2024 Edition

Woodcock-Johnson Test Guide

WJ-III Summary
What: The Woodcock-Johnson III is an intelligence test.
Who: The test can be taken by anyone ages two to 90+.
Where: Tests are administered in schools, psychologists’ offices and other test centers.
When: The test can be given at any time after one reaches 24 months of age.
How: The test includes a variety of questions including short answer and multiple-choice.
Type: Exams are offered in paper-and-pencil format.
Why: The tests help teachers and others to determine learning disabilities and create learning programs appropriate for an individual.
Time: Individual tests average about five minutes each.
Language: English
Preparation: Students can prepare by working on test taking skills.
Cost: The cost ranges from $590 to $1,449.

By: Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities is an intelligence test series (often referred to as IQ test). First developed in 1977 by Richard Woodcock and Mary Johnson, the Woodcock-Johnson test was revised in 1989 and 2001, and today’s most recent version is known as the WJ-III.  


The comprehensive series of exams is designed to measure general intellectual ability, as well as academic achievement, scholastic aptitude, cognitive abilities and oral language. The series includes two separate batteries: the WJ-III Tests of Achievement and the WJ-III Tests of Cognitive Abilities. The WJ-III tests are used for many reasons, including planning educational and individual programs, diagnosing learning disabilities, research and growth assessment. The test has been found to be especially helpful in the identification and documentation of discrepancies between one’s ability and achievement level.


The WJ-III is designed to be tailored for people of all ages, from two to 99. Age-based norms for scoring purposes are provided by month of age as well as by grade from kindergarten through graduate school.


Thirteen tests are available in the WJ-III series. The tests are short, each averaging only about five minutes. Tests can be combined differently depending on the goals of the assessment. The Cognitive Standard set of seven tests takes approximately 35 to 45 minutes to complete, while the Achievement Standard set of eleven tests takes between 55 and 65 minutes to complete. Tests are completed in a paper-and-pencil format, and questions vary in style from multiple-choice to short answer and other types.


Tests and their sub-topics include:


     -    Comprehension-Knowledge

            -    Verbal Comprehension

            -    General Information


     -    Long-Term Retrieval

            -    Visual-Auditory Learning

            -    Retrieval Fluency


     -    Visual Processing

            -    Spatial Relations

            -    Picture Recognition


     -    Auditory Processing

            -    Sound Blending

            -    Auditory Attention


     -    Fluid Reasoning

            -    Concept Formation

            -    Analysis-Synthesis


     -    Processing Speed

            -    Visual Matching

            -    Decision Speed


     -    Short-Term Memory

            -    Numbers Reversed

            -    Memory for Words


     -    Incomplete Words


     -    Auditory Working Memory


     -    Visual-Auditory Learning – Delayed


    -    Rapid Picture Naming


    -    Planning


    -    Pair Cancellation


The exams can be purchased by teachers and administrators through Riverside Publishing. Prices vary depending on the sets of exams purchased, but range from approximately $590 to $1,449. Restrictions are high for purchasers; anyone who elects to buy an exam from Riverside will be asked to prove their qualifications.


Scores are interpreted in a raw format that is converted to fit an age and/or grade level profile as well as a percentile rank. Training programs for teachers and administrators on test administration and interpretation are available throughout the US. Participants are asked to register at least four weeks in advance; details are available from Riverside Publishing. Training fees vary but range from $800 to $1,200.


For more on the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Ability and to find helpful test preparation materials, please see the WJ-III Directory.


Sources: Florida International University; Riverside Publishing