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Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (PTONI)

Author(s): David J. Ehrler and Ronnie L. McGhee
Publisher: Pro-ED USA, 2008


Purpose: Assess reasoning abilities in young children

Age: 3.0 to 9.11 years

Time: 5 – 15 minutes

Administration: Individual

The Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (PTONI) is a theoretically sound, research-based method of assessing reasoning abilities in young children.The PTONI can be used to:

  • Identify both severe intellectual deficits and superior cognitive intelligence
  • Help estimate future school success based on family history, educational background, and personality traits
  • Study a wide range of researchable topics and issues.

Minimal oral directions and a pointing-response format make it one of the simplest and easily understood of all nonverbal intelligence tests designed for young children. The nonverbal format of the PTONI is especially appropriate for testing children who typically are not verbally or motorically well developed. 

The test format requires a child to look at a series of pictures on each page in the Picture Book and point to the one picture that does not belong with the others, with items arranged in order of difficulty. Early items measure lower order reasoning (e.g., visual and spatial perception). Later items measure higher order reasoning abilities (e.g., analogical thinking, sequential reasoning, and categorical formulation).

A child's performance is recorded as a standard score (called the Nonverbal Index), a percentile rank, and an age equivalent.

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Author(s): David J. Ehrler and Ronnie L. McGhee