Aptitude Dimensions

The level of specificity of predictors, domains tapped, and the prior-knowledge demands of aptitude tests are all important factors in aptitude testing. Aptitude dimensions range from neurophysiological, electrophysiological, and perceptual processes to information-processing components (Dillon, 1997) and metacomponents (Sternberg, 1998; Sternberg, Torff, & Grigorenko, 1998); knowledge and reasoning aptitudes (Dillon & Vineyard, 1999); school subject aptitudes (Jacobs, 1998; Skehan, 1998; Sparks & Ganschow, 1996); sociocultural attributes (Lopez, 1997); personality, temperament, attitude, and motivational attributes; and interpersonal attributes such as social problem-solving aptitudes, including environmental adaptation aptitudes.

Information-processing theory and methodologies have enabled researchers to decompose reasoning and other IQ test-type tasks into their distinct information-processing components, such as encoding, rule inference, rule application, and confirmation. Researchers have studied the functioning of these component processes during complex thinking and problem solving (e.g., Dillon, 1997; Sternberg, 2000), and they have developed methods and measures to test attributes that occur in everyday life, such as tacitly acquired knowledge (e.g., John & Mashna, 1997). Considerable attention has been paid to issues in special education testing (Carver & Clark, 1998; Forness, Keogh, & MacMil-lan, 1998; Greenspan & McGrew, 1996) and aptitude testing in gifted education programs (Sternberg, 1998). In addition to enhancing understanding of one's possession of various abilities, research in cognitive flexibility has helped scientists to understand the manner in which individuals select and deploy tactics as the demands of a task or situation warrant (Dillon & Vineyard, 1999; Fox, 1997).

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