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The NNAT and Identifying Gifted Students in ESL Programs

The NNAT and Identifying Gifted Students in ESL Programs

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - August 12th, 2012

The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, or NNAT, is among the recommended IQ assessment tests for identifying gifted students among those in English as a Second Language programs. Students whose first language is not English are often overlooked by gifted and talented programs because their proficiency of the English language is not strong enough to show their true intellectual capabilities in the classroom, on homework assignments, in other everyday academic activities, or even on common IQ tests that emphasize reading, writing and language comprehension skills.

For this reason, the NNAT and other nonverbal IQ assessment tests are recommended for students in ESL programs. These kinds of tests are actually highly recommended for addition to any gifted and talented program’s assessment criteria as they tend to be less bias and more culturally fair to all students regardless of background, social or economic class, and/or primary language. In fact, many believe the NNAT and similar exams offer a better overall result for all students and a more accurate image of gifted and talented abilities in a wider number of students as well.

Because the NNAT measures nonverbal skills, including problem solving, reasoning, and rationalization skills, even students who know no English at all are able to demonstrate heightened or advanced intellectual abilities on the exam. 

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