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Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test 4th Edition (PPVT-4)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test 4th Edition.
Supplemental - Highly Recommended: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Supplemental: Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD ), Epilepsy, Neuromuscular Disease (NMD), and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Short Description of Instrument
The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4 (PPVTTM-4) is a widely used measure of receptive vocabulary skills that does not require any reading or writing on the part of the subject. There are 228 test items separated into 19 sets of 12 items each. The PPVTTM-4 has two parallel forms which can be used to measure change over time or compare performance at two time points without confound of practice effects. The test can also be used to screen patients according to their level of verbal ability. It is frequently used in research as a proxy for intellect.
Administration: Paper-and-pencil, face-to-face, individual; a new digital stimulus book is now available for this edition.
Age range: 2;6–90+ years
Administration Time: Approximately 10–15 minutes
Training: Easy to learn measure, practice is recommended. Clinical interpretation requires degree in psychology, neuropsychology, speech/language pathology; however, can be administered and scores can be obtained by trained research assistants for research purposes.
Scoring: Web-based/computerized or manual
Norms: Age and grade-based standard scores are given, with mean = 100 and standard deviation = 15. Percentiles, normal curve equivalents (NCEs), stanines, age and grade equivalents, and Growth Scale Value (GSV) can also be calculated.
Publication: 2007 (in use over 50 years)
Psychometrics: Developed over a five-year period, the PPVTTM-4 test was standardized on a national sample of individuals ages 2:6–90+ years. More than 5,500 individuals were tested; data from approximately 3,500 subjects was used for the normative scores. The sample matches the U.S. Census for gender, ace/ethnicity, region, socioeconomic status (SES), and clinical diagnosis or special education placement.
The PPVTTM-4 test provides extremely reliable scores, with all reliability and validity coefficients in the .90s range. The PPVTTM-4 is particularly useful in providing a proxy of intellectual functioning across the lifespan as a means of describing the sample characteristics.
Strengths/Weaknesses: This is a widely used and accepted measure of English vocabulary knowledge and as a proxy for verbal intellectual ability. The broad age range assessed by this measure lends itself well to longitudinal study and clinical follow-up. There is some evidence that it is useful for English speakers outside North America (e.g., Haitana, et al., 2010) Availability of two alternate forms allows more frequent reassessment. Previous versions of the PPVT have been translated into a variety of languages.
Advantages: The response format allows examinees to respond by voicing a letter choice (ABC or D) or by pointing to a response on a page. This allows for flexibility in use in individuals who may have language or motor impairment. Verbal and motor output is minimized to limit fatigue. This is a relatively brief measure and is well correlated with verbal IQ making it a useful brief proxy for IQ in lengthier testing batteries.
Limitations: Age equivalent scores show a sizable floor effect in younger children and may therefore not be useful for research purposes, though raw and standard scores appear to be more robust (Sullivan et al., 2014)
Technical Report: Pearson Clinical Website.  
PPVT is one of the most widely used instruments in research. For 41-page bibliography of studies using PPVT (1961-March 2008), see: Pearson Clinical Website
Key References:  
Dunn L & Dunn, D. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Examiner's Manual (Fourth ed.) [Internet]. Pearson Assessments. 2007 [cited 2016 June 20]. Available from:
Dunn L, Lugo D, Padilla E, Dunn L. Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody (TVIP) [Internet]. Pearson Assessments. 1986 [cited 2016 June 20]. Available from:
Haitana T, Pitama S, Rucklidge JJ. Cultural biases in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III: Testing Tamariki in a New Zealand Sample. N Z J Psychol. 2010;39(3):24-34.
Sullivan JR, Winter SM, Sass DA, Svenkerud N. Assessing growth in young children: A comparison of raw, age-equivalent, and standard scores using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. J Res Child Educ. 2014;28(2):277-91.
Cerebral Palsy:
Olrick JT, Pianta RC, Marvin RS. Mothers' and fathers' responses to signals of children with cerebral palsy during feeding. J Develop Phys Disab. 2002;14(1):1-7.
Document last updated March 2024