General Aptitude Test Battery

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The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) is a work-related cognitive test developed by the U.S. Employment Service (USES), a division of the Department of Labor. It has been extensively used to study the relationship between cognitive abilities, primarily general intelligence, and job performance.[1][2]

National Academy of Science review (1989)[edit]

The test was extensively reviewed by the National Academy of Science in 1989 in the report Fairness in Employment Testing.[3]

NAS concluded that the GATB is "adequate in psycho-metric quality", but that there were two problems if it was to be extensively used in practice. The first was that there were few alternate forms, which makes it likely that others will obtain a copy of the test and provide on-test training which decreases the validity. The second was that many of the tests were heavily speeded (timed), and that there were several easy to test strategies for increasing scores on speeded tests e.g. filling out the remaining items with random answers when one is running out of time. The report similarly examined questions of test bias (finding some bias in favor of Blacks), validity (finding lower validity, average r = .25 to .35, than reported elsewhere, and that this was primarily due to methodological differences).


The battery consists of a 12 tests which purport to measure 9 abilities or aptitudes:[1]

Symbol Name Test(s)
G General Intelligence Vocabulary, Arithmetic Reasoning, Three Dimensional Space
V Verbal Aptitude Vocabulary
N Numerical Aptitude Computation, Arithmetic Reasoning
S Spatial Aptitude Three Dimensional Space
P Form Perception Tool Matching, Form Matching
Q Clerical-Perception Name Comparison
K Motor Coordination Mark Making
F Finger Dexterity Assemble, Disassemble
M Manual Dexterity Place, Turn

(Table after Hunt 1983.[1])

The abilities are also sometimes clustered into 3 groups: cognitive (G, V, N), perceptual (S, P, Q) and psychomotor (K, F, M).