Diseases & Conditions


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Ability test


Tests of ability, such as intelligence tests, measure an individual’s ability to perform a task, manipulate information, or solve problems. Typically, tests of ability are used to assess specific performance abilities or potential for future learning, rather than stored information. Among the most commonly used ability tests are the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, either revised or third edition (WISC-R or WISC-III), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is widely used in college admissions processes, and the Woodcock-Johnson-III cognitive battery, which is commonly used in public school settings to define a baseline of aptitude against which achievement can be measured in determining whether a learning disability is present. Ability tests can be physical or mental. They can test verbal or nonverbal areas, and are also frequently used to assess potential employees for specific tasks. Depending on the nature of the test, a wide spectrum of individuals may be involved in administration. Specific clinical training in psychology is required in order to administer the Wechsler or other intelligence tests, while the Woodcock-Johnson may be administered by school guidance counselors with appropriate training. Standardized tests such as the SAT must be administered in specific contexts according to specific testing procedures, but overseeing such tests requires no formal professional training. Ability tests have particular importance in relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination, especially in the workplace. Ability tests designed to assess mechanical abilities, clerical abilities, and other job-related abilities can prevent equal access. Individuals can request alternative assessment of their abilities if they can provide doc-umentation of a disability and they are otherwise qualified for a position.