Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III Edition is an outstanding intelligence and cognitive ability measurement tool, which assesses an individual’s cognitive skills from several angles. The creators of the test are Richard Woodcock and Mary Johnson, who revised the edition in 2001. The third edition contains seven general factor elements, which analyze one’s cognitive abilities in every regard. These are Gf, Gv, Gs, Glr, Ga, Gsm, and Gc (Navarro, 2010). However, the test possesses three general factors elements, which are problematic, such as Gc, Gs, and Gf.
The general factor of comprehensive knowledge and crystallized intelligence or Gc assesses a person acquired knowledge and skills, which allows to factor out inherited aspects of cognitive development. The general factor of short-term memory or Gsm measures one’s ability to collectively retain novel pieces of information. Auditory processing is analyzed through Ga, where the main goal is to observe a person’s listening skills. Glr or general factor element of long-term memory assesses the overall memory and level of understanding. Visual capabilities are measured through Gv, where a subject is tested by visualization exercises.
The speed of comprehension is analyzed through Gs, where a person is asked to solve short problems in a limited timeframe. Lastly, flexibility or fluidity of reasoning is assessed by Gf, which determines the overall cognitive adaptability of an individual. The majority of the mentioned general factor elements are appropriate and reliable for the intelligence assessment. However, some objective pitfalls can be observed in Gf, Gc, and Gs. The latter might fail to be accurate in measuring one’s cognitive skills due to issues of generalization and influence.
In the case of Gc, the test analyzes a person’s acquired intelligence. He or she asked simple questions on the basics of science and general information (Strickland, Watkins, & Caterino, 2015). The main problem lies in the process of determining these generalities, which might not be based on solid research. The study suggests that a person’s interests and subsequently acquired knowledge is primarily shaped by his or her parents (Srinath, Jacob, Sharma, & Gautam, 2019). This means that a child from the countryside with parents, who are farmers, might have more understanding of agriculture and the basics of zoology or botany than a child who grew up in a city. Therefore, the test’s general questions can fail to measure both of these children equally and fairly.
In addition, Gs is measured mostly by visual exercises, which can also pose a problem. It is stated that prolonged eye stress can reduce a person’s ability for rapid eye movements (Van den Berg et al., 2015). A person might possess a relatively quick reasoning capability, but fail to answer the visual question correctly due to his or her eye condition. Lastly, the fluidity of reasoning is measured by mathematical and numerical tasks. However, a person might not have the capabilities to think flexibly, but he or she gets a high score due to the overall background in mathematics. In this case, one’s math skills should not be the determining factor of Gf.
In conclusion, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability III Edition assesses an individual’s cognitive abilities by using seven general factors of intelligence. The test offers a wide range of visual, auditory, numerical, and reading tasks in order to analyze a particular general factor. However, Gf and Gs are heavily reliant on particular skills, such as visual and numerical ones. In the case of Gc, the test needs a strong scientific basis in order to make generalizations.
- Navarro, F. H. (2010). The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, (3rd ed.).
- 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.