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New Test Measures How Players Learn

Posted by Stephen Czarda on February 21, 2013 – 5:31 pm

Trent Williams

As the 333 players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine start to trickle into Indy, all 32 teams are flocking to Lucas Oil Stadium to assess the talented class. They hoped to receive enough insight on the field that they will have thoroughly scouted all prospects before landing their next prized draft selection this April at the 2013 NFL Draft.

While the Combine evaluates talent through vigorous physical examinations such as the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, and the three-cone drill, one test has often been brought into the spotlight that has nothing to do with playing ability.

The Wonderlic Test.

The Wonderlic was originally brought into the fold to investigate how prospects function under a controlled, pressure-packed 12 minute examination and how it translates to the football field. However, in recent years, the intelligence test has become heavily scrutinized by fans and league officials alike.

While the Wonderlic will still be administered to the 2013 Scouting Combine class, the league is introducing a new aptitude test: the Player Assessment Tool (PAT).

The Player Assessment Tool will measure prospects based on their strengths, aptitudes, and learning styles.

Now before you say “Hey that sounds like the same thing as the Wonderlic!” find out how the test differs from the much-maligned examination:

Similar to the Wonderlic, the Player Assessment Tool will be be implemented in a classroom-style environment. Unlike the 12 minute Wonderlic where players scramble to decipher the questions, the Player Assessment Test will give the players one hour to answer the questions thoughtfully.

The Wonderlic has come into question due to the “gradability” of the 50 question probe as results have been leaked and have caused many to question the effectiveness of how it analyzes a player’s capabilities. The league took notice of the interrogation of one of the original judgement instruments and created the Player Assessment Tool.

The following is snippet from a memo sent to every franchise about the PAT:

The assessment tool being introduced at the Combine is not intended to displace anything currently in use or substitute for other tests that are given either at the Combine or by the clubs themselves.

Rather, this new test measures a wide range of competencies, including learning styles, motivation, decision-making skills, responding to pressure or unexpected stimuli, and core intellect.

It was developed after detailed discussions with current and former league executives, including Ernie Accorsi, Thomas Dimitroff, John Elway, and Jerry Reese, and was reviewed by members of the general managers Advisory Committee.

If it’s good enough for John Elways, it’s good enough for me.

The Player Assessment Tool doesn’t have a grading scale or a percentage of questions successfully answered. Instead, it arranges answers that present what strengths and weakness each player has. The results will then be given to “one or two” league officials, according to the NFL.

These officials will be in charge of leaking them to the rest of the football world (or something).

A determination can be made from the examination on how a player’s learning style will impact his ability to learn the playbook, analyze formations, and adjust to audibles on the fly.

Other skills that will be tested will include how the player responds to unexpected events, tension-filled moments in close games, and motivation.

The Player Assessment Tool will not eliminate the Wonderlic. Conversely  the test will reinforce the Wonderlic to give teams a deeper scoop in the evaluation of talent.

Both tests will be given towards the end of the players stint in Indianapolis and will link together with the player’s physical attributes to add to the player’s draft portfolio.

Tune into to NFL Network beginning this Saturday at 9am EST to catch all the action from the annual extravaganza and check back here for updates throughout the week!




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