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Misleading Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 1st grade son, Andrew, was referred for gifted services last year by his Kindergarten teacher. The school decided to place him in 2nd grade math during 1st grade, however, the new principal for this year stopped that right away and had him tested. He scored 99th percentile on the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). She also had the Metropolitan series of tests administered during the 2nd week of first grade. My son did not want to take the tests and complained about missing out on what the class was doing. He scored 86th-92nd % on the Metropolitan. The new principal used those scores to decide that he did not need enrichment even though his ability score was 99th %. This May, we had an independent evaluation done at George Mason U. He scored in the 99.9th%, a full scale IQ score of 151 on the WISC IV test.

They said this was in the very superior range and the highest score that they have seen in recent years. We have provided the scores to the school but do not anticipate any response from the principal who seems completely reluctant to provide any acceleration or enrichment. What rights do gifted students have when requesting enrichment or some type of acceleration (Virginia)? Andrew is a model student with 100% marks or close to it, and no behavior or social problems. His teacher this year seems to be following the principal's lead and adds comments such as "not soaring above the rest of the class" even though he is working at a 4th grade math level, with no instruction, on the school's SME computer program. He is bored at school. What can we do? Thank you.

A: It's such a shame that the school principal and teacher are acting is such an unprofessional manner. Your son had obviously shown remarkable abilities and this is proven from the test results. As for the Metropolitan series of tests, he was obviously not ready and unwilling to take the test; hence the score. I can understand if the school decide to use this score as an indicator of ability and therefore based on the scores, may feel that your son did not need an enrichment. However, after doing the WISC and showing the scores to the school, it is a wonder why they refused to accept the results. The least that they can do is to re-test him on a different scale or monitor his progress to see if they are making the right decision to place him in the high ability group. When his WISC scores did not even create a doubt on abilities and the school still preferred to use the Metropolitan scores, this just does not sound right.

I am not aware of the state requirement for gifted education in Virginia but as far as I know every state should have provisions for gifted children. You may want to talk to the principal and find out the reason for this. Principals usually do not discriminate their students, so it may be that the school may not be fully aware of his progress or there may be a good reason for this – something that has not been brought to your attention. If you still feel unfairly treated, this matter may be brought up the district education authorities for further investigation. In the meantime, don't let this affect your son at all; keep giving him the guidance and nurturance that he needs to further excel. It is very important to keep him going to avoid a case of burning out as you mention that he is bored at school.

Do not give up trying to give him the best of education that he deserves. Best wishes and I hope that your son would be given due credit for his abilities.

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Practice Test for the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®) Level D
By Mercer Publishing

Level D of the NNAT is usually given to students in third and fourth grade. One of the tools for measuring a student's ability to enter the gifted program is the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT) published by Harcourt Assessment, Inc. The NNAT is a culture-fair, nonverbal measure of reasoning and problem solving abilities. This test does not require English language skills or mathematics, instead consisting of problems that use a complex set of geometric shapes and designs. It is a 38 question test with four types of questions: Pattern Completion, Analogy, Serial Reasoning and Spatial Visualization.

This practice test contains 38 questions in the four test areas found on the NNAT® Level D, which is usually given to students in third and fourth grade: Pattern Completion 6 questions Reasoning by Analogy 10 questions Serial Reasoning 8 questions Spatial Visualization 14 questions The object of this practice test is to familiarize your child with the types of questions they will face on test day, how the tests are formatted, and the number of questions in each test area..

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