Socioeconomic status effects on using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) to identify the gifted/talented

Carol A. Carman, Debra K. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is said to be a culturally neutral measure of ability that assesses both majority and minority students equally. Although research has examined the effects of ethnicity and gender on NNAT performance, little published research has examined the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and NNAT performance. Correlations and multiple regression were used to examine the relationships between ethnicity, SES, and NNAT performance in a large kindergarten sample. The results suggest a significant relationship between ethnicity, SES, and NNAT performance. Even after adjusting for ethnic differences, children from low-SES families were half as likely as other children to be identified. Putting the Research to Use Does the NNAT really identify students with low-SES backgrounds at the same rate as students from average to high SES backgrounds? Although many believe using a nonverbal test levels the field for all students, the research we present does not support this belief. In this sample, students from average to high SES families were twice as likely to be identified than those from low-SES families. Since nonverbal tests are one of the most used methods of screening for G/T in our schools, if districts wish to continue to use the NNAT, it should not be as a solo measure of ability, but rather as part of a multiple measure process. In addition, districts using the NNAT should calculate the differential of any particular test administration on the basis of gender, ethnicity, SES or other variables to determine if any adjustments need to be made to ensure that elusive level playing field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalGifted Child Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Identification
  • Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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