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WRAT-4: Wide Range Achievement Test

The fourth edition of the Wide Range Achievement Test (the WRAT-4) is the latest offering in a test series first published in 1946. The WRAT, in its various editions, has enjoyed widespread use in a variety of settings as a measure of the basic academic skills necessary for effective learning, communication, and thinking: reading and spelling words, and performing basic mathematical calculations. The WRAT-4 continues to measure these basic content areas and preserves those features that made the WRAT-3 and earlier editions so popular with users—ease of administration and scoring and the provision of a significant amount of information gained through a relatively brief investment of testing time.

Several new features have been added to the WRAT-4. In addition to updated norms, the WRAT-4 contains an entirely new measure of reading achievement—Sentence Comprehension—added to enhance the scope of the content measured and to meet a need often expressed by users of previous editions for a measure of reading comprehension.

The interpretation of WRAT-4 scores has been enhanced by the addition of grade-based norms, thereby increasing the usefulness of the test in Grades K–12. The age-based norms also have been extended from 75 years in the third edition to 94 years so that the basic literacy skills of older adults can be assessed.

Description of the WRAT-4

The WRAT-4 is a norm-referenced test that measures the basic academic skills of word reading, sentence comprehension, spelling, and math computation. It was standardized on a representative national sample of over 3,000 individuals ranging in age from 5 to 94 years. The normative sample was selected according to a stratified national sampling procedure with proportionate allocation controlled for age, gender, ethnicity, geographic region, and parental/obtained education as an index of socioeconomic status. Alternate forms, designated the Blue Form and the Green Form, were developed and equated during standardization by use of a common-person research design. Derived scores were developed for both age- and grade-referenced groups. Standard scores, percentile ranks, stanines, normal curve equivalents, grade equivalents, and Rasch ability scaled scores are provided.

The Blue Form and the Green Form can be used interchangeably with comparable results, permitting retesting within short periods of time without the potential practice effects that may occur from repeating the same items. The alternate forms also can be administered together (i.e., Combined Form) in a single examination. For those interested in a more qualitative assessment of academic skills, the Combined Form provides an additional opportunity for performance observance.

Four Subtests of the WRAT-4

  • Word Reading measures letter and word decoding through letter identification and word recognition.
  • Sentence Comprehension measures an individual's ability to gain meaning from words and to comprehend ideas and information contained in sentences through the use of a modified cloze technique.
  • Spelling measures an individual's ability to encode sounds into written form through the use of a dictated spelling format containing both letters and words.
  • Math Computation measures an individual's ability to perform basic mathematics computations through counting, identifying numbers, solving simple oral problems, and calculating written mathematics problems.

In addition to providing derived scores and interpretive information for the subtests, the WRAT also yields a Reading Composite score, obtained by combining the Word Reading and Sentence Comprehension standard scores.

The recommended order of testing is Word Reading, Sentence Comprehension, Spelling, and Math Computation. This is the order in which the subtests were administered during standardization; however, the subtests may be administered in any order, with one exception: The Word Reading subtest should be administered before the Sentence Comprehension subtest because an individual's scores on Part 2 of the Word Reading subtest can be used as a routing test to determine the appropriate starting item on Sentence Comprehension, thereby shortening the time required. In addition, the Word Reading score also determines whether or not the Sentence Comprehension subtest should be administered at all.

Administration Time

Administration time varies depending upon the age, skill, and behavioral style of the individual being tested. For children ages 8 years and older and adults, the administration time is between 30 and 45 minutes. For younger children (ages 5–7 years) the administration time is between 15 and 25 minutes.

Small-Group Administration

Although the WRAT-4 will most often be administered individually, some of the subtests or sections of subtests may be administered to small groups. The Spelling and Math Computation sections of the respective subtests may be administered to small groups. It is recommended that small groups be limited to no more than five participants.

Uses of the WRAT-4

The WRAT-4 is intended for use by those professionals who need a quick, simple, psychometrically sound assessment of important fundamental academic skills. Such measures are valuable in initial evaluations or individuals referred for learning, behavioral, or vocational difficulties. The results of the WRAT-4 by themselves are not intended to provide formal identification of learning or cognitive disorders. Use of the WRAT-4 results together with a broad array of comprehensive information such as additional assessment and psychometric data, background history, behavioral observations, and results of more formal assessments of behavioral functioning will assist in the identification and diagnosis of such disorders.

The ease of administration and the simplicity of the WRAT-4 make it useful for assessment professionals, who can use the results to:

  • Collect initial data for psychological, educational, and vocational assessments;
  • Conduct time-efficient small group administration in selected math and spelling areas to identify individuals requiring a more comprehensive academic evaluation;
  • Assess, in conjunction with the WRAT–Expanded, a broader range of academic skills useful in the diagnosis of specific learning disorders;
  • Re-evaluate individuals diagnosed with learning and/or cognitive disorders;
  • Contribute to research projects needing assessment of basic academic skills for pretesting and posttesting purposes;
  • Evaluate achievement-ability discrepancies to identify specific learning disabilities;
  • Assess specific academic skills as part of a more comprehensive study of psychological and neuropsychological functioning;
  • Determine a minimal level of proficiency needed to perform in certain educational and/or vocational settings; and
  • Assess an individual's academic progress over time.

Reliability

Reliability evidence for the WRAT-4 is shown to be strong and includes information based on classical test reliability theory, including internal consistency, alternate-form reliability (immediate and delayed retest stability), standard error of measurement, and standard score confidence intervals, as well as IRT applications termed Rasch statistics.

  • Alternate-form immediate retest reliability coefficients ranged from .78 to .89 for an age-based sample and from .86 to .90 for a grade-based sample.
  • The alternate-form delayed (approximately 30 days) retest study indicated that practice effects are quite small. Mean score differences of 0.4-2.2 were found for an age-based sample and 0.1-0.5 for a grade-based sample.

Validity

WRAT-4 validity evidence is derived from the content and structure of the test battery, studies with special groups of individuals, and correlations with other widely used achievement and cognitive ability measures. The measures used for the external validity studies are listed below.

  • KTEA-II Comprehensive
  • WISC-IV
  • KTEA-II Brief
  • WASI
  • RIAS
  • WAIS-III
  • WIAT-II
  • SB5
  • WJ-III
  • WRAT-Expanded
  • KBIT
  • WRIT

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Products

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