There are many different types of tests that are given to evaluate students. Your child may be given a test of one or more We’ve identified three common types below: Group cognitive, Achievement, and State.


Intelligence Quotient or IQ tests are used to measure the intelligence a child needs to succeed in an academic environment.  They include language, information/knowledge, memory, math, spatial, thinking (cognitive ability, speed/ response time) and fine motor skills assessments.  The most commonly given IQ tests are the Stanford-Binet and the Weschler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-III (WPPSI).

Group Cognitive or Intelligence Tests

Group cognitive tests or intelligence tests reflect your child’s thinking, reasoning and problem solving abilities.  Intelligence tests are aimed at assessing a child’s underlying intellectual ability, which involves comprehension; understanding, and learning from experience. Group intelligence tests are administered in groups to measure how a child’s intellectual performance compares with that of other children in the same age group.

Achievement Tests

Achievement tests are show your child’s ability, skill and knowledge over a wide range of subjects, which your child has been taught, in the classroom or at home. These tests reflect what your child knows and his or her proficiency and progress for each part of the material.  These tests are used for G/T testing and generally cover the following abilities and subjects: oral language, reading, math, spelling, writing, vocabulary, social studies, science, editing, humanities and sources of information (maps, diagrams and reference materials).

State Tests

State tests reflect your child’s knowledge and understanding of math, reading, English, science, and social studies. Students in each grade typically take the same test under the same conditions (i.e. time limits, directions, and testing formats are the same).

Each state is different, test-wise and in terms of requirements for the gifted and talented programs. For instance in California, they use the California GATE program, which actually is different for each district, because the requirements and tests used are under local control.  The tests included for California GATE can be as follows:

Traditional IQ/Full Scale Intelligence Quotient Exams

  • NNAT®-2 (Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test, Second Edition)
  • OLSAT® (Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test®, Eighth Edition)

Group Cognitive or Intelligence Tests

  • CogAT® Test (Cognitive Abilities Test®)

To read more about State Tests, this is a great resource!