A brief description of WJ IV Tests of Oral Language Subtest

Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Editorial Team

WJ-IV tests of achievement are useful for checking the reading, writing, calculation, reasoning, and overall cognitive abilities of a person. The tests are classified into various batteries that help determine some specific portions of language or reasoning proficiency. Accordingly, these are named WJ-IV tests of achievement for testing cognitive flexibility, cluster tests for language skills, and others. Among these specialized tests also come WJ-IV tests of oral language subtests that actually help find the proficiency of a person in expressive language.

What is an oral language proficiency subtest?

Oral language proficiency means different for people belonging to different age groups [1]. When you are given these oral language subtests as a preschooler, you are expected to show ease in pronouncing letters and sight words. And, if you are a middle schooler, proficiency is determined by sentence reading fluency, paragraph reading ability, and prosody. Apart from reading and speaking the words out, the oratory skills are also checked when a grown-up is giving this test; it means, some of the tests may expect you to make an impromptu speech on any topic. Let’s go through brief descriptions of all types of subtests used for checking oral language skills.

WJ-IV oral language subtests’ brief description

WJ-IV tests of oral language constitute a battery of tests[2], that includes:

  • Picture Vocabulary: How easily and correctly the person can identify and name or explain the picture is determined in this test. The oral language proficiency clusters like broad oral language, expression, and vocabulary knowledge, or lack of it, are the parameters on which the assessee is tested.
  • Oral Comprehension: The proficiency checker speaks something and the assessee is supposed to repeat or comprehend the meaning or expression of what has been spoken. It utilizes, and therefore, checks the listening abilities of the person, apart from determining oral language proficiency.
  • Segmentation: In this test, the assessee’s capability to break the word into phonemes, or sentences into words, is checked. The test comprises checking a person’s phonetic coding ability.
  • Rapid picture naming: A number of pictures are shown to the assessee one by one and asked to name those. Understanding the picture and retrieving its topic or name is expected from the assessee. This test determines the speed of lexical retrieval from the mind, hence, checks memory recall too.
  • Sentence repetition: A sentence is spoken to the person taking WJ-IV tests of oral language in this subtest. The ease and correctness with which the assessee repeats the sentence let the checker know about the person’s ability to comprehend, retrieve, and express orally.
  • Directions Comprehension: The participant is given a set of directions. He then repeats back the directions given to him. This subtest tells about the reasoning ability of a person in addition to determining his or her listening comprehension ability, direction comprehending ability, and memory recalling status.
  • Retrieval fluency: Any word, sentence, or name is spoken to the person taking the oral language subtests. Then, he retrieves the information and tries to speak back in the same sequence as given. Memory recall, listening comprehension, and oral expression ability can be found out with this subtest.

To sum up,

Only knowing things does not hold much meaning if you cannot express them in a fluent or meaningful way. WJ-IV tests of oral language subtests help check the expression proficiency on the minutest parameters like comprehension, retrieval, expression, repetition, etc. Thus, low scores on any of these grounds help determine the kind of learning difficulty that a person is facing; it helps design teaching programs according to that.


  1. Speech and Language Developmental Milestones Study, National Institute of Health, USA.
  2. Villarreal, Victor. (2015). Test Review: Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. 33. 10.1177/0734282915569447.

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