News

Cognitive assessment leaps into the digital age

By Dean Delis
October 31st, 2014

Digitized cognitive assessments can enhance diagnostic accuracy, while enabling the integration of new knowledge of cognitive processes into assessments

cognitive-assessment-digitalCognitive ability tests, including those assessing intelligence, have long played a pivotal role in measuring normal and abnormal cognitive development in children.

Used in conjunction with other data, cognitive testing is a valuable method for gathering reliable information about a child’s learning ability and cognitive strengths and weaknesses. This testing also is used to determine how these factors can potentially influence a child’s academic progress. School psychologists, in conjunction with educators, use information from cognitive assessments to help create personalized learning plans for students in need of remediation.

Thanks to recent technological advancements, today’s cognitive assessments provide on-the-fly data that help determine whether a student’s academic progress is matching his or her ability level. This information, when considered along with other factors such as attention and motivation, can help educators develop appropriate learning plans for a student and advocate for individualized support based on specific needs.

Evolution of cognitive assessment

While there are several cognitive assessments commonly used in schools today, among the most trusted are the Wechsler Scales, one of which is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® (WISC). Originally devised in the 1949, the WISC has long been heralded for its ability to identify areas of cognitive strength and weakness in school-aged children and is considered by many to be the world’s foremost cognitive assessment.

Over the years, the tests we use to measure cognitive ability have evolved. A greater understanding of cognitive development and processes has enabled the development of subtests that help us measure specific cognitive functions. Additionally, scoring efficiency and accuracy have improved. In the past year, however, cognitive and other well-known assessments have advanced at a rate we have not seen to date, culminating in a digital version of the WISC–V that uses tablets to administer and score the test

(Next page: The benefits of digital cognitive assessments)