The longitudinal changes occurring between the ages of 4 and 24 years in the Wits appraisal and its component parts were evaluated in 40 persons. Contrary to what may have been believed previously, the Wits appraisal was not found to remain stable throughout the growth period. When the findings of the Wits appraisal were studied in individual subjects, there was a wide range of variation. Real changes in the Wits appraisal were found to be disguised clinically by the differential sagittal growth of pogonion in relation to B point, especially in male subjects. Furthermore, the appraisal was found to be affected profoundly by changes occurring in the angulation of the occlusal plane. It was concluded that if the Wits appraisal is to be used, it should be used in conjunction with other methods of assessment of apical base discrepancies and with due regard for the likely effects of changes in its component parts.