AABL® Test (Admissions Assessment for Beginning Learners)

What is the AABL Test?

AABL® is the admission assessment of choice for a select group of independent schools throughout the country. It was developed by ERB (Educational Records Bureau) along with a team of experts from its member schools as part of their admission process. AABL aligns with national standards including those of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Common Core, and the New York State PreK and Kindergarten standards. The assessment is administered on an iPad and is intended for children who are a minimum of 4 years of age seeking admission to PreK through Grade 1.

  • Children applying to PreK will take the test in a 1:1* setting.
  • Children applying to Kindergarten will take the test in a 5:1* setting.
  • Children applying to First Grade will take the test in a 6:1* setting.


This new test is administered by the ERB (Educational Records Bureau), although schools can arrange to become test sites, so it may be given at your child’s preschool.  A professional administers the test to students one-on-one or in small groups.  The students take this test on an iPad.  Even though the kids get to do a few practice questions on the tablet before they begin the actual test, we would recommend that your child have experience using an iPad before taking this test.  It can only be taken once in a given admission’s season.  This means if your child takes it when applying to one school, those results will be shared with other schools.

Unlike the ERB, which was an IQ Test measuring intellectual ability, this is also a kindergarten readiness test covering “verbal and quantitative reasoning, early literacy, and mathematics.”  It will have both a Reasoning and an Achievement/kindergarten readiness component.  If your child will be taking this test, you’ll want to be sure that he or she is fluent in these abilities.

Here is what each component will cover:

Breakdown for the AABL

Here is the breakdown of the AABL®, which will give you a good guideline for test prep.

Reasoning and Achievement, with each section encompassing two subsections:

Reasoning includes Verbal and Quantitative

Reasoning and Achievement includes Early Literacy and Mathematics.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Verbal Reasoning assesses a child’s ability to reason and solve problems that are presented in pictures and are not dependent upon written text.
  • Analyze relationships between two different ideas presented in pictures by identifying their shared characteristics.
  • Make comparisons and group various objects based on their common properties.
  • Extract explicit information to infer and interpret situations
  • Use deductive reasoning.


The three major concepts within the Verbal Reasoning domain include Verbal Analogies, Verbal Classification, and Verbal Inference/Deductive Reasoning.

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning assesses a child’s ability to use numbers and numerical concepts in order to solve problems. Questions may require children to recognize and apply a numerical operation, infer or deduce what a particular problem entails, compare and contrast quantities, as well as analyze, compare, or predict conclusions.

  • Recognize and apply addition, subtraction, or another numerical concept.
  • Infer or deduce solutions to novel problems.
  • Compare and contrast quantities.
  • Identify shapes and patterns.


The major concepts within the Quantitative Reasoning domain include Analogies, Patterns and Series, and Quantitative Inference/Deductive Reasoning.

Early Literacy

  • Early Literacy contains the major concepts of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness, Phonics & Word Identification, Reading Comprehension, and Writing Conventions. These major concepts are further divided into specific sub-concepts that target skills within the major concepts.
  • Blend phonemes into words and recognize phonemes in isolation.
  • Manipulate phonemes.
  • Rhyme and letter–sound knowledge.
  • Decode words.
  • Read words and sentences.


For example, Phonological and Phonemic awareness include the sub-concepts of Rhyming, Blending, Phonemic Isolation, and Phonemic Manipulation.


  • Mathematics contains three major concepts Number Sense, Geometry & Measurement, and Operations, which are also divided into sub-concepts.
  • Recognize and name numbers.
  • Count and skip count.
  • Determine ordinal position.
  • Add and subtract.
  • Identify basic shapes.
  • Recognize common measurement tools.


For example, Number Sense includes the six sub-concepts of Number Identification, Number Comparison, Number Order, Ordinal Terms, Quantity Comparison, and Quantity Identification.

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