BackBright Hub EducationBrowse

What is the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)

By Jacqueline Chinappi

In this series, we look at Intelligence Tests including Stanford-Binet and OLSAT. In the first two articles, we reviewed what the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale was, how to get it, and critical reviews. In this article we review the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and how to get it.

Editor's Note: Updated to reflect current pricing of 8th Edition by Pearson Assessments. Pearson completed the acquisition of Harcourt Assessment in January 2008.

OLSAT Basics

The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test Eighth Edition contains material from the Sixth and Seventh Editions as well as new material and takes on a psychometric approach. The series of tests began in 1918 with the Otis Group Intelligence Scale. (Destefano, 2004)

This test is used to measure abstract thinking and reasoning capabilities. The test is made up of seven levels which are A through G. The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test is used for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Students in Kindergarten are tested on Level A, students in first grade are tested on Level B, students in second grade are tested on Level C, students in third grade are tested on Level D, students in fourth to fifth grade are tested on Level E, students in sixth to eighth grade are tested on Level F, and students in high school are tested on Level G. (Pearson Assessments, 2012)

The test is in a multiple choice format and is comprised of both verbal and nonverbal items. The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test is set up more like a standard “test” compared to the Stanford-Binet Intellectual Scale Fifth Edition. The five groups of material which are tested are Verbal Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Pictorial Reasoning, Figural Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. At each level the items are ordered in regards to specific criteria. In the lower levels, A to C, items of difficulty is found in between easier questions as to not discourage younger students. This helps the students who are not used to taking tests become more comfortable with the process. Level D contains a portion of the test where figural and verbal questions are ordered according to difficulty levels. Within other portions of Level D, and throughout Levels E to G, items are ordered in a spiral omnibus format. (Destefano, 2004)

Levels A and B tests are read aloud to students. Three sections are included, with practice items. Level C also has 3 sections, with the last section being read aloud. It takes approximately one hour to test Levels A to C, with only 37 minutes used for actual testing. Level D has two sections with one hour of administering time, 40 minutes actual test time. Levels E to G have one section with one hour required for administering the test, 40 minutes of actual testing time. No specific training in test scoring is needed to administer these tests and the manual provides directions on how to do so. (Destefano, 2004) The test can be taken on either of two answer sheets: machine-scorable by the test publisher or hand-scorable. (Goldman, 2004)

Pretest, testing, and posttest materials can be purchased from the publisher, Pearson Assessments. Practice test packs are priced at $10.00 each for a package of 10, and single copy directions are available for $8.00 each. Reuasable Test Packs of 10 are priced at $46.00 and directions for administering are priced at $20.00 for each single copy. Machine scorable test packs are $56.00 for a pack of 10 and machine scorable answer documents come in a package of 30 for $43.00. Posttest materials include class records, response keys, norm books, and a technical manual which range from $9.00 to $75.00.(Pearson Assessments, 2012)