What is OLSAT?
OLSAT or Otis-Lennon School Ability Test is type of aptitude test published by Pearson NNC. This particular test is commonly used across the US to screen the abilities of children from pre-kindergarten up to 18 years of age, in terms of their reasoning skills and abstract thinking abilities.
Originally developed in 1918, OLSAT today has 7 test levels from kindergarten up to high school or grade 12. Several test levels are provided by OLSAT to ensure that the progress of a particular child is marked year after year. It also is an inexpensive way of assessing those with gifted mental abilities, especially during the early years of childhood.
The OLSAT is administered in groups, except for the pre-kindergarten test, and involves multiple choice questions on a paper-based exam. Overall, the test is able to measure a child’s verbal, spatial, and quantitative reasoning abilities. Level A is the first OLSAT level and is intended for children up to kindergarten. Depending on the age of the child, he/she may not be required to complete all 60 questions of this particular level test. Scores for this level are compared with other children who took the test in “3-month bands”. Meaning the scores of those born on the first three months (first quarter) of the year will be compared with the scores of those born on the second quarter.
OLSAT levels goes up to Level G for Grade 9-12 kids. Included in all levels are verbal and non-verbal items featured in 21 subtests, which are also divided in five areas namely verbal reasoning, verbal comprehension, figural reasoning, pictorial reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.
Since OLSAT is an accessible and inexpensive test for most people, many have chosen this test to measure learning and/or reasoning abilities. But the test’s popularity also got some criticisms along the way. Some people argue that this test is not really accurate especially on the higher levels, making the scores doubtful and less reliable. Others also criticize the multiple-choice format, especially on younger children, since it may involve more guessing rather than individual thinking.