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The Psychometrics Centre

Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

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Development of the Wechsler Objective Reading Dimensions (WORD)

The Psychological Corporation in 1990 asked us to develop a reading test from some of the sub-tests that had been included in the US based Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT). The latter had been introduced as a major contribution to the diagnosis of Special Educational Needs, a necessity that arose following US legislation requiring diagnosis to take into account a child's ability level as well as his/her actual academic performance in school. WIAT included subtests of Basic Reading, Reading Comprehension, Numerical Operations, Mathematical Reasoning, Oral Expression, Listening Comprehension, Writing and Spelling.

The Subtests chosen for WORD were

  • Basic Reading
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Spelling

These three subtests were administered to a sample of around 800 children throughout the UK on the basis of a stratified sample according to national demographics available from the Government. This enabled the development of national norms, enabling a child’s score at a particular age to be compared with that of other children of the same age.

When administered alongside a general ability test such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), a comparison of the child’s reading score with that would be expected for someone of his/her age and ability provides the basic data by which an educational psychologist or other assessment professional can provide a diagnosis of dyslexia.

WORD, together with its companion tests WOLD and WOND, have now been superseded by WIAT-II. For more information contact Pearson Assessment at their offices in London.