Cognitive Ability Testing

Posted in Human Resource Terms, Total Reads: 4666

Definition: Cognitive Ability Testing

Cognitive ability testing is a common selection method used to test the knowledge & capabilities of a person. The process is done through a Cognitive ability test (CogAT or CAT) which is characterized to measure the level of aptitude that determines a person’s ability to learn. Cognitive ability tests include measures of verbal, mathematical, memory & reasoning abilities.

It is one of the most effective predictor of job performance across job types. Though it is a widely agreed and followed technique some controversy also looms regarding the use of this method. In some companies, this test is used as the sole basis to hire a person. This paves way for discrimination as there are certain low scoring ethnic groups.

Advantages of Cognitive Ability Test

• verbal reasoning sections and numerical tests sections have shown large validity for numerous number of jobs

• As the job complexity increases, so does the validity

• When many applicants are to be tested ,in that case it can be administered in group settings

• scoring of the tests can be completed by computer scanning equipment

• lower cost than personality tests

• highly reliable

Disadvantages of Cognitive Ability Test

• often, non-minorities score one standard deviation higher than minorities thus leading to adverse impact depending on how the scores are used in the selection process

• ability differences between male and female differences (e.g., knowledge of mathematics) may negatively impact the scores of female applicants


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