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Individual Achievement Tests for Special Education Students

Tools for Assessment, Diagnosis and Program Design


Individualized achievement tests are useful for assessing a student's academic abilities. They are designed to measure both pre-academic and academic behavior: from the ability to match pictures and letters, to more advanced literacy and mathematical skills. They can be helpful in assessing needs.

The Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) is an achievement test which is administered individually to students. Using a flip book and a record sheet, it is easily administered and requires little time. The results can be very helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses. The PIAT is a criterion based test, which is also normed. It provides age equivalent and grade equivalent scores.

The Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement is another individualized test which measures academic areas and is appropriate for children from the ages of 4 to young adults to 20 and a half. The tester finds a base of a designated number of consecutive correct answers and works to a ceiling of the same incorrect consecutive answers. The highest number correct, minus any incorrect responses, provide a standard score, which is quickly converted into a grade equivalent or age equivalent. The Woodcock Johnson also provides diagnostic information as well grade level performances on discrete literacy and mathematical skills, from letter recognition to mathematical fluency.

The Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills is another well known, well accepted criterion based and normed individual achievement test. The Brigance provides diagnostic information on reading, math and other academic skills. As well as being one of the least expensive assessment instruments, the publisher provides software to help write IEP goals based on the assessments, called Goals and Objective Writers Software, that they sell for $59.95.

KeyMath 3 Diagnostic Assessment is both a diagnostic and progress monitoring tool for math skills. Broken into three areas: Basic Concepts, Operations, and Applications, the instrument provides scores for each area as well as each of the 10 subtests. Along with the flip chart books and test booklets, KeyMath also provides scoring software, to generate scores and reports.

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