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Test of Problem Solving 3 Elementary

Authors: Linda Bowers, MA, CCC-SLP / Rosemary Huisingh, MA, CCC-SLP / Carolyn LoGiudice, MA, CCC-SLP

  • Critical Thinking
  • Individual Administration
  • Ages 6 through 12
  • Norm-Referenced
  • Qualification Level B

The TOPS 3 Elementary assesses the ability to integrate semantic and linguistic knowledge with reasoning ability, using picture stimuli and verbal responses. TOPS 3 Elementary focuses on language-based thinking skills, including clarifying, analyzing, generating solutions, evaluating, and affective thinking. It is intended for use by speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and other professionals trained in language disorders.

The test measures discrete skills that form the foundation of language-based thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. It is composed of 18 situations that examine six thinking tasks relevant to most students and common across cultures and school or home settings. Although the skills assessed are necessary for developing social competence, the TOPS 3 is not primarily a test of pragmatic or social language. It can, however, be part of a battery of tests to assess pragmatic competence.

The six subtests use full-color photographs and address the following critical-thinking skills:

  • Subtest A: Making Inferences: Asks for a logical explanation about a situation, requiring the student to meld information presented with background knowledge
  • Subtest B: Sequencing: Explain logical, everyday sequences of events
  • Subtest C: Negative Questions: Explain why something would not occur or why one shouldn't take a given action
  • Subtest D: Problem Solving: Recognize the problem, think of alternative solutions, evaluate the options, and state an appropriate solution
  • Subtest E: Predicting: Anticipate what will happen in the future, drawing from past experiences
  • Subtest F: Determining Causes: Give a logical reason for a given aspect of the situation, requiring the student to see a relationship between the action and the outcome

The test was normed on a nationally representative sample of 1,406 individuals, including students with IEPs who were mainstreamed. Validity testing produced t-values for differences between normal and language-disordered subjects that were significant at the .01 level for five age levels and at the .05 level for two age levels. The Reliability analysis produced a test-retest coefficient of .84 for the total test.

Administration and Scoring
Test administration takes about 35 minutes. There are no basals or ceilings, and acceptable responses are provided on the Test Form. Rationale and criteria for scoring each item are included in the Manual. Raw scores can be converted to standard scores, percentile ranks, and age equivalents. The Manual includes a research-based rationale for the importance of teaching thinking skills, an explanation of how each test task relates to academic and classroom behavior, the specific steps a student goes through to complete each thinking task, and the breakdown of what the student's responses reflect about his or her thinking skills.

NOTICE: TOPS-3E:NU is expected to be published in December and will be available for purchase in January, 2018. Please check back with us for updated information.


Item No.




Test Kit: Manual, Picture Stimuli Book, 20 Test Forms


Components (Sold Separately)

Item No.






20 Test Forms


See Also... (Sold Separately)


Item No. / Product Title



Test of Problem Solving 2 Adolescent



Cognitive Assessment of Young Children (CAYC)



Test of Memory and Learning - 2 (TOMAL-2)



Slosson Intelligence Test–4th Edition (SIT-4)



Executive Functions Test–Elementary: Normative Update (EFT-E:NU)



Primary Test of Nonverbal intelligence (PTONI)


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