WJ-IV ACH Test Reference Sheet- Writing Samples

Domain: Writing

Contributes to the Following Clusters:

Written Language

Broad Written Language

Written Expression

Academic Applications

Broad Achievement

Skills Assessed: Writing responses to a variety of demands

Examinee Demands:

The examinee is required to write sentences that are evaluated for their quality of expression.

Administration Guidelines:


Test Easel (Test Item Book + Test Binder)

Student Response Booklet

Pencil with an eraser

Start Point-

Select a starting point based on the examinee’s estimated achievement level.

Writing Samples requires the examinee to administer items specific to the selected start point. 

Examiners should not administer the entire test/ all items.


Description automatically generated

General Administration- 

Once the examiner has identified the appropriate start point, they must administer all items in the selected block.

They may tell the examinee any printed word in an item that the examinee requests.

The examiner should not tell the examinee how to spell any words.

The examiner can repeat instructions for any item if needed.

If the examinee’s handwriting is illegible, the examine can ask them to write more neatly.




The examiner can determine if additional items are required by referring to the Scoring Table on their Test Record Form:

If the raw score for an item block falls within one of the shaded areas, the examiner should refer to the Adjusted Item Block table.

A picture containing text, receipt

Description automatically generated

Adjusted Item Block:

Additional items are only administered in instances where examinees perform very poorly or very well in an item set. To determine what additional items to administer, the examiner must first identify the number associated with the shaded area on the scoring table (1-7). They then must locate that number row in the adjusted item block table.


What if my examinee's score falls outside of the shaded areas, do I still follow the adjusted item block rule?

In this case, the examiner would need to use clinical judgment. If the scores on a block fall below the shaded area, and they feel the examinee would not do well moving on to one of the adjusted Item Blocks, they can certainly stop and use the score from the administered block. However, if the examiner feels they can press on, based on their performance, you are also free to administer additional items. The goal is to give the examinee the best chance at demonstrating their skills, without taxing them too much and impacting their level of focus, concentration and motivation for the rest of the test. So administering more is certainly acceptable, only if the examiner truly feels the examinee can handle the next block of items


It is recommended that the Examiner use the Writing Samples Scoring Guide located in the Examiner’s Manual to score Writing Samples. The Guide provides complete scoring instructions, criteria, and examples.


The Examiner’s Manual contains scoring guides for all three forms of the WJ IV ACH. 

A picture containing background pattern

Description automatically generated


Examiners are not to penalize the examinee for punctuation, capitalization, spelling, or usage errors unless otherwise indicated in the Writing Samples Scoring Guide.

Do not penalize the subject for poor handwriting unless the response is illegible.

*Note: The best estimate of an examinee’s writing skill is obtained when their score falls somewhere in the middle of the score range. If the examinee’s score on the block of items administered falls within one of the shaded areas on the Writing Samples Scoring Table (noted above), refer to the Adjusted Item Block Chart to determine which additional items to administer, and which items to base the examinee’s raw score on.


Two Raters:

Whenever possible, the most desirable procedure for scoring Writing Samples is to have two individuals score the test. After independent scoring, the two individuals should resolve any score differences of more than one point. Average the two Number Correct scores to obtain the final Number Correct. This procedure is incredibly helpful for examiners who are just learning to score this test. After practice and experience with scoring, two raters are typically no longer needed.


Scoring via Riverside Score

After confirming your scoring is accurate, you can input your data into Riverside Score.

The left-most box is where users should input the total number correct (total raw score) for the item block the score is based on.

The middle box should include the letter associated with the item block.

The right-most box is where users can input optional qualitative data based on the “Qualitative Observation” checklist on the Test Record for the Writing Samples Test.

*Note that for ALL fields in Riverside Score, when users click into a box, a “Directions” popup in green appears: