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Watson-Glaser Predictive Validity Study

Watson-Glaser Test of Critical Thinking Ability


This study sets out to examine the relationship between scores on the Watson-Glaser test of Critical Thinking Ability obtained by graduate employees within a major law firm at recruitment and subsequent performance over TWO years in their roles. As a result of this data demonstrating the predictive nature of Watson-Glaser, the firm will continue to use the test as a major part of their sifting-out and selecting in stages of recruitment.

The main findings

Line graph showing increased success rate of hire when using additional assessment methods

Data from 250 graduate employees was examined and a summary of the main findings is as follows:


  • The Watson-Glaser (written paper and pencil version) was taken under supervision during the assessment process.

  • On the whole, the graduate employees had a high level of Watson-Glaser scores compared to the general population and other private sector graduates (a mean raw score of greater than 10 compared to the general population group).

  • The employees completed four six-month placements within the business and their performance was measured and rated at the end of each placement. Ratings range from Level 1 (exceeds expectations) to Level 4 (meeting some expectations, but underperforming in some areas).

  • Analysis of those employees with consistent performance grades over the two year period showed that the consistent top performers (level 1) achieved the highest average Watson Glaser score (at recruitment). The next highest score was achieved by those performing at Level 2, then Level 3, then Level 4 (consistent bottom performers). However, there were some small sample sizes in the very top and bottom groups (4 and 1) as not many of the group were consistently scoring at levels 1 and 4. Scores are shown as T scores. Scores on the Watson-Glaser were found to be predictive of performance in the role.

  • There were no gender differences evident in either the Watson-Glaser data or the performance data.


Source: Pearson TalentLens (

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