GT-World Testing FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about... Testing Our Gifted Children

Note: the information contained in this FAQ is not intendedto be professional psychological advice, in fact this FAQ was compiled andwritten by a software engineer. It is a summary of information gatheredby parents, for parents, of gifted children.

Specific Test Information

This is be no means an exhaustive list of tests, but only those our membershave encountered. Information provided here is gleaned from our experienceand research. For more detailed and accurate information on a specific test,visit the ERIC/AE Test Locator and enter the test name, or visit your local library's reference department and review the "BurosMental Measurements Yearbook" for that test. Descriptions of scoring terms included at the end of this page. USState standardized achievement tests are listed separately.

Achievement and Intelligence Tests (listed alphabetically)

Group achievement test. Often used by colleges west of the Mississippi River in place of the SAT's. Covers more subjects than the SAT's.
CAT - California Achievement Test
Group achievement test.
Cogat - Cognitive Abilities Test
Group achievement test, administered in various elementary grades. Consists of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal batteries. Results are reported in grade equivilant and age equivilant scores, and shown as national percentiles, national stanines, and standard scores based on age. Ceiling of the test is 150 on all sections.
CTBS - Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills
Group achievement test.
DAP - Draw-A-Person
Developmental test. The main focus of this test is to see how detailed the child's drawings are.
DCAT - Developing Cognitive Abilities Test
Measures learning characteristics and abilities that contribute to academic performance. Measures ability in three content areas; verbal, quantitative, and spatial. Available in eight levels, for grades 1 - 12.
Developmental test. Results include raw, age and standard scores in three areas. Raw score ceiling is 31 in each area, 93 for the test. Age scores are shown by circles in each of three columns, indicating approximate age 4, 5 or 6. Standard score ceiling is approximately 135, leaving little room for gifted identification.
Developmental test. Offers results of either at age-appropriate developmental level, or below age-appropriate developmental level.
ITBS - Iowa Test of Basic Skills
Group achievement test, often offered by home school associations.
KABC - Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
Individual ability test. Ages 2-6 to 12-6, 16 subtests in 3 scales: Sequential Processing, Simultaneous Processing Scale, Achievement Scale. Global scale scores reported in standard scores (M = 100, SD = 15), percentile ranks, sociocultural percentile ranks, and age equivalents; other scales vary (SD=3 on Mental Processing subtests).
K-BIT - Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test
Individual intelligence test. Brief measure of the verbal and nonverbal intelligence of individuals from 4 to 90. Two subtests: Vocabulary (verbal, crystallized), Matrices (nonverbal, fluid), IQ composite: Standard Scores (M=100, SD=15) and percentile ranks by age.
K-TEA - Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement
Individual achievement test. Ceiling = 8th grade level.
Developmental test. Brief measure of children's language skills (expressive and receptive vocabulary), pre-academic skills, and articulation, ages 3-0 to 6-11. Three subtests: Vocabulary; Numbers, Letters & Words; and Articulation Survey (reported in four scales, Numbers and Letters & Words are reported seperately).
Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement - KTEA
Individual achievement test. Individually administered diagnostic battery that measures reading, mathematics, and spelling skills. Brief and comprehensive forms available. Grades 1-12. Results provided in Age- and grade-based standard scores (M = 100, SD = 15), grade equivalents, percentile ranks, normal curve equivalents (NCEs), and stanines. Ceiling of the test is 160.
Group achievement test.
OLMAT - Otis Lennon Mental Abilities Test
Group IQ/Achievement test.
OLSAT - Otis Lennon Scholastic Abilities Test
Group achievement test, ceiling 150, replaced OLMAT.
PIAT-R - Peabody Individual Achievement Test
Individual achievement test. Grades K - 12. Standard score ceiling on the older PIAT was 135, newer PIAT-R possibly has higher ceiling score.
PPVT - Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
Developmental test. The PPVT is a receptive vocabulary test, where the child is asked to pictures representing their response.
Ravens Progressive Matrices
Achievement test, graphical. This test is used for preliminary analysis of potentially gifted students, particularly those who do not speak English, or have a learning difference in reading / writing English.
Acheivement test. Assesses knowledge acquisition, vocabulary, and reasoning. The SAGES-P is usually given to 5-7 year olds, while the SAGES can go up the age of 12.
SAT - Stanford Achievement Test
Group achievement tests. [Don't confuse this test with the SAT / SAT-I / SAT-II for high school students].
Group achievement test. College entry exams, sometimes taken by gifted students as early as 7th grade as an indicator of outstanding achievement. The SAT was replaced in the 1980's by the SAT-I, a similar test re-normed for higher scores. The SAT-II's are individual subject acheivement tests.
SB-IV - Stanford-Binet 4th edition
SB-LM - Stanford-Binet form LM - a.k.a the "Old Binet"
Individual intelligence test. Both versions are designed for ages 2 to adult. The newer version, normed more recently, has a ceiling of approximately 160+. The older LM version, normed most recently in 1972, also has a ceiling of 160+, however it allows for calculated 'ratio scores' well above that level, for children below a certain age. By about age 11 or 12 for gifted children, there is no ceiling advantage to the SB-LM over the more current SB-IV; this ceiling effect can start as young as 7 or 8 for profoundly gifted children. The L-M form offers only a single full scale score, rather than the variety of sub-test scores available with the 4th edition or the Weschler tests. For more information on testing highly gifted children using the Stanford-Binet form LM, read Silverman and Kearney's 1992 article "Don't Throw Away the Old Binet"
SIT - Slosson Intelligence Test
Short (about 20 minutes) individual intelligence test, often used as a screening tool, can be administered by teachers. The Slosson has mental age calculations, for students who reach the test ceiling. It shows high correlation with the Stanford Binet form LM. The Slossen is often considered a "Quick and dirty" IQ test.
S-FRIT - Slosson Full-Range Intelligence Test
Short individual intelligence test, administered verbally. This test is often used as an indicator, with the WISC or Stanford Binet used to give further detail. The ceiling of this test is 164. The Slossen is considered a 'quick and dirty' IQ test, although it has a surprisingly high correlation to the Stanford Binet scores. See Slosson Intelligence Test (SIT) and its 'next page' for more information.
Group achievement test. Student result sheet may include national and local percentiles for math, reading and language tests, plus percentiles and estimate of error for the specific student.
From their FAQ's: "We developed the OPI as an alternative to reporting percent-correct raw scores." The Terra Nova reports OPI instead of raw scores for each objective; a child may get all questions right, but this information is not provided in the report.
"A perfect score may not be an accurate measure of a student's true level of achievement. It is likely that a higher level of the test, one with a higher ceiling, would provide a better picture of the student's true achievement level. For this reason, CTB and other agencies advocate use of testing with those students who fall outside the normal range of the test within the achievement range at which the student is functioning." See Frequently Asked Questions for more detailed information.
TOMA - Test of Mathematical Ability (ages 8-18) (also TOMAG - K-1 version, TOMA-2)
TOMA is used to identify students who are significantly below or above their age peers in their mathematical abilities. In addition to story problems and computations, it also provides standardized information about abilities, vocabulary, and general cultural applications of mathematical information to assist administrators not only to identify individuals who are weak in math, but also th understand better the nature of those problems.
VMI - Test of Visual Motor Integration
Individual visual / motor development test. Consists of having child duplicate drawn figures. Results include a standard score and percentile score.
WIAT - Weschler Individual Acheivement Test
Individual achievement test. Grades K - 12.
WPPSI-R - Weschler Preschool Primary Scale of Intelligence - Revised (ages 4-7)
WISC-III - Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children - 3rd Edition (ages 6-17)
More detailed Information on the WISC.
WAIS-R - Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (ages 16 and up)
Weschler tests are individually administered IQ tests. The tests consists of 10 sub-tests, divided into two groups: verbal and performance. Results consist of standard scores for the verbal and performance sections, and a standard full scale score. You should review the individual sub-test scores, as these can show strengths and weaknesses, reveal a learning difference, or show that the ceiling potentially influenced the score.

Ceiling on performance and verbal scales is 155, full scale ceiling is 160, however ceiling effects may be seen in scores as low as 130, and nearly any score over 145.

The WISC-III has time bonus points (even more than the WISC-R), which can be time penalties for some children, particularly those who take their time and think through answers completely before responding, or those with fine motor skill delays.

WJ - Woodcock Johnson
Individual achievement test. Consists of a number of subject area sub-tests, including math and reading sub-tests, science, humanities, etc. Often only a subset of the subtests are administered. Preschool through college level, standard score ceiling is 200. Most recommended for gifted middle school and highly gifted elementary students, due to higher college level (16th grade) ceiling, compared to other acheivement tests 12th grade ceiling.
WRAT - Wide Range Achievement Test
Individual achievement test. Short screening test, doesn't have all the subtests of other individual achievement tests (PIAT, WIAT, WJ).

US State standardized achievement tests

HSTP - Michigan High School Proficiency Test
Michigan's HSTP test requires approximately 11 hours of testing in Math, Reading, Science and Writing (Social Studies to be added in 1999-2000). 9th and 10th graders can take this test with the 11th graders at parent request. Students must pass this test to dual-enroll, or take college courses in high school paid for by the high school.
IGAP - Illinois Goals and Assessment Program
Illinois criteria based testing to demonstrate minimal skills for level / graduation
Indiana's state achievement test
MEAP - Michigan Educational Assessment Program
Michigan's state achievement test, given to all 4th through 8th grade students. For more information, visit Michigan Educational Assessment Program. Also see HSPT.
Texas' state achievement test. For more information, visit TEA Student Assessment
TCAP - Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program
The TCAP is given every April beginning in first grade. Scores are used for local and national comparison, to determine a starting point for the Accelerated Reader for each child (in some schools), and to qualify for magnet school admissions.

Scoring terms

Age equivalent score
Less common scoring term, seen most often on individual achievement tests. An average child of the age specified would score the same as your child, had s/he taken the same test.
Grade equivalent score
Similar to age equivalent score. An average child of the grade specified would score about the same as your child, had s/he taken the same test. This does not necessarily mean your child is ready for that grade. If the grade equivalent score is significantly above the current grade on any achievement test, you might consider out-of-level testing to get a better idea of the child's true level. If the unusually high grade equivalent score was received on an individual achievement test, the reference may be more valid. Out of level testing using local curriculum would best determine the appropriate grade level for the child's instruction.
Percent score
The total number of correct answers given, divided by the total number of correct answers possible, then multiplied by 100. Percent is rarely seen as a test result.
Percentiles are not the same as percent correct! Percentile is an age-based or grade-based score indicating the percent of the norm group of students tested who scored less than the student. 85th percentile means only that 85 percent of students tested scored lower than the subject, not that the subject got 85% of the questions correct. Percentile scores are easily correlated to standard or IQ scores: 97th percentile is the same as standard or IQ score of 130 or above. For large populations, percentiles are an easy way to compare one child to his age / grade peers.

Note: a side effect of percentile scoring is that as more and more of the population being tested answer all the questions correctly on the test or any sub-test, the lower their percentile scores will become. This is particularly obvious in a small population sample such as the local percentiles, which may compare your child only to others in the same school and grade. If 15 percent of all 3rd graders in your school got 100 percent of the questions in one sub-test correct, the percentile score for all 15 percent of those students will be the 85th percentile for that sub-test, because 85 percent of the students scored lower than they did (the rest scored exactly the same). It is imperative to review the raw scores in addition to percentile scores if the percentiles seem questionable, or if a ceiling effect is suspected.

Raw score
The actual number of questions answered correctly. Often presented along with the total questions asked. If results of an achievement test do not include the raw scores, ask for them!

A tester can usually look up raw scores in a table, and compare the results based on different age / grade levels.

Standard score
A score calculated to have a mean or standard score of 100, standard deviation of (commonly) 15, such that 95% of the population falls within two standard deviations of the norm, i.e. from 70 - 130 according to the bell curve.
Another representation of the percentile score. Stanines divide the percentiles into 9 divisions, with the 4, 5 and 6th stanine considered average, 7th and 8th stanine considered above average, and 9th stanine considered very much above average. The percentage of test scores in each stanine is as follows:
StaninePercent of
Test Scores
140th - 3rd
274th - 10th
31211th - 22nd
41723rd - 39th
52040th - 59th
61760th - 76th
71277th - 88th
8789th - 95th
9496th +

For more information on tests and testing, visit Understanding Tests and Measurements for the Parent and Advocate. Although writtenfrom an LD (Learning Differences) perspective, this page offers informationand insight into the issues surrounding testing for any reason.


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This page last updated December 2001 by Carolyn K. Please submit all questions and answers directly to Carolyn. Thankyou.
Copyright ©1998-2000 by Carolyn K.
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