The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), published by Pearson NNC, is a multiple choice test commonly used in the U.S. to identify gifted children. Schools often use the OLSAT as a tool for admission into schools and programs for gifted and talented children or to measure scholastic achievement across all ages. Learn more about gifted testing in your city or school district.
The OLSAT is comprised of both verbal and nonverbal questions, measuring a student’s ability to cope with school learning tasks. In all, there are 21 different question types on the OLSAT. On the test, students will need to:
- Follow directions
- Detect likenesses and differences
- Recall words and numbers
- Classify items
- Establish sequences
- Solve arithmetic problems
- Complete analogies
The OLSAT is used specifically to measure abilities related to success in school, testing critical thinking and reasoning skills. The OLSAT is intended to test memory, speed of thought and ability to see relationships and patterns. Arthur Sinton Otis, Ph.D and publishing executive and editor, Roger Thomas Lennon, Ph.D designed the OLSAT based off of two theories: Vernon’s hierarchical theory of intelligence and Guilford’s structure of intelligence. Hierarchical theories of intelligence describe intelligence as composed of different levels arranged by hierarchies or domains. The OLSAT was designed to measure a student’s verbal-academic domain, rather than other more practical and mechanical domains. Guilford’s structure of intellect is also reflected in the OLSAT. Questions on the OLSAT were selected to reflect the intellectual operations of cognition, convergent thinking and evaluation, as discussed in Guilford’s model of intelligence.