General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

What is Aptitude Assessment?  

Suppose that two persons of equal intelligence have the same opportunities to learn a job or develop a skill. They attend the same on-the-job training or classes, study the same material, and practice the same length of time. One of them acquires the knowledge or skill easily; the other has difficulty and takes more time, if they ever master the skill. These two people differ in aptitude for this type of work or skill acquisition.

Aptitude is variously defined as innate learning ability, the specific ability needed to facilitate learning a job, aptness, knack, suitability, readiness, tendency, natural or acquired disposition or capacity for a particular activity, or innate component of a competency.   

An aptitude is an innate inborn ability or capacity to learn to do a certain kind of work.

According to APA, Aptitude is the capacity to acquire competence or skill through training.

Aptitude assessments are used to predict success or failure in an undertaking. For vocational/career guidance and planning they are used to measure different aptitudes such as general learning ability, numerical ability, verbal ability, spatial perception, and clerical perception. Objective aptitude tests are based on timed sub-tests – results are compared to age-group norms or other criteria – as opposed to self-report inventories of abilities often found in computerized career exploration systems. 

For helping a person find and pursue a career, course of study, or work experience program; aptitude assessment should logically precede achievement testing or skills assessment. 

The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

  • The General Aptitude Test Battery (G.A.T.B.) was developed by the U.S. Employment Service with extensive research in the 1930’s and implemented by the U.S.E.S. from 1942 to 1947.  The G.A.T.B. was used through to the 1990’s for both job screening and career guidance. Other aptitude tests such as APTICOM began to appear in the 1980’s. APTICOM is a dedicated-computer replacement for the G.A.T.B
  • In India the test was adapted by Ashok Dolke, the sample was taken from ATIRA -Ahmadabad Textile Industry Research Association for norms. 
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has attempted to replace the G.A.T.B. with the O*NET Ability Profiler, to be used with its new O*Net occupational classification system. A completely internet-delivered version of interest and aptitude assessment, called careerscope Online®, became available in fall 2009.

The General Aptitude Test Battery (GABT) is a measure of a wide range of aptitudes and is used in such areas as occupational selection, rehabilitation, and vocational counseling, 

  • GATB Form A in 1947.
  • GATB Form B- used for validation research and retesting.
  • In 1983 Forms C and D were introduced.
  • GATB consisted of 12 separately scored and timed subtests.
  • To compute 9 aptitude scores.
  • Test administration did not require a professional
  • Time -2.5 hours.
  • The test was appropriate for individuals in Grades 9 through 12 or for those in the workforce
GGeneral IntelligenceVocabulary, Arithmetic Reasoning, Three Dimensional Space
VVerbal AptitudeVocabulary
NNumerical AptitudeComputation, Arithmetic Reasoning
SSpatial AptitudeThree Dimensional Space
PForm PerceptionTool Matching, Form Matching
QClerical-PerceptionName Comparison
KMotor CoordinationMark Making
FFinger DexterityAssemble, Disassemble
MManual DexterityPlace, Turn

Test Administration: The GATB is a timed paper-and-pencil test, which takes approximately two hours & 30 minutes to complete.

This test is one of the oldest general mental ability tests still used today and is considered by some researchers to still be unparalleled by other tests.

Validity Period: A successful result on the GATB remains valid for a period of three (3) years.

Re-Test Waiting Period: The first time a Candidate does not meet standard with the GATB, they must wait a period of three (3) months from their test date before they can make another attempt. Candidates who do not meet standard on subsequent attempts must wait a period of 6 months before they can test again.

Where a successful GATB result is due to expire, a candidate may rewrite within 2 months prior to the expiry date, or anytime thereafter.

Scoring of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

  • There are more than 750 items on GATB altogether.
  • The three steps in obtaining GATB scores;
  • Calculate the no. of correct items for each of the 12 sub-tests.
  • Convert raw scores to norming population (according to subtest and form of the GATB used). There is a conversion table for each of the subtest for each form of GATB.
  • Sum the converted scores into aptitude scores.
  • The Mean for overall subtests is 100 and SD is 20.

On that basis aptitude scores are interpreted as:

Below  80 Below average
81 – 120Average
121 – 140Above average
141 – 160Good
161 – 180Very good
Above  181Excellent

Norms of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

Originally  norms for GATB are based on what USES calls ‘general working population’. (subset of 4000 of a total of 8000 workers for whom data were available in 1952) Sample of 4000 was chosen as representative (exception was the base population was restricted to workers ages 18-54 included no farmers, foremen, proprietors, managers or officials) 5 occupational groups defined: clerical, sales, craftsmen, operatives, laborers; except farm and mine. Represented in proportion to their presence in census. Stratified sample on the basis of sex, age, and(less successfully) geographic population. General working population is the reference population in which GATB aptitudes are standardized to have mean of 100 and SD of 20.A study conducted in 1966 with test data from 23,428 workers indicated that the norms remained stable to that point.

515 validation studies over 30 years. N=32,124 workers.

Reliability of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

Stability coefficient – 0.81 (TEMPORAL) To study population over time.

This was done in order to make most appropriate reliability estimation that reflect stability of measurements over time.Reliability established for the adapted test by Ashok Dolke test-retest method was used. For first seven parts coefficient of reliability were computed employees in textile industry. It ranged from 0.51-0.92 with a median coefficient of 0.81.

Validity of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

  • Convergent validity ranged from 0.50-0.89. 
  • Validity ranges from 0.50-0.89 which means not all sub-tests are high on validity.
  • Cognitive subtests demonstrated reasonable construct validity in terms of convergent validity,
  • Validity by Ashok Dolke : The human relations division established concurrent validity and predictive validity of the GATB norms.

Applications of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

  1.  Screening tool for recruitment.
  2. Vocational guidance.
  3. Preliminary career exploration.
  4. Research purposes.

Critical Analysis of The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

  • GATB has been looked up for being one of the best aptitude measures overtime.
  • It is too lengthy and tiring.
  • Various forms A, B(3), C, D, E, F have been revised. But everywhere a single and last updated form is not used.So there should be consistency among the test usage


  1. The National Academies Press Open Book| 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001.

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