Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

The Validity of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test with the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

The Validity of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test with the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement

Article excerpt

In the past decade, several nonverbal measures of intelligence have been developed as an alternative to administering only part of an intelligence test in order to minimize the use of language. Some of these include the Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised (Leiter-R; Roid & Miller, 1997), the Raven Progressive Matrices (RPM; Raven, Raven, & Court, 1998), the General Ability Measure for Adults (GAMA; Naglieri & Bardos, 1997), the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence-Third Edition (TONI-III; Brown, Sherbenou & Johnsen, 1997), and the Comprehensive Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (CTONI; Hammill, Pearson, & Widerholt, 1997). While all of these measures lessen the use of language and responses requiring verbalizations, all of them have been criticized for their limitations (Lassiter, Bell, Hutchinson, & Matthews, 2001; Lassiter, Harrison, Matthews, & Bell, 2001; Sattler, 2001; Williams & McCallum, 1995). Cited limitations of these tests have included a lack of a theoretical basis, limited predictive utility, and inadequate normative data and psychometric properties. When data regarding the criterion-related validity of these tests is available, the correlation coefficients between these tests and various achievement measures usually fall between .20 and .30 (Williams & McCallum, 1995). This range is much lower than that of most intelligence tests considered to have adequate validity (i.e., between .40 and .70; Sattler, 2001).

Bracken and McCallum (1998) designed the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test (UNIT) to answer the need for a nonverbal measure of intelligence that is model-driven, multidimensional, and psychometrically sound. The UNIT is a measure of cognitive abilities designed to assess intellectual functioning of children between the ages of 5 and 17 years who may experience a disadvantage if assessed using a traditional language-loaded measure of intelligence (Wilhoit & McCallum, 2002). The UNIT is a unique assessment measure because all of the instructions and administration of the test are given using gestures and pantomime. The authors of this test suggest that the foremost goal in developing the measure was to "ensure a fair assessment of intelligence for those children and adolescents whose cognitive and intellectual abilities cannot be adequately or fairly assessed with language-loaded measures or with existing unidirectional nonverbal measures" (McCallum, Bracken, & Wasserman, 2001, p. 69).

Bracken and McCallum (1998) present evidence of moderate concurrent validity of the UNIT with academic achievement in three different research studies reported in the manual. The first study was conducted using three samples, including children who were intellectually gifted (n = 43), children with learning disabilities (n = 59), and children with mental retardation (n = 55). The participants were administered the UNIT and the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement - Revised (WJ-R; Woodcock & Johnson, 1989b). For the gifted children, the Standard battery UNIT FSIQ was negatively correlated with Broad Reading (r = -.25) and Broad Written Language (r = -.15) but positively correlated with Broad Mathematics (r = .62). For the learning disabled sample, the Standard battery UNIT FSIQ had low correlations with Broad Reading (r = .03) and Broad Written Language (r = .12) but was moderately correlated with Broad Mathematics (r = .46). Interestingly, for the children with mental retardation, the UNIT FSIQ was moderately correlated with all 3 broad academic areas from the WJ-R (range .52 to .55).

In a second study, Bracken and McCallum (1998) compared the UNIT and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT; Wechsler, 1992). Thirty-one students between the ages of 5 and 14 years were administered the UNIT Abbreviated, Standard, and Extended batteries as well as the WIAT Extended batteries. UNIT FSIQ scores from the three batteries were moderately correlated with the WIAT Total Achievement scores (r = . …

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