The Conceptual Foundations Test is a measure of fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is defined as the ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns and it does not rely on acquired knowledge and experience. It helps to identify individuals with advanced observation and clear thinking skills who can handle the complexity and ambiguity of the modern workplace. The CFT adopts a multiple choice, non-verbal approach and the test is, therefore, suitable for candidates who do not speak English as a first language.
The CFT is intended for people with education ranging from Grade 10 to Grade 12. It avoids using material from the real world in order to ensure that the objects are equally familiar to people from all cultural groups or backgrounds. In this way it hopes to avoid cultural bias. The assessment therefore uses diagrams instead of real objects.
The CFT consists of tasks similar to the picture presented on the right, in which candidates would be asked to complete the pattern by choosing one of the options.
Each question consists of a row of six drawings labelled A to F. Five of the six are very similar and have a common underlying concept, while the sixth is different. The candidate's task is to find the diagram that is different from all the others.
There are 36 questions in the assessment, which become progressively more difficult.
The CFT is registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
The scores of CFT and similar tests have been shown to predict job performance both globally (Raven and Raven, 2003) and in South Africa. In particular, Lopes, Roodt, and Mauer (2001) found that high scores on an extended version of the CFT were highly predictive of strong workplace performance in South African and Kock and Schlechter (2009) found similar results for the South African Air Force.
For more information about the academic basis for the test please see the following articles:
Raven J., J. Raven “Raven Progressive Matrices," in Handbook of Nonverbal Assessment edited by McCallum, R. Steve (Boston: Springer US, 2003), 223-237
Lopes, A., Roodt, G., & Mauer, R. (2001). The predictive validity of the APIL-B in a financial institution. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 27(1), 61-69.
Kock, F. de, & Schlechter, A. (2009). Fluid intelligence and spatial reasoning as predictors of pilot training performance in the South African Air Force (SAAF). SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 35(1), 31-38.