Legend has it that Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry was one of the first National Football League coaches to employ the Wonderlic Personnel Test to assess players' cognitive ability. By 1970 several teams were using the 12-minute, 50-question test to evaluate potential draft picks.
E.F. "Al" Wonderlic (EB32, G34) created the short-form assessment of cognitive ability as a psychology graduate student at Northwestern. He and his wife began distributing the test from their apartment in Chicago in 1937. By 1961 more than 5 million people had taken his test.
Today, Charlie Wonderlic Jr., the founder's grandson, runs the firm in Libertyville, Ill. As part of its expanded human resources products and services, Wonderlic Inc. prints the revised WPT in 14 languages for more than 7,000 businesses worldwide — including the NFL.
Every year several hundred potential draftees take the standardized test as part of teams' player evaluation. The test, which includes multiple choice and open response questions on math, reading comprehension and spatial reasoning, provides an idea of a player's general intelligence and helps teams assess learning and problem-solving ability.