Comprehension, reasoning and problem solving: New cognitive assessment measure

Gina C. Lemos, Leandro S. Almeida


The ability of an individual to use cognitive processes to understand, to reason and to solve specific situations is recognized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as crucial to the practice of citizenship. School is one of the privileged contexts for this practice, where children and young people make their educational decisions. The Bateria de Aptidões Cognitivas (BAC) / Battery of Cognitive Abilities (BCA) is a new cognitive assessment measure that aims to contribute to the development of more informed vocational decision-making and to support differentiated levels of school achievement. Based on the CHC intelligence model, BCA is aiming to evaluate three cognitive processes of increasing complexity (comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving) in three key contents of human intellectual capacity (verbal, numerical and spatial). Developed for the Portuguese population, the Battery exists in two versions: one aimed at young people attending the 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education (BCA_A) and another, for young people attending secondary education (BCA_B). Their validation study, supported by precision, construct validity and external validity results confirm the psychometric qualities of the measure, reinforcing the recommendation of its use in the psychologists’ practice. The national standardization study is composed of a random and representative sample of adolescents attending public schools in all regions of Portugal (North, Center, Lisbon and Tagus Valley, South, Madeira and Azores archipelagos), between the 6th and the 12th grades. Besides being tested in this sample of regular education, the Battery was also studied, in an exploratory way, in two specific subsamples, namely, Professional Education and Specialized Artistic Education.


Cognitive assessment, CHC model, Adolescence.


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