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Using the Ravens to evaluate learners’ academic success

28 November 2019

Discover how Ravens SPM assessment predicts academic success at ABC School. Learn how cognitive ability impacts learning outcomes. Recommendations for accurate predictions.


ABC School was concerned about the learners’ school performance in their Matric examination. Although the school had a 100% pass rate, the final symbols tended to be in the lower range (below a C grade).



168 learners from Grade 8 to 11 aged between 11 years to 19 years took part in this investigation. JVR administered the Ravens Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) to the pupils. The Ravens SPM is a non-verbal test that measures the ability to make sense of complex situations, create meaning out of ambiguity or confusion, and perceive and think clearly. The Ravens SPM assessment was untimed so pupils worked at their own pace. An analysis was conducted in order to determine whether the Ravens SPM predicts academic success.



On the whole, the cognitive ability of the learners at ABC School as measured by the Ravens SPM was acceptable, with results indicating that the Ravens SPM is able to clearly distinguish the learners in terms of those who may have problems dealing with some of their class work and those who would be able to handle their academic work with relative ease. The results also indicated that the Ravens SPM is not only able to predict academic success in various subjects as shown in the table below, but that it is also an effective predictor of overall academic success.



Although the results indicated that the Ravens SPM successfully predicts overall academic success for students, it did not predict academic success for some of the academic subjects. This is because subjects tend to be largely language-based. Therefore, in order to accurately predict academic success, cognitive assessments such as the Ravens SPM should also be used in conjunction with a language-based assessment, for example, an English literacy assessment.













Physical Science






Art and Culture

Economic and Management

Life Orientation


Technical Drawing



Overall Academic success


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