The Wide Range Achievement Test: Fourth Edition (WRAT 4) is a test that measures basic academic skills, written by Gary S. Wilkinson and Gary J. Robertson. Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. published this test in 2006. Administration time for this test takes about 15-25 minutes for younger children ages 5-7. Administration time for those eight years and older takes about 30-45 minutes. Description of Purpose and Nature of Test The WRAT 4 is an achievement test designed to measure individual performance using four subtests (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006).
This test has two forms, a green form and a blue form that can be used interchangeably. The subtests: word reading, sentence comprehension, spelling, and math computation provide information regarding an individual’s basic academic skills. This test can be administered to anyone between the ages of five and 94. The first subtest, word reading is a recognition test that contains 15 letters in part 1 and 55 words in part 2. The participant responds verbally by reading letters and words off a form and is given a raw score for letter reading and word reading which translates into their word reading total raw score.
The second subtest, sentence comprehension contains 50 items that have a sentence with a blank, and the participant provides their answer verbally. The starting point for this subtest is dependent upon their raw score on the word reading subtest, making it important for sentence comprehension to be administered after word reading. For all items on the sentence comprehension subtest a score of one is given for each correct answer which translates to a final raw score for sentence comprehension. The third subtest, spelling contains two parts, letter writing and spelling.
Part one asks the participant to write their name, and then write 13 letters that are given to them verbally. A maximum of two points are given for any two correct letters written in the name and a one point is given for each correctly written letter for a total of 15 points in letter writing. Part two asks the participant to spell different words that are also given verbally and contains 42 items. One point is given for each word spelled correctly for a total of 42 possible points in spelling. Scores from part one and two are combined to provide a spelling raw score.
The fourth subtest, math computation contains two parts, oral math and math computation. Part one asks the participant to answer math problems orally and contains 15 items. Part two contains 40 math problems with a time limit of 15 minutes. The oral raw score and math computation raw score are combined to give the math computation total raw score. Practical Evaluation The WRAT 4 is a test that can be given in a relatively short amount of time and is easy to administer. The test only has four subtests with straight forward directions.
To administer the WRAT 4 a trained assessment specialist must meet the guidelines stated in Standard 12. 1 of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006). A paraprofessional may also qualify to administer this test with sufficient training. Both forms, green and blue, seem to be easily interchanged and are designed well enough for the participant and administrator to understand. The place marker is a useful material, and almost necessary with the majority of test items in close proximity to one another. The WRAT 4 has a simple scoring system where a correct answer is clearly defined.
There is not much ambiguity to the scoring. The test also seems to have good face validity as in it appears to be measuring basic academic skills. It contains items that seem to be clearly measuring reading, writing, and mathematical skills. However, the test is designed to be used for people ages 5-94, making interpretation of the results difficult. Technical Evaluation Norms Standardization of the WRAT 4 was compared to information in the U. S. census in 2001 concerning gender, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and geographic region (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006).
The standardization sample has a total of 3,021 participants with 19 different age group intervals from 5-94 years old. The standardization sample was created using a stratified sampling procedure to account for age, gender, ethnicity, education, and geographic groups. There were 107 testing sites in 30 different states. The education group had participants that were 5-18 years old report their parent’s education attainment, and those 19 and older reported their own education attainment. For groups that did not match the U. S. census target percentages a weighting procedure was applied.
Reliability Internal consistency was reported based on age group. The median alpha coefficients by age were . 87 to . 93 for all four subtests (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006). With these strong alpha coefficients, it’s clear that the four subtests contain content that is consistent. Internal consistency is also reported for Reading Composite by age and grade level with median alpha coefficients of. 95 and . 96 for the blue and green forms. This shows that the internal consistency is strong for the word reading and sentence comprehension subtests scores for both forms.
Internal consistency was finally reported for the combined form, which is the blue and green forms combined. The median alpha coefficient for the combined form was. 98. Another type of reliability used to assess this tests consistency was alternate-forms reliability. In obtaining the data for this type of reliability, participants completed either the blue or green form completely (all four subtests), and immediately after completed only one subtests from the remaining form.
The average reliability coefficient for all ages was . 86. Alternate forms reliability was also conducted where participants ompleted both the blue and green forms completely. The average reliability coefficient for all ages in this study was. 84 Validity Content validity was measured using outside experts by judging the items on the WRAT 3 (Wilkinson & Robertson, 2006). About one fourth of the items in the WRAT 3 were changed and replaced with items now seen on the WRAT 4. Construct validity was measured with regards to changes with age. It would be ted on a test like the WRAT for scores to increase with age, which is what they found. Mean raw scores on the subtests for both forms increase with age until ages 45-54 where scores start to decrease gradually.
Construct validity was also measured comparing the WRAT 4 to other tests that measure academic achievement. The WRAT 4 was compared to the Wide Range Achievement Test-Expanded Edition and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Second Edition. Overall, the WRAT 4 has a moderate to moderately high correlation with the two other comparison tests. Reviewers Comments A review done by Hoff, E. K. (n. d. ) in The 16th mental measurements yearbook, claims that the WRAT 4 should be recommended for research purposes and not for clinical use.
While she argues that there is satisfactory reliability, she also argue that the test is lacking in validity evidence. Her review also discusses some potential limitations to the two forms, green and blue. The authors claim that the forms are parallel with providing alternate forms evidence, however, Hoff found that the two forms seem to be measuring slightly different mathematical skills. Another key argument in Hoff’s review is that the wide age span for this test restricts the content validity by limiting the number of skills being measures. A review done by Dell, Harrold, and Dell (2008) offer similar claims to that of Hoff.
They argue that the WRAT 4 is an easy-touse achievement test, however it should not be used to make evaluation judgments when placing children in special education or determining academic skill levels. Much of their argument also comes from the lack of validity evidence for the WRAT 4. Overall, Dell, et al. agree that the WRAT 4 would be an appropriate instrument to assist in measuring basic academic achievement, but should never be used exclusively. Summary Evaluation Overall, I agree that the WRAT 4 is an easy-to-use achievement test for those qualified to administer it.
Scoring of the test is also quite simple in that determining right from wrong answers is clear. Like most achievement tests, the WRAT 4 increases in difficulty throughout the subtests in order to determine academic ability. With the four subtests, word reading, sentence comprehension, spelling, and math computation, basic academic skills appear to be measured by looking at the items, however, after having difficulty combing through the validity in the tests’ manual, and reading others’ test review comments about validity, I believe that validity needs to be studied further to fully determine whether this test is measuring what it claims to.
I also agree that this test should refrain from being used to make any life changing decisions for an individual, and should continue to be used in psychological research and aids to other assessment tools with stronger psychometrics.