The Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test® (NNAT®, NNAT2®) is frequently used as a screening test for gifted program entry. The NNAT® is also used in conjunction with standardized achievement testing to see whether or not children are working up to their potential.
The NNAT® is a short (about 30 minutes actual test time), multiple choice test, with no reading. As the test name suggests all questions are presented non-verbally - pictures and figures are used rather than words. The NNAT® is sometimes referred to as a matrix reasoning test because of the format in which the questions are presented. The developer of the test, Pearson Assessment Services Inc, markets it as a culture fair test which is not language dependent.
There are seven different levels of the NNAT® for administration from Kindergarten to Gr 12. Preschool children can be tested using the Kindergarten level test.
Tests include up to four different types of questions - pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization.
Pattern completion problems, as the name suggests, require children to identify the option which will complete the pattern.
Reasoning by Analogy requires the identification of relationships between shapes. The relationship between a large square and a small square, for example, is analogous to the relationship between a large circle and a .... small circle. Relationships may be presented in more than two dimensions.
Serial reasoning problems require children to identify the shape which comes next in a pattern.
Spatial visualization problems involve visualizing how objects might look when rotated or otherwise transformed or combined.
We provide examples illustrating each of these question types here
The NNAT® is commonly considered to be a difficult test. The test is designed to rank children according to ability so questions in any particular level of the level of the test range from those determined to be quite easy for children of that age to answer correctly to those that most children are unable to answer. The most difficult questions on any test are difficult. For that reason our suggestions for gifted learners include titles notionally for older children (If you've got a bright child you'll know that you need to purchase above grade level material to extend your child. In the NNAT® your child will have an opportunity to demonstrate their advanced analysis skills.)
Suggestions for Preparation
Building Thinking Skills
- figural analysis sections only (the first half of Books 1 and 2). This series builds the skills required to solve non-verbal matrix reasoning problems working from description to identification of similarities and differences to sequences to classification and finally to analogies.
LUK Learning System
presents a large number of matrix and other non-verbal reasoning problems. It is designed to be done independently without language so is well suited to both teach required skills and raise awareness of what to look for in problems. All the LUK books are designed to be used with a controller.
Visual Perceptual Skill Building
has a range of activities designed to assist the development of visual perception. If you child has difficulty processing visual detail this is a great supplement.
- Advanced Dot-to-Dot Books. The seven books in this series are not graded. Books 1-4 are of similar difficulty level. Books 5-7 introduce a wider range of challenges. The NNAT® test is unlikely to be like anything else your child has done. These books use and build your child's existing awareness of non-verbal information in preparation for testing. Why not have fun as you learn?
- Tangrams - a classic puzzle of spatial reasoning
Additional Highly Recommended Titles are
. If you remember your own test taking days you'll recall how important reading comprehension is to performance on most written tests even if the test itself is not intended to test reading. The NNAT® is a non-verbal test. Children don't see any words. They see a page full of shapes and figures. If your child has the ability to quickly assimilate the non-verbal information contained in the question and store it in their memory as they puzzle over the answer they'll have an advantage over a child who has to spend longer looking at the question to work out what is there before they can try to answer it. This is similar to a strong reader being able to read the question faster and thereby having more time to solve it compared to slower readers. While we don't include Memory Challenge in our core suggestions because it takes time to build these skills we highly recommend Memory Challenge. Memory Challenge has adjustable difficulty levels making it suitable for use with children from as soon as they can hold a mouse through to adults. If the user perseveres their visual memory will improve.
. SET is a multi-award winning game requiring players to identify attributes and make sets. It can be played solitaire or with two or more. It provides some light relief to test preparation while continuing to build essential skills. We highly recommend the game of SET for your game shelf.
- Manipulative Block Set and/or Pattern Block Activity Pack for young children who benefit from hands-on experience playing with shapes and creating patterns and sequences.