Case Studies Federal Regulatory Authority Predicts Job Performance and Career Advancement with Cognitive Aptitude Tests

The Challenge

A major federal regulatory authority had been using cognitive ability testing for several years, to help them identify people who would perform better in their jobs. They wanted to see what kind of impact the assessment was having on some of their key organisational outcomes, including job performance, employee movement and career progression.

The Solution

We analysed the cognitive aptitude test scores of over 500 candidates who were subsequently hired, and compared them with manager ratings of job performance, an employee movement descriptor and career progression data.

The Results

We identified direct relationships between employees’ cognitive ability test scores and the outcomes we analysed.


pie charts

Job Performance Ratings

We compared cognitive aptitude test scores with annual performance ratings and identified that people who had received a rating of ‘Consistent/Outstanding Performance’ had an average cognitive aptitude test score of 27.8. People who received a rating of ‘Consistent/Strong Performance’ had an average test score of 23.9. 

performance rating bar chart

We assigned numerical values to the different performance ratings and found that, on average, employees with test scores of ‘Average’ or above (‘Above Average’, ‘Far Above Average’) achieved performance ratings that were almost 10% higher than those who received test scores of ‘Below Average’.

Job Performance by Cognitive Aptitude Score

Job performance bar chart

We also compared test scores with ‘movement descriptors’ such as promotion, resignation and dismissal. We found that employees with ‘Above average’ test scores were nearly 5 times more likely to receive a promotion than those with ‘Below average’ scores.

Career progression bar chart


Cognitive Aptitude Test

Cognitive aptitude, sometimes called general intelligence or g, is the single most accurate predictor of future job performance. Tests of cognitive aptitude assess abilities that are critical to almost all jobs, including problem-solving ability, critical thinking, attention to detail, and the ability to learn, digest and apply new information.

We offer a broad range of cognitive aptitude tests including the traditional Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT), game-based assessments Cognify and GAME, as well as more specialised tests such as the Criteria Attention Skills Test (CAST) and the Criteria Mechanical Reasoning Assessment (CMRA).