Non-verbal reasoning

The purpose of Non-verbal reasoning is to give the teacher a reasonable estimate of the student’s non-verbal intellectual ability or intelligence. Non-verbal reasoning is an adaptive subtest, which makes assessment swift and efficient. This is a matrix test, in which both visual and verbal reasoning strategies may be employed. There is good evidence that such matrix reasoning tests correlate well with more extensive measures of intelligence and therefore provide a good overall indicator of general intellectual ability. Nevertheless, assessors should be aware that a small proportion of students may experience difficulties with this task, even though in other respects their intelligence levels are at least average.

Non-verbal reasoning in LASS 8–11 is not intended to be a speeded test (i.e. performed against the clock), but in the interests of avoiding excessively lengthy assessment sessions, a (fairly generous) time limit of 60 seconds has been allowed for each item. For most students, this should allow sufficient time for a reasonable attempt at each item. To allow greater time would not increase validity or reliability of the subtest, so if students run out of time then this must be accepted as part of the exigencies of the task.

Since humans endeavour to play to their strengths whenever they can, it follows that where one aspect of intelligence is much better than the other, the former is more likely to be utilised in tackling problems, e.g. if Non-verbal reasoning is much higher than Verbal reasoning, the student is more likely to problem solve using non-verbal rather than verbal strategies, and vice versa. The greater the disparity between the two, the more prominent this effect is likely to be.