Relationships Between Group Administered Ability Tests and Individual Academic Achievement



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Around six percent of students in the United States receive some sort of gifted educational programming. School must think about how giftedness is defined and measured in order to make decisions regarding which students receive such programming (Pfeiffer, 2015). Ability testing remains one of the most common identification practices in schools (McClain & Pfeiffer, 2012) . This is because ability tests are thought to be a measure of academic potential (Chapmann, 1988). Consistent relationships exist between individually-administered ability tests and academic achievement (Caemmerer, Maddocks, Keith, & Reynolds, 2018; Deary, Strand, Smith & Fernandes, 2007; Kaufman, Reynolds, Liu, Kaufman & McGrew, 2012). Group-administered ability tests provide an efficient, cost-effective, alternative to traditional intelligence tests when assessing students for gifted programming (Cao, Jung, & Lee, 2017). However, research associating group-ability tests and academic achievement tests is limited, and their ability to measure students’ academic potential has not fully been explored. This study targeted this gap in literature by exploring ability–achievement relationships between two commonly administered group-ability tests, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) (Lohman, 2012) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) (Naglieri, 2018), and individual academic achievement in Reading and Mathematics as measured by performance on the Weschler Individual Achievement Test, Third Edition (WIAT-III) (Weschler, 2009). This study in Seventy-five second-eighth grade students who had received group-ability testing through their local schools or a university training clinic received follow-up educational testing with the WIAT-III. Using regression analysis, this study found that both the NNAT and the CogAT relate to academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Furthermore, the three distinct batteries of the CogAT (Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal) were found to differentially relate to reading and mathematics achievement. The findings from this study provide support for the use of these group-administered ability tests as a measure of academic potential which may be useful in the identification of students eligible for gifted programming. Schools should consider these findings, amongst other student characteristics, when making educational placement decisions based upon students’ performance on these group-administered assessments.