Hi, Vivian !
An excellent short description of the WRAT can be found on Job Bank's
Among other things it says:
"The purpose of the WRAT3 is to measure the codes which are needed to
learn the basic skills of reading, spelling and arithmetic.
The WRAT3 was intentionally designed to eliminate the effects of
comprehension. When dealing with areas of learning disabilities,
especially reading, it is essential to determine whether the problem
is due to an inability to learn the codes which are necessary to
acquire the skill or whether the problem is due to an inability to
derive meaning from the codes.
Since the WRAT3 scores are free from contamination effects of
comprehension, it is possible to compare WRAT3 standard scores with
comprehension standard scores from other tests such as Wechsler
scales. One can then determine precisely where the individual is
having difficulty and can prescribe those remedial or educational
programmes which will target treatment for the specific defect.
The WRAT3 allows the administrator to differentiate between students
who lack the coding skills to learn the mechanics of reading from
those who may be good readers but whose problem is an inability to
comprehend or to get meaning."
This means that the test is probably one best used in conjunction
another test such as the very widely used Wechsler, which has also
been standardised over extensive use for a number of years.
The test can also be used to observe patterns of errors with a view to
pinpointing instructional needs.
The Dyslexia Institute (UK) has some supplementary information by
Martin Turner at:
This explains how to read the absolute scale and use it to measure
progress between children of very different basic ability, and also
how to interpret raw scores in terms of age equivalents.
You can buy the test kits from their on-line shop:
Gary S. Wilkinson PhD also has a webpage from which the test can be
He tells us:
"The WRAT3 is normed by age - not grade level - for greater accuracy.
Its standard scores and percentiles compare an individual's
performance with others of the same age. Its grade levels are rough
clues to instructional levels, not determinations of specific
Each Form of the WRAT3 has 3 subtests focussing on the coding skills
· READING recognizing and naming letters, pronouncing printed words
· SPELLING writing name; writing letters and words from dictation
· ARITHMETIC counting, reading number symbols, oral and written
He considers the test especially effective when:
" Identifying level of coding performance on an absolute scale and in
relation to age peers.
Diagnosing learning disabilities in reading, spelling, and
arithmetic when used in conjunction with a comprehensive test of
Measuring the development of basic academic codes over time when
intervention techniques are attempted.
Study the relationships between the coding aspects of reading and
arithmetic with the behavioral disabilities of verbal and numerical
comprehension and problem solving."
The test is quick to administer, taking 15 to 30 minutes, depending on
age, and scoring by hand takes less than 5 minutes, making it a very
Jerome M. Suttler, in "Assessment of Children", San Diego University
Press 1992, considered the test to have good reliability on retest,
and a good correlation with other test results, and described it at
popular because it is quick and easy to administer, used standard
scoring and cover the three major areas of achievement. He felt,
however, that it should be used primarily as a screening test, and not
for diagnostic or placement purposes. However he was probably writing
about the revision before the present version.
Originally formulated in 1936, the WRAT went through several revisions
"....restandardization of this edition of the test began in the early
90s as a result of the Rasch analysis of item difficulties. ....The
WRAT3 was given to a norm sample in the United States. An adult sample
was selected by using a national stratified sample design controlled
for age, regional residence, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic
level. The sample size for all age groups(5-75) was 4,834."
An article in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry to be found at:
Here they say of the WRAT3 :
"Unlike most other tests, the WRAT3 contains matched forms of each
test, making it useful for retesting after remedial intervention. "
But they go one to say:
"Whereas the WRAT3 is generally adequate for assessing a child's level
of function in the basic skills of decoding words, spelling, and
arithmetic, and thus for assessing the presence of a learning
disability, its narrow range of focus is limiting with regard to
elucidating more subtle aspects of learning difficulties such as
reading comprehension, language difficulties, and writing problems."
The educational psychologist to whom I spoke said that:
"You'd run it across a whole bunch of kids to see how your program was
going, but it's not enough to make individual decisions."
In other words, a very useful, quick and easy screener, and a good
measure of progress, but best used in conjunction with other tests for
Thank you for an interesting question.
"Wide range assessment test"
Phone discussion with local Educational Psychologist.