What Is the Difference Between the Stanford Achievement Test & the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test?

Students begin taking the OLSAT and Stanford Achievement tests as early as kindergarten.
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The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and the Stanford Achievement Test are common academic achievement tests given to students from primary school through high school. These tests can be administered on their own or in conjunction with one another. The Stanford Achievement Test focuses more on specific subjects while the OLSAT focuses on critical thinking and reasoning skills.

1 Stanford Achievement Test

The Stanford Achievement Test is an untimed test that has 13 levels. It is administered to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This test features short-answer, multiple-choice and extended-response questions. The number of questions on the test is based on the level and subtest section. The Stanford Achievement Test measures a student’s performance in reading, math science and social studies. The goal of the test is to measure a student’s academic knowledge within these specific subjects.

2 Otis-Lennon School Ability Test

The OLSAT is a timed test that is often administered as a part of the admissions process to a gifted learning program. The OLSAT features multiple-choice questions. All levels of the OLSAT include 60 questions, and students have one hour to complete the test. The test features seven levels ranging from A to G. The first levels are designed for prekindergarten children, and the final levels are for high school students. This test measures a student’s abstract thinking and reasoning ability. The OLSAT is designed to identify strengthens and weaknesses regarding a variety of skills, including classifying, following directions, solving mathematical problems and completing analogies. The general goals of the OLSAT are to assess gifted and talented students in their early academic years or to determine if a student has any special educational needs.

3 Test Differences

The OLSAT is administered in a variety of settings. It is administered by computer or paper-based and can be completed in a group environment or a one-on-one setting The Stanford Achievement Test can be administered in a group setting or one-on-one, but it is only offered on paper. Stanford scores show how a student performed on the overall test criteria and how he compares with other students of the same age or grade level. This allows for an accurate comparison between peers and assesses if a student is achieving grade-level expectations. OLSAT scores are more specific to each student, showing his ability to analyze, evaluate and solve problems.

4 Combined Testing

The OLSAT and Stanford Achievement Test are often offered in conjunction with one another. The results allow parents and teachers to compare a student’s learning ability with his actual school achievement. When the tests are combined, it usually takes a student three to six hours to complete the full battery.

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.