Educational Evaluations

While not an exhaustive list of all tests and assessments provided at the DeFusco Center, these are the two most widely used educational assessment tools in the State of New Jersey:

  • Woodcock-Johnson IV (WJ IV)
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - Third Edition (WIAT III)

It is beyond the scope of this page to discuss all the nuances of each individual subtest or the differences between the subtests on the WJ IV and the WIAT III but I have provided an overview of what should be a baseline for educational testing.

In summary, while both tests have their merits, I find the WJ IV to be more helpful in determining cognitive strengths and weaknesses affecting the learning process.  A newer edition of the WIAT is in the works, but I doubt it will provide the cognitive data which exists on the WJ IV.  The cognitive portion of the WJ IV is invaluable to a diagnostician in pinpointing specific learning strengths and weaknesses. While school districts may have a psychologist on staff to do an IQ, having the cognitive portion of the WJ IV done by a learning consultant provides better educational planning for children with any learning issues.


Woodcock-Johnson IV

The Woodcock -Johnson IV is composed of three assessment measures: The Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Ability (WJ IV COG), the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Oral Language (WJ IV OL), and the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement (WJ IV ACH). Combined, these instruments provide a comprehensive set of subtests measuring intellectual abilities, academic achievement, and oral language abilities. Not all of the subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson IV (COG. OL, ACH) may be administered and are based on examiner discretion.

Cognitive Testing

The WJ IV COG provides a General Intellectual Ability (GIA) score as well as seven broad ability clusters derived from scores of these subtests. The WJ IV COG samples a student’s problem- solving abilities, thinking and reasoning skills, perceptual and processing skills/speed, memory, and acquired knowledge. Comprehension-knowledge, Fluid Reasoning, Long Term Retrieval (Memory), Visual Processing, Auditory Processing, Cognitive Processing Speed, and Short-Term Working Memory are evaluated.

Academic Testing

The academic portion of the WJ IV ACH contains numerous subtests measuring the four curriculum areas: reading, mathematics, written language, and academic knowledge.

In reading the tasks include Letter-Word Identification (sight vocabulary), Word Attack Skills (sounding out), Passage Comprehension, Oral Reading, Sentence Reading Fluency (timed), Reading Recall, Word Reading Fluency (timed), and Reading Vocabulary.

The mathematics subtests consist of Applied Problems (word problems), Calculation (numerical computation), Math Fact Fluency (timed task assessing how quickly the student can complete basic math facts), and Number Matrices (filling in the missing number in matrices).

In written expression the subtests of Spelling, Writing Samples (writing sentences), Sentence Writing Fluency (timed to see how quickly a student can write a sentence when provided with specific words), Editing, and Spelling of Sounds are tested.

Academic Knowledge taps their knowledge base in Science, Social Studies, and Humanities.

Oral Language

This group of 12 subtests (9 English and 3 Spanish) measure important areas of oral language including listening comprehension, oral expression, phonetic coding, speed of lexical access, vocabulary, and auditory memory. Not all of the subtests need to be administered. When the examiner wishes to gain additional information regarding language functioning, they administer the necessary subtests from this group. The tasks include: Picture Vocabulary, Oral Comprehension, Segmentation, Rapid Picture Naming, Sentence Repetition, Understanding Directions, Sound Blending, Retrieval Fluency, Sound Awareness and three subtests geared toward Spanish speaking students.


Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- Third Edition (WIAT III)

The WIAT III is strictly an academic test. It provides information about the student’s levels of functioning in Oral Language, Reading, Written Expression and Mathematics.

Under Oral Language, both Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression are assessed.

Reading tasks include Early Reading Skills (younger child), Reading Comprehension, Word Reading (sight words), Pseudoword Decoding (reading of nonsense words for decoding purposes) and Oral Reading Fluency (timed).

Written expression taps the areas of Alphabet Writing Skills (younger child), Sentence Composition, Essay Composition and Spelling. 

Mathematics exams Math Problem Solving (word problems), Numerical Operations (calculations), and Math Fact Fluency in Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication (timed).