Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)

Why use a WIAT to assess children?

Why use a WIAT to assess children?

I am often asked about the WIAT (Wechsler Individual Achievement Test). The WIAT is an individually administered test that takes from 30 to 90mintes to administer.

An achievement test measure how an individual is going in certain areas of academic school work.

The WIAT gives a good overall summary of functioning in the following areas: reading, maths, written language and oral language.

If an individual has a high or average IQ and is significantly below average in reading, maths or written language they may have a specific learning disability in a certain area. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability associated with problem in reading.

If an individual has an extremely high IQ, but is under achieving at school, they may fall into the category of “gifted – learning disabled”.

A WIAT is a good way to see how a child is going in a variety of academic subjects compared to other people their own age.

The WIAT – II has the following sub tests:

  • Word Reading
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Pseudo word Decoding (this is reading a variety of nonsense words, where the student must apply his or her phonetic knowledge to sound out unfamiliar words). This subtest is a good indication of reading problems such as dyslexia.
  • Numerical Operations – written maths problems.
  • Maths Reasoning – verbally presented problems with visual cues.
  • Spelling
  • Written Expression
  • Listening Comprehension, and
  • Oral Expression.

One of the major advantages of using a WIAT is that it can be used in combination with a WISC-IV assessment and the computer scoring program derives predicted scored in achievement areas, based on an individual’s IQ. If the predicted score is much higher than the actual score in an achievement area, there is often a problem associated with these skills. Psychologists are then able to identify specific learning disabilities or difficulties in a certain area. There are many other good reasons to conduct psychological assessment.

If you would like your child assessed with a WIAT, it is best to have it done by a qualified educational psychologist, who has experience with the school environment. While other psychologists are qualified to use this assessment tool, only psychologists with working knowledge of a school environment are able to make appropriate teaching accommodations and recommendations for the best educational outcomes.

School Psychology Services offers the WIAT assessment as part of a full educational assessment. You could also go to online dyslexia courses for teachers to help other kids as well.


  • Harcourt Assessment Company
  • Sattler, J, M. (2001). Assessment of Children: Cognitive Applications. Sattler: San Diego
  1. Barbara Robson10-21-2010

    I have just administered WIAT for the first time and am struggling to discover how to work out Reading Speed quartile, standardised score, percentile etc. Can you help? The child is 16yrs11mths and read at a rate of 140wpm.

  2. George Bergholz08-13-2011

    Q: How often can you retest with the use of the WIAT within a year?