RIAS – 2


RIAS 2 *

Editor’s Note:  Except for the CIX (overall score, composed of four subtests), all of the Index scores on the RIAS  Second Edition are composed of two subtests.  Many other tests of intelligence are now following a similar format.   “Back in the day,” (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) when other widely used tests were basing their scores on  five or (for the overall composite or IQ score) 10 or more subtests, this was widely regarded as a “weakness.”  However, the IDEA has never (ever) required high stakes decisions to be based on tests with a specific number of subtests.  The legal (and ethical) standard has always been to use tests that have been validated for the purpose for which they are being used . . . and validity cannot exceed reliability, and reliability is NOT determined by the number of subtests in a composite score.  That’s true whether a user is administering a standardized test of achievement or intelligence.  The original RIAS’s reliablity and validity scores, based on two or four subtests, were equal to those achieved by tests that were much longer (sometimes more than twice as long) in length.   Test users are always responsible for checking the technical manuals that come with their tests to insure that those standards have been met.   For reliability, the minimal standard for using a score in making a high stakes decision has always been  regarded as being .90 or above.  Of course (by law) no decision should ever be made based on a single assessment.   Those results must (again, pursuant to federal law and regulation) always be considered within the context of a comprehensive evaluation.    Scores from the RIAS 2, of course, are not exceptions to that requirement.

Slides from Cecil Reynolds on the RIAS 2 and Patterns of Strength and Weakness  (9/27/2016) *

Link the actual PowerPoint Presentation:   RIAS-2 Applications in PSW are briefly discussed in a brief PowerPoint submitted by Dr. Cecil Reynolds to the SchoolPsychology Listserv in May, 2016

Journal Articles (A Work in Progress) *

A Scientist/Practitioner’s Perspective of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales—Second Edition, by Cecil R. Reynolds and Randy W. Kamphaus (2015)

And now from PAR: *

The RIAS 2 incorporated a number of changes reported by the test authors, including

• Two new speeded processing subtests (one verbal, one nonverbal) that require minimal reliance on motor skills.

• New normative data and updated item content. • Compared to similar measures, the RIAS-2 is rias2faster: all eight subtests can be completed in less than an hour; the screening measure (the RIST-2) provides a g score in less than 15 minutes.

• Due its decreased emphasis on motor function, the RIAS-2 offers a more accurate and valid assessment of true intelligence.

• Can be used across the developmental continuum (ages 3-94 years).

Additional changes reported include

  • Greater data for interpretation. Reliable change scores and ability–achievement discrepancies with the AAB are provided.
  • Revised basal/ceiling rules. Now all basal and ceiling rules for the subtests are consistent with one another and allow for more accurate assessment at the lowest and highest ability level.
  • Revised/new item content. Items throughout the test have been updated to eliminate confusing or outdated content. Guess What, Odd-Item Out, Verbal Reasoning, What’s Missing, Verbal Memory, and Nonverbal Memory subtests appear in this update, retaining the structure and familiarity of the original measure.
  • Wider range of T scores. For most grade levels, T score ranges of at least 25 to 75 are available.

Ordering information may be obtained from the PAR Website or from WPS Publishing.

A 15 page Sample Interpretive Report is also available from PAR.

Cecil Reynolds also has a You Tube video  on What’s New in the RIAS-2.


rias-2 indexes

RIAS 2 and PSW Models (PowerPoint) *

RIAS-2 Applications in PSW are briefly discussed in a brief PowerPoint submitted by Dr. Cecil Reynolds to the SchoolPsychology Listserv in May, 2016.

RIAS 2 and Gifted Assessments *

Research on the RIAS is now dated.   However, according to the test author, is widely used to assess for giftedness in Texas (El Paso was an early adopter), Florida, and Illinois (e.g., Chicago).

Many private evaluators have used the Wechsler IV for initial evaluations for gifted programs.  One problem this author had seen was that due to regression effect, children who had been found eligible based on the Wechsler would, on average, get lower scores based on regression effect when tested on any other test — not just the RIAS.  So parents often (sometimes angrily) insisted on their private evaluatior using the WISC IV instead of the RIAS.   That advantage, however, has all but disappeared with the publication of the WISC V.

The following information applied to the RIAS and is now dated. *


Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD., Texas A&M University

the reynolds intellectual
assessment scales (RIAS)

An abstract and a link to an article co-authored by the test authors on using the test to assess giftedness follows:

The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS) (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2003) is a psychometrically sound, individually administered test of intelligence developed and standardized for ages 3 through 94 years. This article describes the goals for development of the RIAS and its underlying theory, emphasizing its applicability to the identification of intellectually gifted individuals. In addition, an overview of the test’s administration and psychometric properties is provided.

RIAS and intellectual giftedness (Click for paper)

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology,

TEST REVIEW by Robert Elliott (2003)  

Abstract:  Strengths of the RIAS are in the normative sample, short administration time, the addition of a
memory component which is co-normed with intelligence measures, the broad age range, and the well
organized and comprehensive manual. It is likely that the RIAS will become a very popular measure of
intelligence for school districts that are under serious pressure to provide measures of intelligence for
determination of eligibility for special education and program needs, but to do so at a lower cost and in a
more rapid fashion. The RIAS can satisfy that need and should become part of every school psychologist’s
battery of tests. The clinical neuropsychologist will find the RIAS valuable as a measure of intelligence where
fatigue could be a compromising component, the subject is non-English speaking, and/or where there are
sensorimotor factors which could interfere with response modalities seen in most other tests. The research
psychologist will find the RIAS valuable because of its strong psychometric properties, broad age range, data
available on a variety of clinical groups, and short administration time. The RIAS is at the forefront of the next
generation of intelligence testing

RIAS Reviewv(Click here to open in Word)

An Introduction to the RIAS  by Jim Gyurke (PAR staff)

Following is a PAR PDF (undated) that reviews the goals of the test authors, provides examples of subtest items, and presents the technical characteristics of the assessment.  

An Introduction to the RIAS (Click here to Open)

A Comparison of Low IQ Scores From the Reynolds Intellectual
Assessment Scales and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—
Third Edition
Thomas B. Umphress

Twenty people with suspected intellectual disability took the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS; C. R. Reynolds & R. W. Kamphaus, 1998) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—3rd Edition (WAIS-III; D. Wechsler, 1997) to see if the 2 IQ tests produced comparable  results. A t test showed that the RIAS Composite Intelligence Index scores were significantly higher than WAIS-III Full Scale IQ scores at the alpha level of .01. There was a significant difference between the RIAS Nonverbal Intelligence and WAIS-III Performance Scale, but there was no significant difference between the RIAS Verbal Intelligence Index and the WAIS-III Verbal Scale IQ. The results raise questions concerning test selection for diagnosing intellectual disability and the use of the correlation statistic for comparing intelligence tests.

RIAS – WAIS Low Scores (Click here to open)

Validation of the Frey and Detterman (2004) IQ
prediction equations using the Reynolds Intellectual
Assessment Scales

A. Alexander Beaujean a,*, Michael W. Firmin b, Andrew J. Knoop a,
Jared D. Michonski b, Theodore P. Berry b, Ruth E. Lowrie c
a Assessment and Consultation Clinic, 205 Lewis Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
b Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH, USA
c Clark Country Educational Service Unit, Springfield, OH, USA
Received 9 August 2005; accepted 16 January 2006
Available online 29 March 200

This study sought to assess the ability of the equations Frey and Detterman (2004) presented to assess IQ
in the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS). The study confirmed Frey and Detterman’s equation
(2) best predicted IQ from recentered SAT scores. Nonetheless, both of the Frey and Detterman’s
equations did not match the optimal model found in the current data, namely that SAT Total or SAT
Verbal, alone, best predicted IQ as measured by the RIAS. Implications from this study are much the same
as those stated by Frey and Detterman, namely, that SAT appears to be a measure of general intelligence
and is a useful tool in predicting cognitive functioning. Nonetheless, future research is needed with a wider
range of IQ instruments to assess which SAT variables are the best predictors, and what weight each should
be ascribed.
 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Validation of IQ Equation Scores (Click here to open) *

Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (2003). RIAS:
Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales. Lutz, FL:
Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc

Stefan C. Dombrowski
Rider University
Lawrenceville, NJ
e-mail: sdombrowski@rider.edu
Martin Mrazik
University of Alberta, Canada

The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS; Reynolds & Kamphaus,
2003) is an individually administered test of intelligence for use with individuals
between the ages of 3 and 94. The authors have designed and incorporated subtests
that emphasize fluid and crystallized abilities while excluding subtests that historically
have less g saturation (e.g., those involving psychomotor speed), resulting in a
measure that can be administered in a short period of time yet that maintains a high
level of construct validity. Importantly, the authors have made a significant effort to
develop a culturally fair instrument that still provides for a uniform interpretation of
test scores across ethnic groups.

Canadian Journal Rias Review (Click here to open)

The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales 

Cecil Reynolds, Randy Kamphays, and Tara C. Raines

Chapter 16 in  Contemporary Intellectual Assessment, Third Edition: Theories, Tests, and Issues

 edited by Dawn P. Flanagan, Patti L. Harrison

RIAS Chapter 16 (Flanagan) (Click here to open)

RIAS Chapter for Naglieri and Goldstein (Click here to open)

This last section was written in 2006 and revised in 2014 by one of the editors.   It is the least authoritative of the articles in this section, but it was written  in response to concerns by teachers that (because of the brief testing time) he was substituting a screening test for a “real” intellectual assessment.  The facts below (not updated since 2006) were sufficient to convince a supervisor that the test met federal standards for reliability and validity in the assessment of intellectual ability.   The facts that the test took less examiner time, meant children were out of their classrooms for a briefer time, that administering this test rather than the customary batteries resulted in a  more efficient and cost effective use of the psychologist’s time, and that testing protocols cost less were all just icing on the cake.  While the RIAS is not always the best test to use in all circumstances, it proved its worth in the vast majority of both initial and re-evaluations. 

Letter from Dan Boyd to Carla (2005) *

A letter from Don Boyd, the Arkansas state consultant for school psychological services, regarding the appropriateness of the RIAS for testing gifted children..

Don Boyd to Carla Letter (Click here to open)


A Two Year Study (PowerPoint)

RIAS vs. WISC 4 PowerPoint Click Here *

The following is the least authoritative of the reviews posted above.   Written in 2006, it was revised (but not updated) for this website. This psychologist adopted the RIAS for both initial and reevaluations in 2005.  It wasn’t long before some teachers began to complain about the brevity of the testing, apparently believing that their school psychologist was administering a screening rather than an evaluation.  This internal memorandum was submitted to the Exceptional Children Director to demonstrate that the RIAS was fully compliant with federal regulations requiring that all evaluations be both reliable and valid for the purpose for which they were being used.  (The purpose in this case was to provide the eligibility groups with defensible scores that could be used in the eligibility decision making process.)  The fact that the test was also cost effective (protocols cost less, the test itself cost less), time effective (significantly reduced administration time), and that the briefer administration time significantly reduced the amount of student time away from the classroom was all just icing on the cake.  No further complaints were received subsequent to the production of this memorandum.

RIAS Test Review
for Burke County Schools
Guy M. McBride, Ph.D.  (2006, revised 2014)

Advantages of RIAS: 

1.  The RIAS provides a “nice option as compared to the majority of extant language loaded intelligence tests that seem to have grown longer every year.”  (Bracken, 2006)

2.  The RIAS employs “well tested and proven measures of intelligence.”  (Bracken, 2006.)

3.  The RIAS presents strong evidence for reliability.  (Bracken, 2006).

4.  “Concurrent validity studies with the WISC III and WAIS III yielded comparable mean scores and overall positive correlations.”  (Bracken, 2006)

5.  “Comparing performance (or percentile ranks) on the Verbal intelligence Index (VIX) and Nonverbal Intelligence Index (NIX) may help examiners distinguish between these two types of intelligence.  In addition, comparing the CIX to the Composite Memory Index (CMX) may help identify test takers with memory requirements.”  (Schraw,  2006)

6.  “Correlations ranged from .61 to .79 using the VIX, NIX, and CMX composite scores from the RIAS and three composite scores from the WAIS III.”  (Schraw, 2006)   Correlations between CIX and FSIQ on the WISC III ranged from .60 to .78  (Edwards, 2006)

7.   According to one Buros reviewer,  “The RIAS appears to be most useful when used to diagnose major intellectual and memory impairments.” (Schraw, 2006)

8.   Using short forms of longer instruments, may result  in scores that are less stable and less psychometrically sound than the RIAS.  (Edwards, 2006)

9    The RIAS substantially reduces or eliminates “dependence on motor coordination and visual motor speed in the measurement of intelligence.”  (Reynolds and Kamphaus, 2003)

10.  The RIAS provides a  “practical measurement device in terms of efficacies of time, direct costs, and information needed from a measure of intelligence.”  (Reynolds and Kamphaus, 2003).

11.  The RIAS allows for continuity of measurement across all developmental levels from ages 3 through 94 years for both clinical and research purposes.  (Reynolds and Kamphaus, 2003)   (The Wechsler series employs three separate tests across those age ranges, making comparisons of performance on different tests impractical; and even the DAS uses substantially different subtests for different age ranges, making comparisons of performance from the preschool age range to school age age range more problematic.)

12.  The RIAS accurately predicts basic academic achievement comparable to IQ tests twice its length.  (Reynolds and Kamphaus, 2003).

  1.  The RIAS reduces the disparate impact of intellectual testing on minority groups, particularly African Americans, by nearly fifty percent.  (Reynolds, personal communication, 2006.)

14.  “The RIAS substantially lessens the time to assess intelligence without compromising statistical integrity.”  (Elliott, 2004)

15.   “Reliability and validity are comparable, if not stronger, than reliability and validity measures on similar measures of intelligence that are substantially longer and more complex.”  (Elliott, 2004).

16.  “It is likely that the RIAS will become a very popular measure of intelligence for school districts that are under serious pressure to provide measures of intelligence for more rapid fashion.  The RIAS can satisfy that need and should become part of every school psychologist’s battery of tests.”  (Elliott, 2004)


Although test reviewers talk about construct, concurrent, and predictive validity, ultimately ALL kinds of validity studies reflect on construct validity . . . “Does the test do what it is supposed to do?”  (Joint Standards; Office for Civil Rights, 2000).

In validating the inferences of the test results, it is important to consider the consequences of the test’s interpretation and use.

With respect to the RIAS, the mean and distribution of scores are reportedly similar for both the RIAS and Wechsler series.  Nevertheless, different tests WILL give different scores.  (A child will not score the same on a Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement that he would on the End of Grade test;  some children will score higher, some lower.)

A test be validated for the purpose for which it is being used in order to be in compliance with the federal regulations.   When the Wechsler was last revised, it doubled the loading on working memory and processing speed, both psychological processing skills are typically deficient in children with learning disabilities.   In essence, this meant that children who were having difficulty with achievement because of deficits in these areas were also being penalized on some tests of ability (such as the Wechsler), in essence creating a case of double jeopardy.

Do children with learning disabilities score lower on WMI and PSI?

Studies reported in the Manual suggest that children with learning and/or attention disorders tend to perform lower on tasks that measure working memory and processing speed.”

(Frequently Asked Questions, Harcourt Brace website)

A number of  psychologists expressed concern about what is sometimes called the Mark Penalty (“the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.”)  The Mark Penalty occurs in psychological testing for LD based on a discrepancy model (under severe fire from multiple sources) when the examiner uses a test that is biased by the same psychological processing deficits that formed the basis, in whole or part, for the child’s academic problems.

Psychological Corporation responded to these criticisms by issuing Technical Report No. 4, which allows the psychologist, after conducting a post hoc analysis, to  calculate a General Abilities Index to be used in lieu of  FSIQ.   The GAI, which calculates a cognitive score based on a combination of the six Verbal and Performance subtests (excluding WM and PS), will result in a higher score for children who have been found, after the testing, to have significant problems in either area.

Indeed, one limited (N=34) study of referred children tested using the WISC IV and the RIAS confirmed that trend.   The children tested had a RIAS CIX that was on average about 8 to 9 points higher than the FSIQ; but when GAIs were calculated, that difference fell to three to four points.   (By way of comparison, the Differential Ability Scales  are reported to come in 5 to 8 points higher than the WISC IV.)

Others, like John Willis and Ron Dumont, have argued  that it is more appropriate  to eliminate  the “contamination” of working memory, processing speed, and psychomotor skills a priori when testing children suspected of learning disabilities or mental impairment.

“If a student has weaknesses in basic sensory, motor, or psychological processes (e.g., visual impairment, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, oral language disorder, word-finding impairment, auditory perception, visual perception, processing speed, working memory, etc.), we think it is only reasonable to seek a measure of intelligence that is not contaminated by weaknesses that have been documented by testing (other than the cognitive ability test itself), observation, classroom performance, and other sources of information.  In fact, Ron Dumont has said that the intelligence test for a child should not be selected until other assessment is completed.  If you are trying to assess thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving ability, you do not want to use intelligence tests that require a blind child to copy block designs or a child with an oral language disorder to define words.  You want an intelligence measure that is not contaminated by the documented weaknesses, even – or especially – if those weaknesses are in abilities important to intellectual functioning.”

Since the RIAS eliminates many of those potentially contaminating factors up front, however,  the amount of analysis required to determine the tasks’ appropriateness is clearly reduced.  (For example, the RIAS would in most cases  not be the best test to use with  a blind or deaf child or an ESL child.)

Reliability:  A brief comparison

CIX reliability is reported to be about .97; the reliability for the FSIQ on the WISC IV was reported to be about .98; reliability for GAI on the WISC IV was reported to be .96.  The DAS reports reliabilities of .94 to .95 for preschool children, and .95 to .96 for school age children.

Validity:  A brief review

The DAS reports predictive reliabilities (correlations with achievement tests) ranging from .52 (spelling) to .60 (Basic Number Skills, Word Reading) when correlated with scores obtained by children in the normative sample of the DAS Achievement tests  (Colin Elliott, 1983)  When compared with other tests, correlations ranged from .46 (spelling at age 7 and reading age at 11) to .66 (reading at age 7.)

Reported correlations between CIX and WIAT Composites ranged from .60 to .69.  (Reynolds and Kamphaus, 2003).  [Verbal Intelligence Index reportedly correlated .73 (Elliott, 2003).]

Brief Summary of Correlations with Other Cognitive Measures

By way of the comparison, the Differential Ability Scales, the GCA on the DAS reportedly correlated .75 with the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children 5-7 years old.  It correlated .88 with the Stanford Binet IV for 9 and 10 year olds.  It correlated .84 with the WISC III. For 8 to 10 year olds.  (Colin Elliott, 1983)

The RIAS (based on a study of  54 children) correlated .76 with FSIQ on the old WISC III.

In his study, Edwards (2006) found a correlation of .86 between CIX and FSIQ on the WISC IV, despite differences between the mean scores.

Criticisms:   No review would be complete without criticisms.  The most frequent criticism levied at the RIAS is that in the best of all possible worlds, there would be more studies of predictive validity than were included in the test manual.  No one, however, has suggested that the predictive validity studies done by Reynolds, et. al, were flawed or that the data reported was less than satisfactory.   Test validation is an on going process,  not a finished task                        once the first technical manual is issued.  Several more recent links addressing

Summary:  The RIAS   offers significant advantages over other measures of cognitive ability when assessing children who are suspected of being SLD and is generally regarded as being appropriate both for the assessment of children with cognitive impairments.

Overall, comparable scores for the general population would be expected.  However, the RIAS may provide higher scores for children who have significant psychomotor problems or specific problems with working memory or processing speed (underlying psychological processing deficits oft times associated with SLD children.)  This is not to be regarded as a flaw either in the test.

Working memory, processing speed, and psychomotor skill deficits may all impede academic progress.  (The Bender, for example, has a .6 correlation with some measures of achievement.)     They are not unimportant, and they should be documented.   We just shouldn’t call them “IQ” or “intelligence.”


Bracken, Bruce, and Gregory Shaw.  Review of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales.   Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook.  16th Edition.

Edwards, Oliver.  Referred Students’ Scores on the RIAS and WISC IV:  Implications for Test Selection.  PowerPoint Presentation, NASP, 2006.

Elliott, Colin.  Differential Ability Scales.  Introductory and Technical Handbook. Harcourt Brace.  1983

Elliott, Robert.  Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales.  Archives of Clinical Neuro-Psychology.   2003.


Reynolds, Cecil.  Re:  [Nasp Listserv] Rias v. Wechsler.  Personal Communication by email published on NASP Listserv.  April, 2006.

Reynolds, Cecil, and Randy Kamphaus.  Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales.  Professional Manual.  Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.  2003.

Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.  American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education.   1999.

The Use of Tests as Part of High Stakes Decision Making for Students.  A Resource Guide for Educators and Policy Makers.  “Chapter One.  Test Measurement Principles.”   United States Department of Education.  Office for Civil Rights.  2000.

Willis, John. and Ron Dumont  Using the DWI or the GAI.  www.myschoolpsychology.com

Brief Thoughts on the RIAS  (John Willis) *

If your burning passion is to explore every crook and nanny of CHC abilities with a single instrument, you want the WJ III.  If you want to try to distinguish Gf from Gv with separate scores, you probably want the DAS-II or WPPSI-IV. If you want to assess phonology and RAN on the same instrument with which you assess g, you want the DAS-II.  If you want to measure g through Gf and Gc with a very efficient, thoroughly validated instrument, you want the RIAS.  If you want to keep memory separate from g, and do not want your g measure contaminated with processing speed and motor abilities (like my post-stroke gifted case several years ago), you really want the RIAS.  Examiners behave as if a sports car, a school bus, an SUV, and an off-road vehicle are interchangeable for all purposes.