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Test Overview Raven's Vocabulary Scales
Manual Sections Computerised tests
Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) Board form tests

Introduction to the tests:

Raven's Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary Scales were developed to assess, as straightforwardly and as accurately as possible, the two main components of what most psychologists have to come to refer to as "General Intelligence" or g.

Used together, the tests provide more useful information more quickly than do most full -length "Intelligence" tests. Used by themselves, Raven's Progressive Matrices tests yield better information on people's ability to forge new, largely non-verbal, insights than do the relevant subscales of multi-component tests. The Vocabulary tests complement this by providing a quick and accurate assessment of the familiarity with a culture's store of explicit information.

Both tests are quick and easy to administer, attractive to those taking them, and display high construct validity: they are among the best predictors of performance at tasks in which the abilities tested are required. Thus they can be employed both as quick and inexpensive screening tests to identify those most likely to possess high-level talents which are to be sought through more time consuming and expensive assessment procedures, and as an integral part of such procedures. Used in the second way they allow those concerned to concentrate on the assessment of qualities which are harder to identify.

Progressive Matrices scores are relatively uncontaminated by linguistic background. The tests are therefore invaluable in conditions, such as those prevailing in Europe.

The Raven's Progressive Matrices are widely used in psychological research, providing the industry standard against which other tests are evaluated.

Nature and Forms of the tests:

The Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) tests are made up of a series of diagrammatic puzzles exhibiting serial change in two directions simultaneously. Each puzzle has a piece missing, which the person taking the test is required to find. The name of the test reflects the possibility of formulating the puzzles in the form of mathematical matrices. Indeed, the test is particularly good at predicting success in those occupations such as science and computer programming, which involve forms of mathematical competence. The term "Progressive" Matrices is used because the items are arranged so that the person taking the test is gradually absorbed into the particular frame of thought needed for their solution. He or she is required to perceive and attend to particular features in the designs, and the test therefore assesses the ability to learn from experience. Because training in the method of thought is built into the test, coaching has less effect on RPM scores than it does on many other tests. For the same reason the effects of cultural disadvantage are reduced.

The Mill Hill Vocabulary test, through an assessment of the respondent's knowledge of the meaning of the words, measures familiarity and facility with a culture's store of verbalised concepts.

The Raven tests are available at a range of difficulty levels, and special versions exist for certain clinical and research purposes.

The Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) tests are available in Standard, Coloured, and Advanced forms. The Raven's Vocabulary scales are available as the Crichton Vocabulary Scale (CVS), the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, JUNIOR forms, and the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, SENIOR forms.

The Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) and the SENIOR forms of the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale (MHV) were prepared to differentiate between people of superior intellectual ability. They can be used to select staff for high-level technical or managerial positions, and to select students for advanced scientific or technical studies.

The Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) and the JUNIOR versions of the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale (MHV) are suitable for general population. They can be used in the selection of non-managerial staff.

The Coloured Progressive Matrices (CPM) and the Crichton Vocabulary Scale (CVS) are suitable for young children and for persons of limited intellectual ability.

The Advanced Progressive Matrices has two components. Set I comprises a short set of 12 items. The main test. Set II, consists of 36 items. Set I can be used to obtain a quick and approximate indication of overall ability, to help decide whether Set II of the APM or the SPM should be administered, and to provide training in the method of thought needed to tackle Set II effectively. If it is to be used for the second purpose, those who are later to be tested on Set II can be given a copy of Set I to take home for practice.

Background to the tests:

The Raven's Progressive Matrices were developed to measure the two components of g (loosely, "General Intelligence") initially identified by Spearman in the early twenties. These are technically known as eductive and reproductive ability. Although these terms are not part of our everyday vocabulary, their use will both make for clarity of discussion and help to prevent misapplication of the tests and misinterpretation of the results.

Eductive ability refers to the ability to make meaning out of confusion; the ability to perceive - and especially the ability to perceive new patterns and relationships; the ability to forge (largely non-verbal) constructs which make it easy to handle complexity.

Reproductive ability refers to the ability to call to mind, and utilise, a culture's store of explicit, largely verbal, information.

Despite the fact that they often work closely together these two abilities are, psychologically, very different: those familiar with the work of Cattell should note that one is not a "crystallised" form of the other.

In occupational settings it is important to differentiate between eductive and reproductive abilities: a facility with words does not necessarily imply the ability to forge new insights, and people good at inventing new ways of thinking abut things and handling changing situations are not necessarily good at verbalising their insights. Similarly, the ability to answer close up verbal questions as a result of taking courses does not necessarily lead to improved performance. These points can be illustrated from the work of Broadbent and Aston, who found that those best able to handle a complex computer simulation with many feedback loops were not necessarily able to say how they did it. Furthermore, verbal instruction, while it had a marked effect on behaviour, did not lead to improved performance. Another study illustrating the point is that of Ingleton, who found that, while managers with high vocabulary test scores performed well in unchanged conditions, it tended to be those with high RPM scores who were able to prevent their companies making huge financial losses in the changed conditions of the 1970's oil price rise.

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