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About the Peabody Individual Achievement Test

The Peabody Individual Achievement Test is a briefer (about 35-45 minutes), untimed, oral format test. It is nationally norm-referenced and standardized, so it meets the requirements of the MN statute. But the Peabody's advantages go far beyond its conversational tone and straightforward wording:


  • This assessment allows children to rise to their natural level of ability. A fourth grade student can score in the Eighth grade range in mathematics, even if their reading skills are closer to their own grade level. 

  • The test is immediately scored. No need to wait 4-8 weeks for results.

  • The Peabody assesses K-12, and is normed for use at any time of year. This means that your child's scores will be compared to a test group from the same time of year, not to children who took the test at the end of their school year.

  • With its oral format and answer selections, the Peabody is certainly the test of choice for any child who struggles with reading.

  • Its shorter timeframe makes it a more bearable format for children with attention difficulties and for younger children, in general, and it means no child’s scores are lower than possible due to mental fatigue.

  • The open format of this assessment also gives more meaningful results for children who are learning well above their grade level.

  • The test doesn’t assume a particular skill level based on grade or age. Each student begins with material that is easy for them and progresses until they reach their own stopping point (based on performance). The next year, the student starts where they left off and continues to their new stopping point.

  • Because the test is oral and questions can be reworded by the examiner, the test better allows for students for whom English might be their second language, or students with auditory processing concerns.

  • You will get individualized scores in Reading Recognition, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Math and General Information (which includes Science, Social Studies and the Arts), clearly documenting your child’s strengths and weaknesses across the academic spectrum.

  • The test is not timed and is administered at your child’s pace. Testers strive to keep the test experience casual and un-intimidating for your child. Children are allowed to think through their answers without feeling hurried or pressured.

The Peabody has 5 Subtests, and then an overall score. The Subtests are as follows:

General Information is a combination of Science, Social Studies and Humanities concepts. General questions, not multiple choice. This isn’t tied to your curriculum at all so it’s just a ballpark estimation of where the student’s skills land.

Reading Recognition indicates the level at which a student can correctly pronounce or decode written words not in context (like single word flashcards). We begin at an easier level and continue until we find their level of difficulty. 

Reading Comprehension indicates the level at which a student understands the material they read (a working vocabulary level that springs from context and accuracy).  When the Recognition score is higher than the Comprehension score, it indicates that the student can pronounce words correctly even if the student isn't always sure what the words mean. A higher Comprehension score in relation to the Recognition score indicates the student can determine meaning from written material (in context) even if the student is unable to correctly pronounce each word. If Recognition and Comprehension scores are close to one another, the student's ability to decode and understand vocabulary are at about the same level. The Total Reading score is an averaging of the 2 reading component scores.

In the Math section, the student is asked to apply their math skills, not simply compute an answer. This level of sophistication with math does not usually come until a skill has been well learned and can be used in a practical sense.

For the Spelling section, the student had to select the correct spelling from 4 possible spellings of a word. For some students, this is actually easier than coming up with the correct spelling on their own, as they are able to recognize the correct spelling when they see it, but the retrieval of their own idea of the spelling is still a struggle. For other students, the 4 possible options can confuse the issue and make it more difficult to determine the correct spelling from the grouping. 


The Peabody must be administered by a trained examiner, so it is necessary to make arrangements in advance. We can test over Skype from anywhere with internet service on a laptop or tablet. Skype works really well for this format of testing, and kids love it. Even if you aren’t well versed in skype, it’s an easy download and at testing time it’s not much different than a phone call. Imagine testing with no timer clicking away, no confusing answer sheet, no worry about misreading test questions.

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