Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test: What Is It & How Does it Work?

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Are you a parent wondering what the NNAT test is used for? Are you looking for options surrounding the best NNAT test prep materials? These are two excellent questions and two questions that we will help you answer as you read.

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test is often considered an IQ test. However, it is not. That is because there is no verbal section of the exam. The test can only measure a person’s nonverbal abilities. With that in mind, you may question how the test is administered. We will be able to help you answer those as well.

Keep reading to find some of the most asked information about NNAT and even NNAT test scores.

What is the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test?What is the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test?

Your most obvious question is likely what is the NNAT test? Well, the NNAT is used to determine if a child is gifted. Institutions often use it to determine if a student has the aptitude to participate in various courses, programs, or activities reserved for the school’s top talent. This may mean something is traditional as a student taking honors courses instead of Advanced Placement courses.

The NNAT aims to measure how a child thinks. Different scores will mean different things depending on your child’s school district. The test is intended for students in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. The exam uses shapes and symbols to determine a child’s level of reasoning and problem-solving abilities without using their verbal skills. The test also only uses two colors.

There are three different types of NNAT exams. These include NNAT, NNAT-2, and NNAT3. Gifted programs and schools use these exams as screening tools. This is a highly coveted exam and often provides what may consider “unbiased scoring.”

What Does the Naglieri Test Measure?

What Does the Naglieri Test Measure?

Since there are three different types of NNAT exams, you may wonder what their differences are. All three exams boast the same question types; however, they are updated versions of one another. None of the exam’s content was changed between the first versions of the exam and the NNAT-2 version. However, there was an update to the age groups the exam would cover, causing a subsequent change to the norm tables. The test expanded with two new levels being created, Level A & Level G.  Level G is intended for 18-year-olds and Level A for 4-year-olds.

In a continued pattern, there is not much change between the NNAT-2 and NNAT-3 versions. Similarly, the scoring norms and the ability to offer more advanced administration options were updated.

The test aims to measure how your child handles things that are new to them.

The NNAT exam features 4 question types that all measure a student’s learning ability. The test requires a child to rely strictly on their problem-solving skills. This is being done without the use of speaking, reading, or even writing. This exam allows the student to be measured for their intellectual ability regardless of language or cultural barriers.

Many people often compare the NNAT exam to the CogAT. However, the CogAT exam measures verbal ability and is longer than the NNAT. The CogAT places a more significant focus on quantitative reasoning. It also does not require English to be a student’s primary language.

What are the Benefits of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test?

What are the Benefits of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test?

One of the main benefits of the NNAT is that it is nonverbal. This allows everyone to be on a level playing ground. No student has any nonintellectual advantage. Regardless if a student can’t speak the native language of an area, this exam allows educators to see true intellect.

The exam is also highly beneficial for identifying students who may be gifted, but you are unable to tell by their work in class.

How is Naglieri's Nonverbal Ability Test Administered?

How is Naglieri’s Nonverbal Ability Test Administered?

There are two versions of the NNAT exam. These versions have two different administration types, individual and group. Pearson administers an individual version of the examination which can last roughly 30 minutes. Individual exams are typically administered via paper and pencil. The scoring is also manual. This version of the exam can contain up to 72 items.

The exams, typically the NNAT-2 and NNAT-3, are administered in a group setting. This can be done manually or online. Regardless of how the test is issued, the content remains the same.

There are four different question types present on the exam. These include:

  • Spatial visualization
  • Serial reasoning
  • Pattern completion
  • Reasoning by analogy

Students are allotted 30 minutes answer to answer 48 questions.

Though the test is short and aims to measure the child’s thinking, they should still prepare for it. Preparation can mean many different things. Some parents go above and beyond by buying the best NNAT test prep materials. Though you probably do not need to go out and spend thousands on test prep materials, exposing your child to the test format would be beneficial.

There are several books you can find on amazon or potentially at your child’s school that will expose them to the exam and even provide practice tests. This can also help them to prepare for the time limit and help them to process information faster. These resources are highly ranked for parents looking to prepare their children for the NNAT exams.

  • Gifted and Talented NNAT Test Prep by the Gateway Gifted Resources – this text contain three complete practice exams and 150 practice questions. The text even gives parents a brief introduction to understand how to help their child. Many parents were thrilled to find a text illustrated in color because it helped hold the child’s attention.
  • Mercer Publishing has also developed a study kit to help students prepare for the exam. This kit contains practice exams in both colors and black and white. It even comes with a timer so students can prepare for what is to come. Mercer believes that because some schools emphasize the NNAT exam’s outcome to direct your child’s educational path, all students should be adequately prepared.
  • If you aren’t ready to commit to a guide, several websites offer small samples of material that your student can use to study from. This often includes sample questions from the different test levels. There are also online videos that provide tips on getting the best NNAT test scores.

NNA Test Scores and What They Mean

NNA Test Scores and What They Mean

Random guessing or guessing out of panic takes the legitimacy out of scores. However, for the benefit of the child, they can guess. Students are not penalized for getting answers incorrectly. The NNAT test scores are calculated based on the number of questions answered correctly. It is better for the potential of students’ scores for them to guess than to leave an answer blank.

The NNAT exam is scored based on the test taker’s age. Kids are only compared to other children within three months of their chronological age. This is often why you see months added to the grade cutoff for specific exams.

The exams are divided into levels. Each level is meant for a different grade though all questions have the same format. Serial reasonings and spatial visualization are not questions on which kindergarten students will be tested. Serial reasoning is added in first grade, and spatial visualization is added in 2nd grade when students begin to take the level C exam. All categories are tested henceforth.

The 4 question types are all divided into different subtypes.

  • Reasoning by analogy – This section utilizes geometric shapes to help students determine the relationships between them. For example, questions may be asked about how a large square would relate to a small square, or a square relates to a triangle.
  • Spatial Visualization – This category asks students to identify how different designs look when turned or combined. This section also contains questions about paper folding and identifying the next object.
  • Pattern Completion – Within this section, students work to identify the missing pieces in a pattern or puzzle. A child must distinguish the missing section.
  • Serial Reasoning – In this area, students are asked to recognize patterns created by shapes and figures.

NNAT Scoring

NNAT Scoring

It takes several steps to obtain the score used on the NNAT exam. The formula shown below can be used to illustrate how scoring is completed.

Raw score = number of questions correctly answered divided by the number of questions on the exam (# correct/ 48)

The Raw Score is then used to calculate the Normalized Score, the Nonverbal Ability Index (NAI). This score relates to children of the same age range, not children attempting the same test level.   The highest score that a student can receive is 160. This is computed using the average NAI score (100) and a standard deviation value of 16.

This score is based on students of the same age group. Once this score is achieved, the percentile rank is then calculated. For example, if your child has a percentile rank of 10%, they scored below average. This means they scored only as well as or greater than 10% of the students in their age group.

Parents will often receive a graph with their child’s scores. This table will show the score distribution concerning the percentile rank.

If you are seeking eligibility into a specific school, it is essential to check to see the average scores or the score range of admitted students. Students who generally qualify for gifted programs perform above or at the 92nd percentile. Usually, kids can begin requesting evaluations at the 85th percentile.

However, some schools may not use the score provided by the exam. They may take that score and perform conversions of their own. Some schools do this to create their point systems. You will need to check with your area’s school district for scoring similar to this. Specific Naglieri nonverbal ability test scoring stipulations for enrollment will also depend on the school or program your child is aiming for. While some schools may take students in lower percentiles, others may want children at the 96th percentile and above.

Wrapping Things Up: Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test: What Is It & How Does it Work?

The NNAT exam or the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test measures a child’s intellect without using reading, writing, or verbal speech. Children are placed on a level playing field and can answer questions regardless of language barriers or cultural backgrounds. This highly respected exam can be administered manually alone or within a group. The test has been adapted to later versions to be taken online.

The NNAT is a difficult exam administered to students beginning in kindergarten. Schools, gifted programs, and supplemental institutions often use the exam to determine if a student is gifted. Questions are centered around four categories. These include pattern completion, serial reasoning, spatial visualization, and reasoning by analogy.

Several resources are available to help your child be prepared to do the best they can. Happy testing!

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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