OLSAT - Otis Lennon School Ability Test Guide
By Sony Rane, Tests.com
Many parents dream of having their child attend a prestigious school for academically advanced children, but acceptance into such schools can often be denied because of poor scores on standardized assessment exams. Numerous schools also use assessment exams to screen students for placement in higher-level classes. The Otis Lennon standardized test (OLSAT) is commonly used to evaluate the educational progress of students and place them in advanced level programs. The OLSAT is used to assess the fundamental learning abilities of children from pre-K through 12th grade.
Unlike most assessment tests, the OLSAT does not measure a student’s accumulated knowledge but instead evaluates a student’s capacity to think abstractly and apply reasoning skills. The exam presents several situations that test student’s ability to detect similarities and differences, define words, follow directions, solve math problems, complete analogies, and classify sequences. It is separated into four different testing segments to test verbal comprehension, verbal analysis, illustrative reasoning, and figural reasoning. All questions on the OLSAT are multiple choice and administering the exam takes approximately one hour. The OLSAT is administered to groups of students with the exception of pre-K children.
Children who take the OLSAT to gain entrance into advanced kindergarten classes are given the exam on an individual basis. The questions on the OLSAT exam are verbally administered to children in grades below the 2nd grade. They are only announced once and repetition is not allowed. The majority of the OLSAT exam at the 2nd grade level is verbally administered and a third of the questions are written. All subsequent OLSAT exams are entirely in a written format.
Incorrect answers are not penalized on the exam, so guessing on questions will not hurt a student’s score. Guessing incorrectly on the OLSAT will yield the same score as leaving the question blank. The OLSAT is structured so that difficult questions are immediately followed by easier ones and vice-a-versa. This prevents students from being discouraged by tough questions towards the end of test sections. The total score of the OLSAT is called the School Ability Index (SAI) and is comprised of a verbal and nonverbal score. The mean score of the OLSAT is 100 with a standard deviation of 16.
The OLSAT 8th edition is the most current and widely used version of the test and it has been peer revised for ethnic, gender, or regional biases. Unlike other assessment exams, the OLSAT does not produce many versions of the test with different questions, but uses the same test for many years. Pearson Assessments offers sample tests at various grade levels to familiarize students with the format of the OLSAT.
To find out if your school uses the OLSAT to test student’s learning ability, check with your local department of education. When purchasing study materials for the OLSAT, students are encouraged to review the lessons for the year ahead of their current grade. Academically advanced children will generally exhibit cognitive abilities similar to those of students two to three years ahead of them. Check out our OLSAT test directory for OLSAT test preparation materials.