Evaluating Three Reading Tests for Use with Alcohol and Other Drug-Abusing Populations


  • This study was funded in part by Grant U01-DA-07290 from the NIDA.

Reprint requests: Mark E. Johnson, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, 3211 Providence Drive, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508.


This study compared three reading tests commonly used in research for screening, descriptive, and educational purposes with alcohol and other drug-abusing individuals. To that end, 82 male and 41 female substance abusers were administered the Slosson Oral Reading Test-Revised, Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised, and the Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised in random order. Results revealed that the tests have high concurrent validity, provide approximately the same grade-equivalent level scores, and yield raw scores that, when standardized, do not differ significantly from one another. However, if used for screening purposes, the three tests result in different proportions of subjects meeting specified criteria, particularly at lower grade levels. Specific test selection depends on the purpose of testing. For example, when the entire range of possible scores is of interest, the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised has a distinct advantage, because it has the widest range of grade-equivalent levels. Other considerations for test selection are discussed.