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- Main article: Ability
An aptitude is an innate inborn ability or capacity to learn to do a certain kind of work. Aptitudes may be physical or mental. Many of them have been identified and are testable.
Commonly recognized aptitudes that are testable include:
- General Learning Ability
- Verbal Aptitude
- Numerical Aptitude
- Form Perception
- Clerical checking, also called graphoria
- Inductive reasoning aptitude, also called differentiation or inductive learning ability
- Finger dexterity aptitude
- Number series aptitude
- Ideaphoria also called, creative imagination
- Creativity, also called remote association
- Language learning aptitude
- Mechanical comprehension
- Spatial reasoning, also called spacial visualization, space visualization or structural visualization
- Symbolic reasoning aptitude, also called analytical reasoning
- Visual memory
- Visual pursuit, also called line tracing
The terminology for the individual aptitudes has not been standardized because each organization that produces aptitude batteries has its own terms.
Intelligence and aptitudes
Aptitude and intelligence quotient are related, and in some ways opposite, views of human mental ability. Whereas Intelligence Quotient sees intelligence as being a single measurable characteristic affecting all mental ability, aptitude breaks mental ability down into many different characteristics which are supposed to be more or less independent of each other. However, a casual analysis of any group of test scores will nearly always show them to be highly correlated. The U.S. Department of Labor's General Learning Ability, for instance, is determined by combining Verbal, Numerical and Spatial aptitude subtests. In a given person some may be relatively low and others relatively high. In the context of an aptitude test the "high" and "low" scores are usually not far apart, because of the fact that all ability test scores tend to be correlated. Aptitude is better applied intra-individually to determine what tasks a given individual is relatively more skilled at performing. Inter-individual aptitude differences are typically not very significant due to IQ differences. Of course this assumes individuals have not already been pre-screened for IQ though some other process such as SAT scores, GRE scores, finishing medical school, etc.
Skills, Abilities and Aptitudes
Skills, abilities, and aptitudes are similarly related but distinct, descriptions of what a person can do, and should not be conflated. Skills are a backward looking description. Skills describe what a person has learned to do in the past. Abilities are a present description. Abilities describe what a person can do now. Aptitudes are a forward looking description. Aptitudes describe what a person has the ability to do in the future. They describe what a person can learn to do.
Aptitudes are generally tested in the form of an Aptitude Battery which tests a large number of aptitudes at one time with a series of small tests for each aptitude. Aptitude batteries may lean more toward innate aptitudes or more toward learned skills. Batteries that lean toward learned skills are frequently called Aptitude Tests. An example that leans both ways is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Aptitude batteries that lean toward aptitudes are often useful in selecting a career. Another test used in schools and agencies that combines interest and aptitude for career guidance is Careerscope.
Aptitude Only Batteries
Aptitudes are generally tested in the form of an Aptitude Battery which tests a large number of aptitudes at one time with a series of small tests for each aptitude. Aptitude batteries may lean more toward innate aptitudes or more toward learned skills. Aptitude batteries that lean toward aptitudes are often useful in selecting a career. The leading researchers and purveyors of aptitude tests are:
- The Vocational Research Institute which produces a test used in schools and agencies that combines interest and aptitude for career guidance is Careerscope.
- The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation (JORF) is the original aptitude assessment organization. It produces the Johnson O'Connor Aptitude Battery (JOAB).
- The Highlands Company is a spinoff of the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. It produces and the Highland Ability Battery.
- The Ball Foundation produces the Ball Aptitude Battery.
Combined Aptitude and Knowledge Tests
- Vocational Research Institute
- The Ball Aptitude Battery
- Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation
- Foreign language aptitude in young learners
- Cognitive Styles and Implications for the Engineering Curriculum
- History of Aptitude Testing
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