Frequently Asked Questions

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - Second UK Edition (WIAT-II UK) - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Categories

Word Reading | Reading Comprehension | Pseudoword Decoding | Reading Skills | Maths Reasoning | Spelling | Alphabet WritingWritten Expression | Oral Expression | Age Equivalents | Access | Applications | General Questions



Word Reading

Q: Do I use a stopwatch to identify when a response takes >3 seconds on Word Reading?

A: No, using a stopwatch may affect the automaticity feature of the test. Instead you can evaluate response time based on an informal technique (e.g., "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi").

Q: What do I do if a student is unable to read any, or very few, of the words on Word Reading?

A: The student's score will be based on the number of points he/she earns once the basal and discontinue rules have been applied. You may then "test the limits" by working backwards from Item 47 through the emerging literacy items related to phonological awareness, the alphabet principle (sound-symbol relationships), and letter identification. This practice allows you to identify strengths as well as weaknesses.

Q: Are letter sounds acceptable in items 4 to 29?

A: Both letter names and sounds are acceptable responses for these items.

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Reading Comprehension

Q: If a nine year old student does not pass the reversal items in the age 9 item set, which item set should then be administered? When I reverse and administer the age 6 item set, the standard score seems high.

A: This is a unique circumstance. When a nine year old student reverses to the age 6 item set, he or she may receive an inflated score due to the easier items designed for age 6 examinees. On pg. 51 of the Examiner's Manual under Clinical Recommendations, you will find the discussion and our recommendations on how to address this situation. The age 7 item set may be more appropriate in some circumstances.



Q: What happens if I follow the reverse rule and go back 3 start points, but the student misses the reversal items on the reversed item set? Can I reverse again?

A: No, you can reverse only once. The student's standard score will be based on his or her performance on the reversed item set. This score indicates the student's performance in comparison to the 'his/her' age group and will typically reveal what he or she cannot do. To determine what the student can do, "test the limits" by administering some of the items from an earlier item set. For example, if a student reversed to the age 9 item set but could not answer any of the items, first calculate his or her score based on the raw score of 0. Then, administer some of the beginning items to determine if he or she can comprehend single words, phrases, or short sentences (Items 1-14).



Q: Why were item sets used instead of using basal and discontinue rules?

A: The Reading Comprehension subtest was created using item sets that were designed to assess an adequate sample of the student's reading achievement, while attempting to minimise the number of reading passages required. The scoring procedures for the Reading Comprehension subtest take into account the difficulty level of the item sets, so it is not necessary to administer additional items to get a more accurate score. However, the examiner can decide whether to administer more items as a way of "testing the limits" in order to gain further qualitative information (for item analysis, for example). These additional item scores should not be used for normative purposes.



Q: What are supplemental scores? Why are they in quartiles?

A: Supplemental scores are additional pieces of information (apart from the standard scores) that can help in determining areas of strength or weakness. Quartiles provide general normative information; these scores are not intended to be used when determining eligibility. However, the use of quartiles for Reading Speed and Reading Comprehension can be very useful when used with the Reading Rate chart found near the end of the record form. The interpretation of the Reading Rate chart can be found in the Examiner's Manual.

The quartile scores can provide useful information to IEP teams as they consider the types of accommodations that may be necessary for students.

Q: I had to use the reverse rule for a student. Can I still calculate supplemental quartile scores for Target Words and Reading Speed?

A: Quartile scores can be calculated only for examinees who stayed within their grade-appropriate item set.



Q: Why can the Target Word quartile jump from 2 to 4 with just a 1-point difference in raw score?

A: If you examine the conversion table for Target Words in Appendix B or E of the scoring supplements, you will notice that there is a ceiling effect. The Reading Comprehension subtest is ecologically valid, assessing reading skills using words that are typically found in students' everyday reading material. Therefore, for students who are of average ability, performance on Target Words is high.



Q: If it is clear that a student is not reading the passage (e.g., he is scanning it), should I record the Reading Speed score?

A: No. Reading Speed should be calculated only when the student is actively engaged in the reading process.



Q: I have a 10 year old who is poor at reading. Why should I start at the age 10 item set when I know she will struggle at that level?

A: As is typical of a regular classroom setting, each Reading Comprehension item set is designed to span a range of reading skills. The age 10 item set, for example, has reading passages designed for the age 9 reading level, some at age 10 reading level, and some at age 11 reading level.

For qualitative purposes and error analyses, an examiner may choose to "test the limits" and see how the student performs on items outside the grade-appropriate item set. This is an acceptable practice, as long as the additional items are not used in calculating the standard score.



Q: Can I discontinue testing if the student fails an entire reading passage?

A:   If the student scores 0 points on the first reading passage for the age-appropriate item set, apply the reverse rule and administer the appropriate item set in its entirety. If the failure occurs in a passage later in the item set, encourage the student to continue. Because the difficulty level of items within a passage will vary, continuing administration of the item set may produce some successful responses. The mixed level of difficulty within a single passage was designed to keep the student engaged in the activity. In addition, the items/questions following the Reading Sentences Aloud items might be easier than those following the passages for some students. For example, students who comprehend better when reading materials that are especially brief, or when they are read aloud, may perform significantly better on the Reading Sentences Aloud items.



Q: I am administering Reading Comprehension to a very low functioning student. He has reversed to the appropriate item set but is unable to correctly answer any of the questions in the reversed item set. When can I discontinue and how do I explain a standard score that is based on 0 correct responses?

A: It is appropriate to use your professional judgment when a student is obviously unable to perform and test rapport is at risk. Be careful not to discontinue based on the performance on the first passage. Some students will be able to earn points on the Reading Sentences Aloud items that follow passages as these items are brief and are read aloud.



Q: Why aren't the reading passages printed on the examiner's manual or on the record form? It would make scoring of reading errors easier.

A: Including the reading passages would dramatically increase the size and complexity of the record form and the stimulus booklet. During standardisation, it was extremely rare for students to read these passages aloud. It was decided that it would be more advantageous for examiners to have more extensive scoring examples in the stimulus book than to have a reproduction of the reading passage. If necessary, the examiner can position him/herself so that he/she can observe the passage while the student is reading it.



Q: How should I score the reading comprehension answers when the student provided the answers in a very non-traditional manner? The student spelled a few key words from the passage that were indicative of some correct responses, but that's all that the student could do.

A: If the student is having trouble with proper names (e.g., Tamiko, Baobab), spelling out or pointing to those words is acceptable. However, this type of response is not acceptable for any other words.



Q: Is it possible to report reading speed standard scores for the WIAT-II? My manual only quotes quartiles?

A: Standard scores for reading speed are available to download:

WIAT-II Reading Speed (PDF, 231KB)

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Pseudoword Decoding

Q: I have a 6- year old student who received a raw score of 0 on the Pseudoword Decoding subtest, but still received a standard score of 79. Why doesn't the scale go down to 40?

A: The scale has a natural floor for the earlier age groups because the construct that is being measured in this subtest develops later than other reading-related constructs (Word Reading for example).

When analysing data for 6-year old children, it is suggested that the Word Reading subtest will provide the best sample of basic reading skills as it contains the prerequisite skills required for successful performance on the more difficult task of Pseudoword Decoding.



Q: How do I know when the student is pronouncing the pseudowords properly?

A: There is a pronunciation guide on the record form. Furthermore, the WIAT-IIUK kit contains the Pseudoword CD that lets you hear the correct pronunciations. Listen to the CD before you administer the test; however, do not let the examinee hear the CD.

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Reading Skills

Q:  Which subtest is a good indicator of a basic reading deficiency?

A:  A low score in EITHER Word Reading or Pseudoword Decoding is indicative of a Basic Reading deficit. This is based on the research model of testing reading at all levels of language.  Please see related information regarding the comparison of Pseudoword Decoding and Word Reading for 6-year olds.



Q: Can I provide a student a place marker for the Word Reading and Pseudoword Decoding subtests?

A: You may provide these accommodations only to "test the limits" after the test has been administered under standard conditions (which do not use these aids). Students may use their fingers to help keep their place during standard testing.

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Maths Reasoning

Q: Can the student use a calculator on Maths Reasoning?

A: You must first follow standardised procedures when administering the subtest. Then, you may "test the limits" by allowing the student to work some problems using a calculator. This qualitative information may help you determine if using a calculator might be an appropriate modification for a student when the learning task is not dependent on calculation.

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Q:  When scoring the spelling subtest do letter reversals indicate an incorrect response?

A:  Letter reversals for young children (up to 6 years of age) can still be counted as correct, provided the reversed/inverted letters cannot be confused with another letter (e.g., b vs. d). Thus, a reversed letter "c" would be correct, whereas a "b" written in place of a "d" would not be. There is some degree of examiner judgment required in order to assess the child's spelling ability. If the child clearly knows how to spell the word but can't write the letters correctly, the examiner should use clinical judgment and perhaps query the child for clarification. 



Q:  If children misspell either their first or last name are they still given credit for that item?

A: The directions state that the child must print his/her first and last name. The first and last name should be spelled correctly (with the first letter of the name capitalized), with the rare exception of extremely long or unusually spelled names.

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Alphabet Writing

Q:  Why do the scaled scores I calculate for Written Expression seem inflated for 4-year old through to 7-year old students?

A:  Examiners can sometimes be too lenient when scoring the alphabet writing task.  It is imperative that examiners strictly adhere to the scoring rules in the supplement to obtain a representative score for this subtest.



Q:  If a child skips a letter in writing the alphabet, do the subsequent letters still receive credit?

A:  Those letters should receive 1 point as long as the subsequent letters are correctly formed and are in correct sequence. For example, "b, c, e, g, h" receives 5 points, because all letters are in the correct sequence of the alphabet. If the child wrote, "b, e, i, g, h," the child would get 4 points for b, e, and g, and h, provided the letters were written correctly.

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Written Expression

Q:  When entering scores in the scoring assistant, do I enter the quartile score or the raw score?

A:  Always enter the raw score.  The computer program will make all necessary conversions.  This is true for all subtests.



Q:  Can we give credit if a child writes "pizza" as a round object even though that is the sample item given in the directions?

A:  No, do not give credit for the sample item.



Q:  Can we give credit for round objects that are questionable?

A:  Things that are typically round should be given credit. However, if there is a question about an item, you should query the child to ensure the child means a round object.



Q:  Why do the scoring examples only include a few of the types of errors that can occur?  How do we indicate errors that are not included in the scoring examples?

A:  We had experts in the area of writing instruction and assessment advise us during the Written Expression subtest development. The scoring examples were based on information gathered from the standardisation sample, and were based on criteria that were most discriminating between high-performing and low-performing students. Because some grammatical errors were common among all students (and did not distinguish between high- and low-performing students), these errors were not included in the scoring examples.



Q: I am administering Written Expression to a very low functioning student who will not be able to write an essay. Can I administer the items for the younger age groups instead?

A: The student's standard score for Written Expression is based on his or her performance on the assigned age-appropriate items. You should attempt to administer the appropriate items. Some students will be able to earn points on Word Fluency and Sentences even when they cannot write a persuasive essay. Once you have scored the subtest based on the age-appropriate items, you may "test the limits" by administering the paragraph item and evaluating performance qualitatively.



Q: The student wrote the paragraph/essay in all capital letters; how do I score that?

A: There is no penalty for unnecessary capitalisation. Capitalisation errors are counted only when capitalisation is missing from a proper noun, the first word of a sentence, or the personal pronoun.

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Oral Expression

Q: For the Word Fluency items, should I give the student credit for stating the sample items?

A: The student's verbatim use of words that were part of the prompt should not be credited as correct. For Word Fluency B, a variation of the prompt (e.g., ride a horse) can be credited.



Q: Must I record responses on Visual Passage Retell and Giving Directions verbatim?

A: No. When you first begin to administer WIAT-IIUK, you may wish to tape record responses for later scoring until you become comfortable with the scoring rules. Once you learn the scoring procedure, you should be able to score responses as the student provides them. On occasion, when testing a student with a significant language problem, you may want to record his or her response verbatim. Space is provided on the record form.

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Age Equivalents

Q: How can you have two subtests with the same standard score, but one age equivalent is higher than the other?

A: The reason for this is that standardised norms are based on interval scaling while age equivalents are based on ordinal scaling. Hence the relevant averages are not the same (the mean in the case of an ordinal scale and the median in the case of an interval scale). These are different as before that data has been transformed to an ordinal scale it is not necessarily normally distributed.

This reinforces the view that when we say that standardised scores should be used rather than age equivalents.



Q:  Why are there no age equivalents provided for the composite scores?

A:  Age equivalent scores are not provided for composites because as standard scores, they have already been equated by age.  When the composite or subtest scaled scores are normed they are based on age norms, and therefore cannot have an attached age equivalent.  Hence, the raw scores must be used to determine age equivalents.

The original WIAT has composite age equivalents because the composites are based on the sums of subtest raw scores.

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Q: I am a teacher with a Diploma in SpLD. Can I have access to the WIAT-IIUK?

A: This is possible when the request for access is made in conjunction with your local Educational Psychologist. In these circumstances, the administration and interpretation of the tests must remain under the supervision of the Psychologist concerned. Access to the WIAT-IIUK does not allow access to the discrepancy analysis with the WISC-IVUK.

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Q: Is the WIAT-IIUK suitable for use as evidence for Access Arrangements

A: The WIAT-IIUK meets several of the requirements for NCT and JCQ Access Arrangements.


Q: Is the WIAT-IIUK suitable for use as evidence for the Disabled Student's Allowance?

The WIAT-IIUK is currently under review by the SpLD Working Group for inclusion onto their list of recommended assessments. As the tests need to be standardised on a population of 16 years and upwards, the Adult Scoring and Normative Supplement which reports US data would have to be purchased to use with your existing materials.

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General Questions

Q:  Why is the maximum score included for all ages when it is unlikely that some students (particularly the younger ones) could receive raw scores that high?

A:  The upper limit was included for those instances in which a student is academically gifted.



Q:  How can standard scores be generated for raw scores of 0 on the WIAT-IIUK subtests? How does this affect the Composite score?

A:  The reason for providing standard scores for raw scores of 0 are to provide anchor points for the distribution. As for composite scores, it is extremely rare that a student would score 0 on all the subtests that comprise the composite score. Also, keep in mind that the composite scores are calculated based upon the sum of the subtest standard scores that make up the composite. With the exception of Pseudoword Decoding for the very young student, there is sufficient floor in all of the subtests where a raw score of 0 is reflected by a low standard score.



Q:  Why are the point differences between predicted achievement and actual achievement that are needed for statistical significance so much smaller with the WIAT-IIUK as compared to the original WIAT (WOND, WORD and WOLD)?

A:  Some of the difference in tabled values is the result of improved reliability of some of the WIAT-IIUK subtests (the better the reliability of the subtest, the smaller the difference required to reach statistical significance).  However, the majority of the difference is attributable to a change in one aspect of the statistical formula used to calculate statistically significant differences between predicted and actual achievement scores.

The change in formula is discussed in the WIAT-IIUK Updated Examiner's Manual on page 157, where it is stated:  "Users of the WIAT will note the similarity of formulas presented here but also that the calculations of extreme discrepancies (The Psychological Corporation, 1992, p. 188) are no longer included, in favour of the more widely used standard error of the residual."

"Calculation" or recognition of a "severe" discrepancy must still be based on statistical, as well as clinical significance.  Base rate information, as included in the WIAT-IIUK Manual and Scoring Assistants, help to document the rarity of discrepancies.  When a discrepancy is reviewed for eligibility for special education services, all local and state special education regulations should also be considered.



Q:  What is Item Response Theory (IRT) and why was Reading Comprehension changed to use it?

A:  IRT allowed us to weigh each item in the grade level for difficulty.  The difficult items for age 6 are the easy items for age 7.  IRT was a statistical method that allowed us to represent these differences and ensure that scores were not being underestimated for the lower functioning students.



Q:  Why is there no space for raw scores on the summary page?

A:  This was discussed in the preliminary design phase of the protocol.  It was decided that placing an area for raw scores on the summary page would increase the likelihood that the previous WIAT procedure, summing the raw scores from each of the contributing subtests to calculate the composite score, would be followed rather than the new WIAT-IIUK procedure, summing the standard scores of the subtests to calculate the composite scores. The raw scores appear on the Total Raw Score Conversion Worksheet. The record form booklet is designed in such a way that the back page opens so as to present the Total Raw Score Conversion Worksheet beside the Summary Report page. Then, it is a simple step to convert raw scores to grade or age scaled scores.


Q:  Where are the tables for WPPSI-III – WIAT-II discrepancy analysis?

A:  The data comparing the WIAT-II and WPPSI-III is in the WPPSI-III manual Appendix B. Note that this is US data as we did not do a co-norming study with the WPPSI-III in the UK.


Q: Can text be enlarged for visually impaired patients?

A: We do allow this, but you will need to complete the permissions form as the test is copyright protected.


Q: What is covered in the stimulus books?


Stimulus Book 1

  • Word Reading
  • Numerical Operations
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Pseudoword Decoding



Stimulus Book 2

  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Written Expression
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Oral Expression


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