Hierarchical Exploratory Factor Analyses of the Woodcock-Johnson IV Full Test Battery: Implications for CHC Application in School Psychology

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The Woodcock-Johnson (fourth edition; WJ IV; Schrank, McGrew, & Mather, 2014a) was recently redeveloped and retains its linkage to Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory (CHC). Independent reviews (e.g., Canivez, 2017) and investigations (Dombrowski, McGill, & Canivez, 2017) of the structure of the WJ IV full test battery and WJ IV Cognitive have suggested the need for additional factor analytic exploration. Accordingly, the present study used principal axis factoring (PAF) followed by the Schmid and Leiman (SL; Schmid & Leiman, 1957) procedure with the 2 school-aged correlation matrices from the normative sample to determine the degree to which the WJ IV total battery structure could be replicated. Although 7 factors emerged across the 9 to 19 age range, the pattern of subtests loadings did not fully cohere with the structure presented in the Technical Manual, most notably for the academic fluency subtests. Also, the Fluid Reasoning (Gf) and Quantitative Reasoning (Gq) subtests coalesced to form a combined factor rather than 2 separate factors and the Long Term Retrieval (Gltr) subtests aligned with a variety of different factors. The results of this study indicated that the general intelligence factor variance far exceeded the variance attributed to the lower-order CHC factors. The combination of subtest migration and nominal total/common variance of the CHC lower-order factors suggests caution when interpreting the myriad CHC-related indices when making high stakes decisions. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

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