What does the Detroit tests of learning abilities, fifth edition measure? Revelations from a hierarchical exploratory factor analysis


This study examined the factor structure of the Detroit Tests of Learning Abilities, Fifth Edition (DTLA-5) using principal axis factoring, multiple factor extraction criteria, and the Schmid–Leiman orthogonalization procedures not utilized by test publishers. Results suggest that the publisher's six-factor structure model was over factored. Although there is support for five group factors and a hierarchical general factor that correspond with some of the test's most reliable composites, there was no evidence warranting a distinction between the test's hypothesized Reasoning Abilities and Processing Abilities domains or separation of Acquired Knowledge and Verbal Comprehension subdomains. Some test users may prefer to interpret the four DTLA-5 subdomains that correspond to some of our basic findings in a profile indicating intra-individual strengths and weaknesses. Based on our hierarchical factor analysis and omega statistics, we believe that the DTLA-5 should be interpreted as a measure of psychometric g and not used to examine intra-individual strengths and weaknesses for most test-takers.

Publication Title

Psychology in the Schools