Gifted children have intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership abilities well beyond their years. Giftedness manifests in many different ways, so how do parents and teachers know if a child is gifted? There are a variety of tests and assessments that are administered to determine if a child is gifted. Read on to learn about the types of tests for giftedness.

Achievement Tests

The first category of tests for giftedness are achievement tests. Those tests determine what students have learned in addition to where they stand academically compared to their peers. Achievement tests are often broad, standardized tests, although they occasionally are more specific categories, such as math.

The most common achievement test for children is the Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students, or more commonly, SAGES. There are two forms of the test. One, usually given verbally, is for kindergarten through 3rd grade. The other test, for 4th through 8th grades, is taken independently by the students. The administrators divide the test into three subsections: Mathematics / Science, Language Arts / Social Studies, and Reasoning. The first two sections are the sections that measure achievement. All components of the test are multiple choice.

Other more specific achievement tests include options such as the Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students.

Ability Tests

Ability tests, also called cognitive abilities tests or intelligence quotient (IQ) tests. School districts further break down the tests into individual or group settings. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, many states administer group tests. However, Hillsborough County Public Schools primarily administers tests to individuals. The most common individual test administered is the Stanford-Binet (L-M).


The Stanford-Binet test is a mix of fill in the blank and multiple choice. The test looks at 5 factors of cognitive ability. Those factors are: fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, visual-spatial processing and working memory. The Stanford-Binet is notable for its use of nonsense words in analogies. The words themselves are not important but the comparison between them is. Those questions are especially important in gifted testing. Due to their outside-the-box thinking, gifted children adapt more easily to nonsense words.


In group settings, many school districts use the CogAT, also known as Cognitive Abilities Test. That test has three subtests, referred to as batteries. However, some schools administer all three or only some of the sections. There is the verbal battery with picture/verbal analogies, sentence completion, and picture/verbal classification. The quantitative battery has number analogies, number series, and picture/verbal classification. Nonverbal batteries include figure classifications, figure matrices, and paper folding.

Nonverbal Tests

Education research indicates that in many multicultural societies, verbal tests cause issues. Those types of tests actually have the ability to shut nonverbal or multilingual individuals out of gifted spaces. To this end, nonverbal intelligence tests have been designed. These types of tests aim to neutralize cultural, linguistic, or socioeconomic disparities.

The most recent version of the Stanford-Binet test has nonverbal counterparts for every verbal subtest. In addition to that, there are the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test or the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence.