What is a Cognitive Ability Test?

Have you ever wondered what a cognitive ability test is? This short video with Jen Garrow explains cognitive ability and why it can have such a positive impact for organizations and schools.

Hi there! My name is Jen and I’m the Consulting Services Manager here at Wonderlic. Today I’m going to discuss one of the most important attributes that’s known to influence and predict human performance - Cognitive Ability.

Cognitive ability goes by many names, including IQ, “G” or general intelligence, reasoning, or more simply, being smart.  It’s a person’s capability to learn, adapt, solve problems and understand instructions.

This ability is important because learning, adapting, and understanding is required in nearly all aspects of a person’s life, from early education through retirement.  More cognitive ability means having more effectiveness and efficiency in these areas and ultimately a greater likelihood of success.

Given this importance, cognitive abilities tests were the first to be developed and ever since have been the most researched type of test.   As a result of this research, it’s now known that cognitive ability can be accurately measured through the presentation of a variety of kinds of question at varying degrees of difficulty.   Questions often include math, language, analogies, and spatial problems.

Also as a result of this research, it’s been shown that cognitive abilities tests are the best predictors by having the highest correlations to job and educational performance.  The tests provide objective information about the examinees that’s not easily measured in other selection methods like interviews, reference checks, background checks, and self reports of school or job experience.  The good news is, that because the tests are measuring something unique, they provide incremental predictive value.  Used in conjunction with interviews and other assessments, the combined information can provide a more holistic perspective of a person’s ability to perform.

Using cognitive abilities tests as an employment selection tool can result in gains of millions of dollars to organizations.  Employees with higher scores have been shown to be more productive and require less training.  On the other hand, millions can be lost by not using cognitive abilities tests or using tests with low validity.  Low performing individuals create a financial burden for employers with more on-the-job errors, poorer customer service, and higher incidence of both voluntary and involuntary turnover.

For example, in a recent study we conducted, the use of our cognitive ability test provided an estimated annual savings of more than two million dollars in training costs.  Further, when analyzing sales performance, the organization will gain, on average, more than six hundred thousand dollars in sales revenue per hire in the first six-months of employment from those who met or exceeded the recommended selection score.

I want to thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. I hope you’ve found this video informative. Be sure to visit our blog for more videos and helpful articles, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and information on workplace and human resource issues, student achievement, and more!

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