scholastic aptitude testing
Test research and main findings
Test research and main findings 2
Tests and measurements
Vocabulary (WORD) measures understanding of words and concepts, and consists of items where the task is to identify which of five presented words has the same meaning as a given word. Both Swedish and foreign words are included in the subtest.
Data Sufficiency (DS) aims at measuring numerical reasoning ability. In each item a problem is presented, and the task is to decide whether the information presented is sufficient to allow solution of the problem. The response format is fixed, so each item presents the same five alternatives. The subtest is designed to put as little premium as possible on mathematical knowledge and skills in favour of problem-solving and reasoning.
Reading Comprehension (READ) measures Swedish reading comprehension in a wide sense. The examinees are presented with six texts and four multiple choice questions in relation to each text. Each text comprises about one printed page. Some items ask about particular pieces of information but most items are designed to require understanding of larger parts of the text or the text in its entirety.
Interpretation of Diagrams, Tables and Maps (DTM) consists of 10 collections of tables, diagrams and/or maps which present information about a topic, with two multiple choice questions in relation to each collection. The degree of complexity of the items varies from simply reading off a presented graph, to some where information from different sources must be combined.
General Information (GI) measures knowledge and information from many different areas. The test is broader than traditional school achievement tests and asks about information that a person may acquire over an extended period of time in different contexts such as work and education, or social, cultural and political activities.
English Reading Comprehension (ERC) is of the same general type as the subtest READ. However, in this subtest there is more variability as to both the texts and item formats used. The test consists of 8 to 10 texts of different lengths. Most texts are followed by one or more multiple choice questions with four alternatives. In one of the texts, some words are omitted, and the examinee is supposed to select the omitted word from four alternatives presented alongside the text.
The SweSAT is supposed to measure acquired (developed) abilities and it makes use of the kind of verbal and mathematical skills that develop over the years, both in and out of school. The content of the test does not reflect any specific curriculum although it is designed to be consistent with school based learning.
The test is designed for selection to all different types of university programmes and therefore it is intended to measure the students' general aptitude for studies. Since the test is a selection test it is supposed to rank the applicants as fairly as possible according to their expected academic success. Other requirements on the test are:
· The test should be in line with the aims and content of higher education.
· The test must not have negative effects on the education in upper secondary school.
· It should be possible to score the test fast, cheaply and objectively.
· It should not be possible for an individual to improve his/her test result by means of mechanical exercises or by learning special principles for problem solving.
· The examinees should experience the test as meaningful and suitable.
· The demand for unbiased recruitment should be observed. No group should be discriminated against because of gender or social class.
· The test should also be varied and cover many different content areas. It is possible to find the answers to roughly half of the questions in the material provided. In order to answer the remaining questions some background knowledge is necessary.
On the whole the test has been surprisingly well received by testtakers as well as educational institutions. It is now accepted as a major alternative to school marks as selection instrument and it has even been suggested as a substitute now that the marking system is being changed.
One reason for this acceptance of the SweSAT might be that the test was introduced "as a second chance" and has been regarded as such. Another reason might be that the test along with the scoring key has always been made public as soon as the test has been administered, which means that the testtakers have the opportunity to control (and discuss) their results on every single item. A final reason might be that the test is a good one or at least that the testtakers really experience it as a meaningful and suitable selection instrument for higher education.
Information – 30 items ordered from easiest to hardest. Asking questions
like "Name four famous U.S. presidents", "How many members are there in
the U.S. Congress". This test measures a subject’s range of knowledge and
such nonintellective factors such as curiosity and the acquisition of knowledge.
Comprehension – Asks 3 types of questions:
What should be done given a situation (What should you do if you find an injured person in the street)
Provide a logical explanation of some rule or phenomenon (Why do we bury the dead?)
Define a proverb (A stitch in time saves nine)
This requires a lot less scholastic aptitude than the information subtest. This subtest measures judgment in everyday practical situations or common sense. A person’s emotional disturbance may interfere with his/her judgment and result in inappropriate responses.
Arithmetic – 15 relatively simple problems. For example, "A person with
17.50 spends $7, how much does he have left?" Concentration, motivation,
and memory are the main factors influencing performance.
Similarities – 15 paired items of increasing difficulty. The subject has to identify the similarity between the items in each pair. This subtest measures the subject’s ability to see the similarity between apparently dissimilar objects or things. For example "In what way are an ant and a rose alike?" This subtest is helpful when examining an individual’s thought processes. For example, idiosyncratic responses from a schizophrenic.
Digit Span – A subject has to repeat digits, given at the rate of one per second, forward and backward. The intellective factor that it measures is short-term auditory memory but such nonintellective factors as attention often influence results. For example, this subtest is especially affected negatively by anxiety.
Vocabulary – It has been found that the ability to define words is one of the best single measures of intelligence as well as the most stable and least deteriorating aspect of intelligence. If an individual has incurred brain damage, for example, their performance on the vocabulary subtest would be the last one to be affected. Often when individuals who have experienced an illness, trauma, or brain injury get tested for cognitive functioning, there is usually no pretesting to know what they were like originally. The vocabulary subtest can be used as a proxy to estimate his/her premorbid functioning.
Digit symbol – At the top of the page there are numbers 1 to 9 each
paired with a symbol. Then in 90 seconds the subject needs to copy the
corresponding symbol underneath rows of numbers. This subtest measures
the ability to learn an unfamiliar task, visual-motor dexterity, degree
of persistence, and speed of performance.
Picture completion – The subject is shown a picture with some important detail missing such as a horse without a tail and then asked to identify the missing part. Measures alertness to details.
Block Design – Nine blocks, with red, white, and half red and half white blocks. Subjects arrange the blocks according to pictures in a booklet. This subtest requires the sujbect to reason, analyze spatial relationships, and integrate visual and motor functions (input visual à output motor). Excellent nonverbal measure of concept formulation and abstract thinking.
Picture arrangement – 10 items, each with a series of related pictures that the subject is supposed to arrange in the right order that tells a story. The subject needs to notice relevant details and cause-effect relationships. This subtest measure nonverbal reasoning ability.
Object Assembly – Cut-up objects (like a puzzle) that the subject needs to put together as quickly as possible. Measures ability to part-whole relationships