Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III Edition is a tool used to assess and measure a child’s cognitive capacity as well as the overall intelligence. It was created and revised by Mary Johnson and Richard Woodcock in 2001. The main advantage of the give assessment tool is the fact that it covers a wide range of cognitive skills. The test is applicable for wide range of age groups starting from two to 99 years-old (Hasinger, 2020). However, the test is mostly used for people with ages ranging from 9 – 19 (Dombrowski, McGill, & Canivez, 2018). There are seven general factor elements in total, which are used to evaluate and rate the outcome of the test (Navarro, 2010). However, the given critique will focus on three of the most essential general factors.
As it was mentioned before, there seven major general factors elements, which are critical for the overall assessment. Gf or Fluid Reasoning is a general factor that evaluates of a child’s cognitive capacity is flexible or stagnant. It also affects a person’s problem-solving abilities, because the questions presented can vary. Gs or Processing Speed is a general factor which measures a child’s information processing speed, where he or she asked to compete a task within the allocated timeframe. Gv or Visual Spatial Ability is a factor, which refers to a child’s visualization and spatial orientation skills, where he or she asked to solve for shape and figure-based tasks.
Glr or Long Term Retrieval is factor referring to an individual’s long term memory, which is in relationship with the depth of comprehension. Ga or Auditory Processing is a general factor, which measures a child’s auditory analysis and listening skills. Gsm or Short Term Memory evaluates a child’s short term memory, which assesses his or her capacity to retain new information. Gc or Crystallized Intelligence and Comprehension Knowledge is a general factor which assesses a subject’s acquired knowledge and intelligence.
Crystallized Intelligence and Comprehension Knowledge or Gc is measured through asking supposed general questions using the most common objects. The goal is to assess and separate the acquired knowledge and inherited intelligence, which is an important aspect of general abilities tests. However, it main problem is identifying the main commonalities of questions, because the subjects can widely differ. The study suggests that a child interests and skills can be heavily influenced by the overall parenting process, which means that general questions might not be able to cover all parenting approaches (Srinath, Jacob, Sharma, & Gautam, 2019).
In addition, such testing methodologies might not be able to assess crystallized intelligence in equal and fair manner, because one’s cultural and societal background can have a major impact on the development of different set of skills.
Such a test can conduct a false positive evaluation of a child general crystallized intelligence by failing to assess his or her acquired knowledge, because the subject does not fit the norm of the test. The Gc factor is measured by listening, speaking, and writing exercises, where a child is asked about basics of science, general information, and comprehension of short and simple passages (Strickland, Watkins, & Caterino, 2015).
The main issue lies in the former two segments, where there is a strong need for establishing commonalities and generalities. For example, for a child who grew up in countryside might consider information about agriculture and farming as a general knowledge, whereas a child who grew up in a city might have little understanding of such topics. In addition, the professional background of the parents can heavily influence the common knowledge of a child, where a doctor parent brings up more subjects related to medicine. Therefore, there is a need for solid and in-depth research for establishing such generalities.
Gs or general factor of processing speed measures a child’s ability to understand and comprehend new information. The majority of assessment approaches is comprised of visual tests, where he or she is asked to name a set of images or find similar patterns. The main issue is manifested in the fact that the assessment approach is highly reliant on child’s visual perception. Any eye-related medical condition will have an impact on the test outcome. The study suggests that a person’s capability for rapid eye movements can be heavily diminished by prolonged eye stress (Van den Berg et al., 2015). Therefore, the mentioned factors need to considered when designing such tests.
Fluidity of reasoning is arguably one the most important aspects of intelligence, because it measures one’s adaptability and adjustability in regards of problem solving and comprehension. The main advantage of such test is that there is no need to have a background knowledge, because the majority of questions are simple and novel exercises. The critical feature of the assessment of fluid reasoning is the fact that it does not rely on child’s ability to speak, write, or read (Otero, 2017). The main disadvantage is manifested in the fact that a child needs to possess a good set of mathematical skills. The main reason is that Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III Edition assesses a child’s fluid reasoning through various quantitative approaches, where mathematical and numerical tasks are given in order to find new sequences or patterns (Strickland et al., 2015). Therefore, a child with prior practice in maths can have an advantage in fluidity of reasoning.
In conclusion, it is important to note that Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III Edition aims to evaluate all aspects of child’s cognitive capacity and intelligence. Gs, Gc, and Gf can be considered as the most important and problematic ones. Gc is highly reliant on parenting and cultural background of a child, because it is based on supposed commonalities. Gs is measured through various visual tasks, which can be heavily affected by a child’s visual perception. Gf is primarily evaluated by using quantitative approach, which can be influenced by a child’s mathematical skills and prior education quality.
Dombrowski, S. C., McGill, R. J., & Canivez, G. L. (2018). An alternative conceptualization of the theoretical structure of the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities at school age: A confirmatory factor analytic investigation. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6(1), 1-13.
Hasinger, E. (2020). Woodcock-Johnson test guide. Web.
Navarro, F. H. (2010). The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, Third Edition . Web.
Otero, T. M. (2017). Brief review of fluid reasoning: Conceptualization, neurobasis, and applications. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 6(3), 204-211.
Srinath, S., Jacob, P., Sharma, E., & Gautam, A. (2019). Clinical practice guidelines for assessment of children and adolescents. Indian journal of psychiatry, 61(2), 158-175.
Strickland, T., Watkins, M. W., & Caterino, L. C. (2015). Structure of the Woodcock–Johnson III cognitive tests in a referral sample of elementary school students. Psychological Assessment, 27(2), 689-697.
Van den Berg, D. P. G., de Bont, P. A. J. M., van der Vleugel, B. M., de Roos, C., de Jongh, A., Minnen, A. V., & van der Gaag, M. (2015). Prolonged exposure vs eye movement desensitization and reprocessing vs waiting list for posttraumatic stress disorder in patients with a psychotic disorder: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 72(3), 259-267.