Relationships Between Group-administered Ability Tests and Individual Academic Achievement

Elpiniki Marchesini

Advisor: Timothy W Curby, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Ellen Rowe, Tara Chaplin

Democracy Lane (10340 Democracy Lane, Fairfax, VA), #202
April 15, 2020, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


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) . 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 surrounding group-ability tests and academic achievement is limited. This dissertation will target 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 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 support the use of these group-administered ability tests as methods of identification for gifted programming, particularly when gifted programming emphasizes advanced curricular content. Schools should consider these findings when making educational placement decisions based upon students’ performance on these group-administered assessments.