NFL Will Begin Using a New Test, the PAT, to Supplement Wonderlic and "Level the Socio-Economic Playing Field"


This weekend, the NFL announced that it would be using a second aptitude test at the NFL Combine. That test, referred to as the PAT (Player Assessment Tool), was developed by Cyrus Mehri and professor Henry Goldstein as a more specific test to evaluate skills necessary for the NFL.

Much of the criticism of the Wonderlic centers around whether it is useful, and biased based on the socio-economic background of a player. Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth has an excellent breakdown of some of the issues presented. As Tanier points out, supposedly easier questions that utilize more idioms and culture specific references than the more technical or harder questions. The Wonderlic is an “easy” test, if you have tried to take any of the sample ones out there, and you are good at standardized testing. Its main purpose seems to be to allow leaks, so then we can judge A.J. Green and players like him (obviously, the test wasn’t a good predictor of learning to play wide receiver in the NFL).

Kudos to the NFL for this step. If you are in the football business, you should be testing players on their aptitude and skills and how it will translate. This new test is trying to look into skills and learning styles so teams have a better view of potential employees. From Jarrett Bell’s piece, Mehri is quoted as saying “[t]his kind of levels the playing field from a socio-economic point of view.”

The guess here is that the two tests are administered at the Combine for a few years while data is gathered, and that the Wonderlic (hopefully) will be phased out over time as the results come in.

[photo via USA Today Sports Images]