Explain Aptitude Tests


Q. Aptitude Tests

Aptitude is thought of as a natural tendency, special ability, or capacity or cluster of abilities. Often these natural abilities are looked at an relationship to a person’s readiness to learn or their suitability for a particular career.

For example, in order to be successful architect, one most possess the cluster of abilities such as a keen sense of observation, a sense of aesthetic visual memory, abstract reasoning, and an ability to sketch free hand.

So, aptitude may be defined as a trait that characterizes an individual’s ability to perform in a area or to acquire the learning necessary for performance in a given area.

It presumes an inherent or native ability that can be developed to its maximum through learning or other experiences. However, it cannot be expanded beyond a certain point, even by learning. Although that may be a debatable concept, it is stated here as a basis on which aptitude tests are developed.

In theory, then, an aptitude test measures the potential of one to achieve in a given activity or to learn to achieve in that activity.

Aptitude tests may potentially be used by counselors and others because.

  • They may identify potential abilities of which the individual is not aware;
  • They may encourage the development of special or potential abilities of a given individual.
  • They may provide information to assist on individual in making educational and career decisions or other choices between competing alternatives;
  • They may serve as an aid in predicting the level of academic or vocational success on individual might anticipate; and
  • They may be useful in grouping individuals with similar aptitudes for development and other educational purposes.

Types of Aptitude Tests:

There are different types of aptitude tests. Some of them are single aptitude tests like tests of mechanical aptitude, clerical aptitude, teaching aptitude, musical aptitude and so on. Such tests covering a group of related abilities are necessary for performing in an occupation like becoming a mechanic, clerk, teacher, musician etc.

Another type of aptitude test is work sample aptitude test. It requires the individual to perform all or part of a given job under the conditions that exist on the job. An example of a work sample test for the job of automobile mechanic is to repair a faulty carburetor.

Besides this, there are differential tests Batteries as well. A commonly know differential Aptitude Tests (DAT). Bennett, Seashore and Wesman (1984) battery consists of eight subtests of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning abstract reasoning, spatial reasoning, clerical speed and accuracy, mechanical reasoning, language usage, spelling, grammar occupations.

Such test batteries can give comprehensive information about the relative picture of the student’s specific abilities. Administration of total battery can prove to be costly in terms of time but one can make selective use of certain sub tests.

For example, a student trying to explore whether s/he will have the required aptitude to go to engineering, may not be required to take tests like clerical speed, language usage, grammatical or verbal reasoning tests but may be required to take numerical abstract and spatial reasoning tests.

Most of the batteries of tests available for assessment of aptitude at school stage are in the form of test batteries consisting of the underlying abilities required for success in different occupations rather than direct assessment of job aptitudes.

Caution in the use of Aptitude Test Data:

  • It is important that counselors select and use aptitude tests carefully, keeping in view the student’s / clients needs. If aptitude test data must be used, it should be used along with previous achievement data, present interests, leisure time activities and work habits etc. in order to guide the students into various occupational possibilities.
  • The aptitude test samples certain abilities of the individual and helps to find what he/she can do now and how well it can be done further. On the basis of present performance, estimate of his/her future achievement is inferred which is in terms of probability only.
  • It may also be kept in mind that aptitude tests score only provide leads or suggestions or to help in career planning and do not automatically match individuals to suitable courses or studies, and occupations. These are factors like willingness, hard work, that contribute to or one’s success in a career which are not measured by aptitude tests.
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