Cognitive Ability Testing

Posted in Human Resource Terms, Total Reads: 5070

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


Hence, this concludes the definition of Cognitive Ability Testing along with its overview.


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