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From Paper to Tablet: The Digital Adaptation of the Woodcock-Johnson IV

Riverside Insights
Written By Riverside Insights
On Apr 5, 2023
3 minute read

Psychological assessment batteries have typically been administered in-person, using a variety of paper booklets and CDs. Recently, a digital adaptation of the WJ IV has been developed to replace the physical kit. Many are excited about this transformation, as it is the first of its kind. With design features carefully integrated into the assessment content to enhance user experience, this change brings hope to future digital adaptations.

What is the Woodcock-Johnson IV (WJ IV)?

The Woodcock-Johnson IV is a comprehensive assessment system used to measure cognitive abilities and achievement. The test provides a thorough evaluation of students’ academic abilities. Administered to both children and adults, the WJ IV is widely used among psychoeducational assessments, making it essential for special education purposes.

What’s New with the WJ IV?

The screening process is going digital, reducing the materials to merely a tablet and a laptop. With this change, practitioners no longer need to carry multiple rolling bags filled with paper booklets and CDs. By utilizing the digital adaptation, much of the process is automated to make the assessment quicker and more accessible, while simultaneously improving assessment reliability and validity. The key features of this version will open the door to a whole host of new and exciting possibilities.

What Can the Examiner Expect During the Digital Process?

“It’s going to be 100% standardized across examiners, which was a big problem when I used to go and observe people. Even an experienced psychologist would kind of drift from instructions and use their own on those learning tests, and you can’t do that, so the test administration is going to be a lot more streamlined.” – Kevin McGrew, PhD

A Valid and Reliable Assessment

  • The Examiner no longer needs to keep track of progress manually since the test will automatically end when the Examinee reaches a ceiling
  • The exam provides a score automatically or the option to flag the response for later reexamination
  • The starting point for the next point is suggested based on the Examinee’s age or grade

An Examiner’s Comprehensive Understanding of the Examinee

  • The Examiner can provide qualitative observations at the end of the assessment to supplement the responses
  • They can easily navigate test items through automatic error feedback
  • The Examiner can view and control the Examinee’s screen without having to lean and reach over

Why Should I Go Digital?

With the WJ IV going digital, there are many advantages that will ease and enhance the entire process. Most notably, a lot of the assessment is automated, leading to quicker navigation and fewer errors which allow for more validity and reliability to their results. There is no longer the need to manually collect all the data, select the order of steps, and keep track of progress. In addition, other advantages include:

  • Introductory video and audio that make the process consistent and effortless
  • No more page limits so more constructs can be measured

“In terms of administration, we no longer have to save valuable page real estate and have much more room to include more expansive item keys.” – Erica LaForte, PhD


  • Ability to record spoken responses for later listening if something is missed
  • A more engaging platform for Examinees

“Thinking about the examinee engagement, you’ve got kids that now get to touch and tap on the iPad. This is what this generation does, and what they know. They get to feel like they’re very engaged.” – Erica LaForte, PhD


  • Potential for more customized referrals


Ultimately, the digital transformation of the WJ IV highlights the endless possibilities of digital testing. The platform provides the same information, if not more, without hindering the interaction between the Examiner, the Examinee, and the assessment. With so many important features, the innovative WJ IV digital platform unlocks the potential of every learner.


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