the age level of an average performance on that task.

GE = Grade Equivalent

The child’s performance on a particular task is presented in terms of the grade level of an average performance on that task.

Easy to Diff = Easy to difficult

This statistic provides the age range of what the child would find easy to very difficult on a particular academic task.

RPI = Relative Proficiency Index

This statistic provides the level of proficiency on a particular task.

SS = Standard Score

This statistic compares the child’s performance to others of his or her age (average standard score is 100).


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Tell us about your experiences

43 Responses

Tom Grenga

My son just received his results and I am confused about the PR and PR Classification.
Stats. Male, 14 and 4 months. Grade 8.8.
ACADEMIC KNOWLEGE GE=>17.9 Easy to Diff 11.8 >17.9 AE >30 PR Classification High Average PR 86
Does this mean 86 % of the children tested who are 14-4 in grade 8.8 have similar results?

Hi Tom – please email us at help @ testing – we can give you better direction or the scoring for the WJ-III


Most schools refuse to give the parents the Age and Grade Equivalent scores.


My child was considered average or slightly below or above average in all areas. However, the report says that of the math problems completed had correct answers but he still only was “average”. Are they looking at the number of the total problems completed in the time alotted? Would this be what makes him “average”. They boy is flunking math so I can’t believe the report. To confound things the assessor cannot provide samples from the protocols because she shredded them right after she made the report. It sounds sketchy to me. Is it true that the writing parts of the test are subjective?


To clarify my comment above: ALL the answers to the math problems were correct. I left out the word “all”.


I would like to express my deep concern about the word “impossible” used in the scoring of the test. My autistic grandson was subjected to this test in second grade and to see the word “impossible” used to describe an autistic child’s ability is appalling. Our family was traumatized yet again and thrust back into the grieving process as a result of reading the word “impossible” over and over again. I would like to know how I can appeal to the authors of this test to remove this language from the test. I think it is a word that should NEVER be used to describe any child’s ability let alone an autistic child. If there is ONE thing we do know about austitic children,it is that we don’t know what they are capable of!

Diane Gundersen

I posted a comment about my concern for the language used in the Woodstock-Johnson test. I am specifically opposed to the word “impossible” used to describe a child’s ability. This language has NO place in our assessments. What happened to my post about my experience with this test?

Diane Gundersen

I did see my original comment after inquiring about it with a second post. I want any information available to appeal to the authors of this test to remove the word “impossible” from the language. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.

John Mack

I have a kiddo in which the teacher reported his scores and the student scored a Standard Score of 40 in every area, on every Cluster/Test. Is that possible?


Male 16 years 5 months
Age Equivalent of >30 is most areas.
Highest of 140 in visualization
Lowest of 103 in Letter-Pattern Matching
A few of the questions I feel like I dispute for myself so it’s more like 133 or 134 in my eyes.
No idea what the W score means.
My PR is 98, does that mean I’m in the top 2% or bottom 98%?

That would mean top 2%!


Thanks, Sam!


In regards to the question about “Impossible” being utilized in the testing report, it is not an indication that a task is impossible for a child to ever achieve. It means that it was impossible to determine or obtain a score based on the test performance that day. That should have been clarified by the special education liaison or the school psychologist at the meeting.


How are sub test raw scores converted to standard scores?

Where do I get the testing stuff, and how do I know what tests to administer to each of my children for their age?


My son: 9yrs 1mo Date of testing: 09/17/2004 Highest GE: 7.6 Lowest GE: 4.4 (First 2 weeks of 4th grade) SS: From 105 to 131 and AE From 10 to 13. At the time I did not know what it all meant, now he’s considerably older and has achieved a great deal to be so young. Thank you for this site, it has been extremely helpful!

Teresa Laughlin

What does the “W” refer to in the Woodcock-Johnson IV Cluster/Test?

Hi Teresa,

The W score is converted from the raw score of the WJ test. The W score determines age and grade equivalents.


Under Standard Scores, what is the “Predicted” score? Where does the prediction come from?


I need to convert Standard Scores for some subtests to Age Equivalent for comparison over time. Two of the subtest scores are given in AE but this last year they were reported in SS. Is there a chart somewhere that will allow me to do this?


Very informative.

I would like to attend a workshop if there are any available.


What if a WJIV report shows a child scored below 40 in either a broad score or one of the subtests. Should the school provide a score anyway? The report I’m looking at says “broad reading score less than 40.” I’d like to know if it’s 39 or 1!


is there a chart where you run your finger down the side to find the score the child got on the test and then run finger across to see what the standard score is?

Hi Marlyn,

To calculate the score for these tests, you would need norm referenced data and specialized training that is not readily available. We have provided a chart that shows you the comparison between the score and percentile ranking.



Hi, I would love to print this out to send to the parents before the meeting, with my results. I am struggling making it usable trying to copy and paste. Can I get this in another format? It would be such an asset to all my parents.
Thank you,
Deborah L. Campbell


Is there a conversion table from raw scores into standard scores?

Sophie –

There isn’t an exact table, but if you will look in the section titled ‘Relationship Between Standard Score, Percentile Rank, and Classification’ the standard score would be the first score and it provides the classification based on the percentile rank.

All the best,



What does the SS (90% Band) mean. My child’s score for example in Reading is 91(86-96), Letter-word Id scored 94(88-99)?? What does this mean?

Mary –

This would seem to identify that your child scored in the average range on these particular subtests.

All the best,



Thank you this was helpful information.


How do I convert an AE score to a GE score.

Thank s much


Tom, that would mean that your son is in the top 14% with regard to his standard score. 86% tested at or below that specific score. That’s good news.


A student scored in the 95th NP for Broad Written language but only scored in the 81st NP in Broad Reading.
Is the written language score on its own constitute a gifted identification in reading?


My children had a full neuropsych analysis and the dr. generously included the WCJ-III. But instead of giving me the score range, she gave me the grade levels because she thought it would be more helpful. However, I don’t know how to determine the scores so I can see if he qualifies for any gifted programs. If you can help I would really appreciate it.

Age on date of test: 11y 3 m (5th grade).

Letter-word identification: 12.7
Spelling: 13
Applied Problems: 13.5
Reading fluency: 5.2 (she noted boredom and ADHD lowering this score).
Writing fluency: >18
Math fluency: 6.9
Passage Comprehension: 7.7

Hi Amy,

I will have a member of the Parent Success Team reach out to help with your question regarding the Woodcock-Johnson test and scores.


This was very helpful in interpreting my children’s reports. I have two kids on the very opposite ends of the academic spectrum. One is very gifted. The other needs learning support. I’m sure of it. I must say, after seeing opposing test results, there has to be a better metric. I don’t feel like it measured either of our kids accurately. It was especially inaccurate for the one who needs learning support. My lower scoring child tested that she is on the low end of being mildly impaired, and some in moderately impaired. Despite that, it came out that she doesn’t have a learning disability. The tests for my gifted child were more thorough, I think.

Thank you for this resource!

Hi Danita, you may want to get both of your kids tested with another assessment like the WISC. The WISC may give you a more accurate picture of their strengths and weaknesses.


The school has scored my daughter’s WJ IV Math Facts Fluency Subtest -adjusted for 6 to 7 year olds, she missed 19 of 37, at a raw score of 19 and reported she is in the average range. Is that correct?

Thank you for reaching out regarding your daughter’s Woodcock-Johnson IV (WJ IV) Math Facts Fluency Subtest results. Based on the information you provided, your daughter has a raw score of 19 out of 37, which indicates she answered 19 questions correctly.

To determine whether her performance falls within the average range, we need to convert the raw score into a standard score, which is adjusted for age. The standard score is a more informative measure as it takes into account your daughter’s age and allows for comparison with other children in her age group.

Unfortunately, without access to the specific test norms and conversion tables, we can’t provide the exact standard score or percentile rank. However, we encourage you to reach out to the school or the test administrator who can help you interpret your daughter’s performance in relation to her age group.


Just looking for more information and knowledge of the Woodcock Johnson assessment.

Hi Karlena, we have tons of practice materials for the Woodcock-Johnson! Please email us at for more information about the WJ-VI practice tests.



Based on this information my 5 year old has a learning disability. I am very confused about how the test is done and what these scores mean. Can you please help me understand.

Thank you so much.

CLUSTER/Test W AE GE RPI SS (95% Band) SS Classification SS PR
READING 339 3-8 <K.0 3/90 74 (58-90) Low 74 4
BASIC READING SKILLS 356 3-6 <K.0 5/90 74 (68-80) Low 74 4
MATHEMATICS 388 3-7 <K.0 38/90 76 (61-91) Low 76 5
ACADEMIC SKILLS 367 4-3 <K.0 30/90 80 (72-88) Low Average 80 9
BRIEF ACHIEVEMENT 379 4-5 <K.0 31/90 82 (77-87) Low Average 82 11
Letter-Word Identification 324 3-10 <K.0 3/90 75 (68-81) Low 75 5
Applied Problems 406 4-1 <K.0 41/90 81 (70-91) Low Average 81 10
Spelling 406 5-3 <K.0 83/90 96 (87-105) Average 96 40
Passage Comprehension 353 3-3 <K.0 4/90 79 (53-105) Low 79 8
Calculation 370 <2-9 <K.0 35/90 81 (60-101) Low Average 81 10
Word Attack 387 2-9 <K.0 9/90 75 (64-86) Low 75 5

As a test prep company, we want to clarify that we do not interpret any test scores. Our role is to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed on their exams.

In the event that you have any questions or concerns regarding the interpretation of test scores, we recommend that you contact the school or agency that administered the exam. They are better equipped to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the results.

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