Cognitive Ability

September 9, 2019

Amelia HerringAmelia Herring

New York Times Magazine Wonderlic Response

New York Times Magazine Wonderlic Response
Amelia HerringAmelia Herring
We firmly believe that the Wonderlic is the best way to holistically measure cognitive ability while focusing on accuracy and speed.

We are disappointed with how Wonderlic was portrayed in a recent story from the New York Times, which contained numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations. Our organization spent considerable time with a New York Times reporter and fact-checker to explain what the test measures, how it is meant to be used and Wonderlic’s efforts to remove bias. Unfortunately, however, the article got the following key points about Wonderlic wrong.

 What the Test Measures

The Wonderlic Personnel Test measures cognitive ability, not intelligence. Cognitive ability has been empirically shown to predict a number of core aspects of player performance, including the ability to learn, memorize, retain, and recall complex information, the ability to quickly problem solve on the fly, and the ability to perceive and react at speed.

How the Wonderlic Is Used

The Wonderlic score is a valuable complement among a set of factors, and we would never consider a score to be the sole predictor of future success or failure. Similar to how an employer would be interested in cognitive ability alongside resume, experience, and references, NFL teams pay attention to cognitive ability alongside other data such as 40-yard sprint time, bench press reps, etc. Wonderlic score is a valuable complement among a set of factors.

Removing Bias

Preventing bias is at the forefront of our scientific concern and has been for many years. The NFL Scouting Combine is administering the most updated version of the Wonderlic test which was explicitly created to remove racial bias using modern cognitive science. Every single item in the validation process underwent third-party testing to ensure there are no differences in performance based on race/ethnicity, gender, age, and other variables. Specifically, Wonderlic leveraged an external academic lab explicitly created to ensure testing fairness. We are continually committed to removing bias, especially on the basis of race or ethnicity, from the measurement of cognitive ability.

We firmly believe that the Wonderlic is the best way to holistically measure cognitive ability, for any position or role, while focusing on accuracy and speed. As scientific understanding of measurement has evolved, we have made and continue to make regular advancements to the sophistication and modernity of both the test and the testing process.

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