May 06, 2016
With so many acronyms out there and different testing methods available for children, it's easy to get them confused with one another. In particular, many parents frequently ask "What's the difference between the ERB and the WPPSI?" These are two common testing methods, though sometimes inadvertently used interchangeably.
Part of the confusion comes from the fact that both are admission tests to independent or specialized schools. ERB stands for Educational Records Bureau and has a long track record of providing tests to young students in New York City, across the United States, plus other countries. With their base in NYC, it has an interesting history, though takes its own approach to testing student skills.
WPPSI stands for Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence with initial development by psychologist David Wechsler nearly 50 years ago. It's used to test children from ages two to seven, yet has some considerable differences from the ERB above. It's also had three major revisions since first created, but still gets widely used around the United States.
So what are the most noticeable differences between these two testing methods? The real difference is one test is strictly designed to assess intelligence.
The Educational Records Bureau
Developed 85 years ago, the ERB uniquely structures its testing methods. With rigorous and accurate assessments of student ability, their tests align with the latest curriculum challenges and learning standards.
All of their testing is available online as well, as you might expect. The ERB tests a student's writing ability and vocabulary, hence making it remarkably different from the WPPSI.
Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners (AABL)
The AABL replaced the WPPSI-III for children ages 4 to 6. It assesses verbal and quantitative reasoning, mathematics and early literacy skills through an iPad interface.
Early childhood Admission Assessment (ECAA)
The ECAA for children ages 2 to 7 is a modified version of the WPPSI-IV. This test is administered to children in New York City only. It includes 8 of the 15 subtests from the WPPSI-IV: vocabulary, similarities, information and comprehension, block design, matrix reasoning, bug search and picture concepts.
The ECAA for children ages 6 to 16 is a modified version of the WISC-V. This test is administered to children in New York City only. It includes 11 of the 16 WISC-V subtests: Similarities, Vocabulary, Information, Comprehension, Block Design, Matrix Reasoning, Coding, Figure Weights, Picture Span, and Visual Puzzles.
It also includes a reading comprehension subtest for students entering grades 3-4.
The WPPSI and WISC Tests
As an I.Q. test, the WPPSI testing method doesn't test reading or writing ability. However, it does measure vocabulary ability, done partially through verbal testing. It additionally uses some non-verbal testing to determine spatial and fluid reasoning ability.
Administered to children ages two to seven, the WPPSI requires some careful conditions so test scores don't become invalidated. Kids experiencing anxiety or fatigue might not gain accurate intelligence scores.
Nevertheless, in the right conditions, it does provide a full-scale I.Q. score to determine student placement in specialized schools. Through three revisions since the late 1980s, the current versions are WPPSI–IV and WISC-V.
Some still equate WPPSI with ERB, namely because the ERB administered some portions of the WPPSI and WISC through the early childhood admissions test. No doubt this is why ERB and WPPSI get confused as being the same when the differences are notable.
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