Often when a child is being assessed for academic difficulties or giftedness, the WIAT-II will be administered amidst a battery of psychological tests with similarly ambiguous acronyms. The aim of this article is to provide some clarity about the content and purpose of this commonly used assessment. The goal is to demystify part of the child assessment process, which can be overwhelming for parents at times.

Psychologists are often asked to administer the WIAT-II (Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second Edition). The WIAT-II is an individually administered test that takes 30 to 90 minutes to administer. An achievement test measures how an individual is progressing in certain areas of academic school work.

The WIAT-II gives an overall summary of functioning in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Written language
  • Oral language

The WIAT-II was designed to be used in conjunction with a standardised measure of intellectual functioning, namely the WAIS-IV or WISC-IV. If an individual has high or average cognitive functioning and is significantly below average in reading, maths or written language, they may have a specific learning disorder in a certain area. Dyslexia is an example of a specific learning disorder associated with problems limited to reading.

The WIAT-II is also a good measurement tool to use to see how a student is going in a variety of academic subjects compared with other people their own age.

The WIAT – II has the following sub tests:

  • Word Reading
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Pseudo word Decoding (reading a variety of nonsense words, where the student must apply phonetic knowledge to sound them out).
  • Numerical Operations – written maths problems.
  • Maths Reasoning – verbally presented maths problems with visual cues.
  • Spelling.
  • Written Expression.
  • Listening Comprehension.
  • Oral Expression.

If you would like your child assessed with a WIAT, it is best to have it done by a qualified psychologist, who has experience with the school environment or working with children so that they can make appropriate teaching accommodations and recommendations for the best educational outcomes.

Finding Assistance

At Strategic Psychology in Canberra, we offer a comprehensive, individually-tailored assessment service that is suitable for children, adolescents and adults who are having difficulties with academic and work functioning. The WIAT-II is just one of the numerous assessments our clinicians are trained to administer. If you would like to make an appointment for yourself or your child to discuss the possibility and usefulness of administering an assessment, please contact us on (02) 6262 6157 or email support@strategicpsychology.com.au.


Harcourt Assessment Company: Sattler, J, M. (2001). Assessment of Children: Cognitive Applications. Sattler: San Diego

Related reading:

How Do I Know if my Child has Learning Difficulties
Dyslexia- Steps to Help Your Child at Home
Creative Ways To Help Children with Learning Disorders