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Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (Guide and Tips)

Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (Guide and Tips)

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The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test is widely used when assessing children for gifted and talented programs. This test is also often utilized alongside IQ tests as part of the admissions process for the best schools in the US.

This article discusses the Naglieri test format and examines a selection of NNAT sample questions. You will also learn about the various Naglieri test levels, how the test is graded and how to best prepare for the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test.

What Is the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test?

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is a standardized test for identifying gifted pupils. It is used for children from Kindergarten to grade 12, assessing their problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Jack A Naglieri developed the Naglieri test in 2004 and has since released two further versions:

  • NNAT-2
  • NNAT-3

The NNAT-3 was released in 2016 and is now the most commonly used Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test.

The main difference between this and the original version is the rollout of new norm data. The NNAT-3 has also enabled children to sit the test online.

The Naglieri test is multiple-choice and is nonverbal, as it uses diagrams instead of words.

This limited use of language helps to remove bias from the process, as excessive words often negatively impact those with learning disabilities and children who speak English as an additional language.

For this reason, the Naglieri test is considered one of the most culturally neutral assessments for children, and is often favored over similar gifted and talented tests.

Interestingly, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test does not measure skills learned in traditional school, such as vocabulary, grammar or conventional mathematics.

Instead, the test focuses on the ability to notice patterns and solve problems to determine whether the child qualifies for gifted and talented opportunities.

What Is the NNAT Test Format?

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test comprises 48 questions, which can be broken down into four distinct categories.

Pattern Completion

The first of the four categories is pattern completion, which aims to test the child's ability to recognize a pattern as part of a much larger design.

There will be a pattern made up of different shapes and colors, with a small section cut out, and the student must correctly identify the missing piece.

Naglieri recommends that students adopt a trial and error methodology here, allowing them to eliminate the other options, leaving only one plausible answer.

As the child progresses through the lessons, the designs become more intricate and detailed, and the answer options will be much more similar.

Example Question

Reasoning by Analogy

This section of the Naglieri test analyses how children can spot subtle relationships.

It consists of a selection of geometric shapes that move in a distinctive pattern.

This is testing the student's logic skills, as the design can incorporate changes in color, direction and shape.

As children progress through the levels, the relationship becomes more subtle, and the design becomes more complex.

Example Question

Serial Reasoning

In this section, students will see a selection of shapes, which change across rows and down columns.

The objective of this test is to spot the pattern, considering the relationship between all of the tiles.

As with all of the Naglieri tests, the patterns become more complex to identify as the child ages.

Example Question

Spatial Visualization

This fourth element of the NNAT test examines how well students can recognize shapes when they have been combined or rotated.

Each question usually has three images in a row, and the child must identify the pattern using the first example.

Example Question

Students may also face slightly more challenging questions here. There will often be an example where the image elements appear outside the frame.

They are then flipped into the tile (as if they are attached to the side of a box), with children expected to recognize the pattern.

Answer All Questions

The official guidelines from the Naglieri publishers state that children should not guess answers that they are unsure of, as this can skew the validity of the scores.

However, students are not marked negatively for incorrect answers; the score is calculated from the correct answers alone. Therefore, students should answer all questions for the best chance of a high score.

Test Levels for the NNAT

There are seven different levels on the NNAT test, administered depending on the child's grade.

As mentioned, there are four different types of questions in the Naglieri test, but not all are covered at every level.

Students must understand which style of question will appear at their level to prepare for the NNAT test thoroughly.

NNAT Level A: Kindergarten

This level only includes questions from the pattern completion and reasoning by analogy categories.

NNAT Level B: Grade 1

Level B contains questions from pattern completion, reasoning by analogy and serial reasoning categories.

NNAT Level C: Grade 2

Level C contains questions from all four categories.

NNAT Level D: Grade 3 and 4

Similarly, Level D also contains questions from all four categories.

NNAT Level E: Grade 5 and 6

Level E follows the last two levels, containing questions from all four categories.

NNAT Level F: Grade 7, 8 and 9

Level F includes questions from reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization.

NNAT Level G: Grade 10, 11 and 12

Level G contains the same question categories as Level F, comprising questions from reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization.

How Is the NNAT Scored?

There are three stages to calculating the score of a Naglieri nonverbal ability test.

It is important to note that the NNAT test has been criticized for having a wide range of score variability. This means that many more children received extremely high or exceptionally low scores compared to many other similar aptitude tests.

Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (Guide and Tips)
Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (Guide and Tips)

The Raw Score

The first element is the raw score, which simply details the number of questions answered correctly. For example, there are 48 questions on the NNAT, so if 30 are responded to correctly, the raw score will read 30/48.

The Naglieri Ability Index (NAI)

Next, the raw score is converted using the Naglieri Ability Index (NAI).

This is an extremely useful tool, as it compares the scores of children in the same age group.

Children are evaluated against others within a three-month age range, but this does not consider the test level taken.

The average score here is 100, with the maximum being 160.

Percentile Rank

Finally, each score is assigned a percentile rank which ranges from 1 to 99. This score is used to compare grades within a national sample of students in the same age range.

For example, if the child's percentile score is 75%, they scored higher than 75% of students tested nationwide.

The scores are then divided into seven categories, ranging from extremely low, borderline, low average and average through to high average, superior and very superior.

Each school district will have different criteria they expect their students to hit to qualify for their gifted and talented programs. This does mean that there are no official scores that qualify as a 'pass' or 'fail'.

Generally, students must be in the 90th percentile or above to qualify for a gifted program.

How to Prepare for NNAT Tests

Step 1. Start Preparations Early

Preparations for the Naglieri test should begin around four months before the exam. Short bursts of revision multiple times per week will be much more productive than hours spent trying to navigate huge amounts of information.

Before starting revision, you should set clear, achievable goals. This will look different for every child, but 15 minutes’ practice, three times per week, is a reasonable place to start.

Step 2. Understand the Format

Understanding the format of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test is equally as important as the content. Especially for younger children, it could be the first time they have experienced an aptitude test of this kind.

Therefore, familiarity with the format of the questions is essential.

Step 3. Take Practice Tests

NNAT practice tests are the best way to prepare for the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. There are a number of online tests, including some free solutions, which allow children to sample a range of questions.

As well as the content, focus on timings. There is no benefit to rushing through the exam and finishing early, so students should be encouraged to use all the available time.

Step 4. Explanations Over Answers

Students must understand why they are choosing a particular answer. Although the NNAT test doesn't require it, the highest achieving students are the ones who can thoroughly explain their reasoning behind choosing a specific answer.

In the preparation stages, focus on discussing why a particular answer is correct, giving the child the most thorough understanding and best chance of success.

Step 5. Keep It Fun

Remember, the students taking these examinations are very young and are not used to such strenuous studying.

Practicing various questions and learning in different ways (a combination of videos, games and books) will help make the process enjoyable.

Encouraging siblings and other family members to join the study practice can also help boost enthusiasm.

Step 6. Healthy Habits

In the days leading up to the exam, promoting a healthy lifestyle is more important than excessive test preparation.

Eating a balanced diet and ensuring the student gets enough sleep will encourage the best performance on the day of the Naglieri test.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test is an aptitude test that measures students' abilities to solve problems and think critically, appraising children from pre-K through to the 12th grade.

It is most commonly utilized for gifted and talented programs, holistically assessing intellectual ability.

The NNAT can identify gifted children and is especially useful for those who do not perform well in traditional examinations. Many schools and programs use the Naglieri exam alongside IQ tests as part of their admissions process.

There are 48 questions on the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test.

This exam is nonverbal, meaning there is very little reading or writing. The questions are divided into four categories: pattern completion, spatial visualization, serial reasoning and reasoning by analogy

There are a significant number of resources online to help with preparing for the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. Using a variety of online tools, books and games will keep the child most engaged and lead to the best results.

No, the NNAT is not an IQ test.

Each school district uses different criteria to determine if a child qualifies for the gifted program. Generally, the child will need to be in the 90th percentile or above to be considered gifted.

If the child does not qualify as gifted on their first attempt, it is likely that they will have to wait another year before being given the opportunity to retake the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test.

NNAT sample questions are readily available online from websites such as TestPrep–Online and Testing Mom.

The Naglieri Test scoring system is broken into three stages.

First, the raw score correlates precisely to how many questions the student answered correctly.

The next stage uses the Naglieri Ability Index. The final stage calculates a percentile rank to determine how well the student compares to others across the country.

Many children find the NNAT challenging, especially because the format differs dramatically from what they are familiar with. But with the proper preparation, candidates can be successful and secure themselves a place in the gifted program.

Students have 30 minutes to complete the NNAT test.

There are a considerable number of resources online to help prepare for the Naglieri nonverbal ability test.

One of the most comprehensive study guides is the TestPrep-Online pack, which has a huge range of NNAT sample questions.

Final Thoughts

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test is an excellent way to test children for gifted and talented programs, especially useful for those with language difficulties.

The Naglieri test is not an IQ test but is often used alongside IQ tests to assess students' abilities holistically.

The questions center around four key areas: pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization. Each element tests the child's problem-solving skills using a series of patterns and geometric shapes.

As with all aptitude tests, preparation is the key to success in the NNAT test. Ensure that revision begins four months before the assessment, ample practice questions are completed and, to get the best results, make the process fun for the child.


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