Understanding how quickly someone learns new information can inform your recruitment decisions and help build personal development programmes.
Thomas' aptitude assessment
How long will it take someone to get to grips with a new role or regime? The General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) is a cognitive ability assessment that provides an accurate prediction.
Assessment type: Aptitude
Format: 5 assessments
Availability: 25+ languages
Time to complete: 30-45 minutes
Training required: GIA Accreditation
Validation: Registered with the British Psychological Society and audited against technical criteria established by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations
We simply would not be where we are today without the GIA from Thomas International. The feedback that these assessments provide is invaluable.
Background & Theory
The General Intelligence Assessment (GIA), was developed over 15 years by Dr Peter Dann in the Human Assessment Laboratory at the University of Plymouth. Thomas integrated the GIA into its product suite in 2006.
Intelligence has been defined as having fluid and crystallised components (Horn & Cattell, 1966):
Fluid Intelligence (pure processing speed) – basic intellectual processes of manipulating abstract concepts, generalisations and logical relationships (Carroll, 1993). Fluid intelligence is used to solve new problems, use logic in new situations and identify patterns. Crystallised Intelligence (learnt factors) –verbal, mechanical, and numerical ability etc. Crystallised intelligence is the ability to use learned knowledge and experience.
The GIA is an assessment of intelligence designed and theoretically underpinned by Carroll's taxonomy/classification of cognitive abilities components of 'g', which is general intelligence (Spearman's & others' general factor of mental performance). However, the GIA is concerned much more with fluid intelligence and the use of procedural rather than declarative knowledge, by measuring elementary cognitive abilities (perceptual speed, verbal reasoning etc.). This assesses what we have termed trainability rather than 'IQ'.
The GIA looks at an individual's speed of processing information and ability to learn and develop new skills. The General Intelligence Assessment is used for a variety of purposes: recruitment, retention, development, management, identifying training needs, career guidance, succession planning and benchmarking.
The GIA was first developed as a way to measure cognitive abilities and trainability of Armed Forces known as the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB). As the GIA continued to develop, the Human Assessment Laboratory used the potential of computer technology to pioneer the research and development of item-generation whereby test items are automatically produced to create an extremely large number of different but equivalent forms of the same test (Irvine, Dann & Anderson, 1990). GIA, along with a paper-based version, was developed from the same theoretical principles and resources as BARB. Thomas International integrated the paper-based version into its product suite in 1993 and GIA in 2006.
Format of the perceptual aptitude test
The Thomas General Intelligence Assessment consists of five online tests of simple cognitive abilities (i.e. abilities that rely on processes such as thought, language, decision making, learning and memory).
Each of the five tests has one type of task and all the questions in a given test are of an equal level of difficulty. The individual's score is then determined by the speed and accuracy of their responses. Scores are then compared to a sample population (the norm group) to determine whether the scores are lower, higher or in-line with the majority of that population.
Although the overall score measures 'trainability', each of the five tests measures a specific cognitive function (detailed below):
Perceptual Speed: This test measures the perception of inaccuracies in written material, numbers and diagrams, the ability to ignore irrelevant information, the ability to recognise similarities and differences, and error checking. It tests the speed of semantic encoding and comparison.
Reasoning: This test measures the ability to make inferences, the ability to reason from information provided and to draw the correct conclusions. This test assesses the ability of an individual to hold information in their short-term memory and solve problems.
Number Speed and Accuracy: This is a test of numerical manipulation and a measure of basic numerical reasoning ability. It measures the degree to which an individual can work comfortably with quantitative concepts.
Spatial Visualisation: This test measures the ability to create and manipulate mental images of objects. This test correlates with tests of mechanical reasoning, and assesses an individual’s ability to use mental visualisation skills to compare shapes. It relates to the ability to work in environments where visualisation skills are required to understand and execute tasks.
Word Meaning: This test assesses word knowledge and vocabulary. It assesses the comprehension of a large number of words from different parts of speech and the ability to identify the words that have similar or opposite meanings. It assesses the ability to work in environments where a clear understanding of written or spoken instructions is required.
Reliability & Validity
The Thomas GIA has been subject to rigorous scientific testing to determine its reliability and validity as a psychological assessment. Various research studies have shown that the GIA is a consistent and valid measure of trainability.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are aptitude assessments?
Aptitude assessments, also known as perceptual speed or cognitive ability assessments, test a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks and react to a range of different situations.
What types of aptitude assessments are there?
Aptitude assessments come in many forms as different skills are required for different roles. They can be broadly separated into two categories: verbal and non-verbal.
Verbal tests such as verbal reasoning and situational judgement, assess an individual’s ability to analyse verbal data and make astute decisions. Non-verbal tests normally include numerical reasoning or inductive reasoning, assessing someone’s ability to handle numerical data, patterns and problem-solving.
Thomas’ General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) measures a mix of verbal and non-verbal skills: Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.
What is the purpose of aptitude tests?
In the workplace, aptitude assessments can give a detailed understanding of how quickly a person will adapt to a new role or regime. Understanding how quickly someone learns new information can inform recruitment decisions and help build personal development programmes.
Thomas’ General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) provides you with an accurate prediction of the time it will take someone to get to grips with a new role or regime.
What is the difference between an aptitude test and an IQ test?
Aptitude assessments test specific abilities in specific areas. Some test only one skillset, while others may test a few. For example, Thomas’ General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) measures an individual's aptitude in 5 key areas: Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.
By contrast, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests do not assess specific knowledge and give a more general understanding of someone’s ability to learn.