Cognitive assessment leaps into the digital age

Cognitive assessment enters the digital age

The ability to administer IQ and other cognitive tests digitally introduces numerous benefits to both the clinician and the student taking the assessment. First and foremost, administering the assessment digitally frees the clinician to focus more on how the child is performing, rather than the minutiae and mechanics of test administration.

It also allows tremendous flexibility in designing a custom test for a child, including subtests from the WISC or another instrument.  With the system scoring subtests as soon as they are administered, clinicians save time and can immediately note areas of strength and weakness, as well as additional areas to evaluate if necessary.

From the student’s perspective, a test taken digitally is likely to be more precise, with less room for examiner error. The digital format also may be more engaging for many students.

Looking to the future

Administering cognitive assessments in a digital format helps to enhance the overall accuracy of diagnoses, while easily enabling the integration of new knowledge of cognitive processes into the assessments. This has opened the door for future opportunities to develop programs where hypotheses of strengths, weaknesses, possible issues, and diagnoses can be generated through decision tree formats, using a database of information collected through the digital administration of the tests.

The technological advancements being made in the administration and measurement of cognitive assessments will continue to help school psychologists, administrators, and instructors pinpoint the most effective interventions and remediation necessary to address a student’s specific needs.

Dean Delis, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine, where he has been a professor since 1985.  He has authored over 200 publications in the area of cognitive assessment, including 14 cognitive tests that are used nationally by psychologists.  

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