The Highlands Ability Battery: Classification

July 19, 2023

Ready to learn more about the Highlands Ability Battery? We’ve got you covered. First, let’s recap: the Highlands Ability Battery measures our performance across a number of work samples in an effort to gather information about our innate abilities, which provide insight into our personality, motivation, learning and problem-solving style, communication preferences, and decision-making approach. Further, it divides our abilities into three categories: personal style, driving, and specialized, all of which are measured on a low-to-high continuum. In this blog series, we’ll cover each ability in turn starting with the driving abilities, or those that we must satisfy on a frequent basis in order to feel fulfilled in our professional and personal lives. If our driving abilities are not being utilized, it’s likely that we’ll feel frustrated, stressed, or bored. However, if they are being utilized, we’re more likely to feel fulfilled and challenged. First up: Classification.

What is the Classification ability?

Classification is one of the two forms of convergent reasoning assessed via the HAB. Convergent reasoning–or the ability to make an appropriate selection based on a number of different choices–affects how we make decisions, and is further divided into inductive and deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning–the type assessed on the Classification sample–asks us to move from the specific to the general. Here are several examples:

  • You see a coyote in your yard every evening at dusk. You might (correctly) reason that coyotes are very active at dusk.
  • Every fish that you buy from a specific pet store dies after two days. You might conclude–correctly or incorrectly–that all fish at the pet store are sick.

See how we moved from specific (that one coyote we see every day) to general (all coyotes)? While these are minor examples, inductive reasoning can help us make high-level inferences in our professional and personal lives. For example, emergency room physicians are responsible for utilizing their inductive reasoning skills to make lifesaving decisions on a regular basis.

On the HAB, the work sample that measures Classification assesses your ability to see relationships between several seemingly unrelated items. You’ll then be given a low, medium, or high score. Remember: there is no result that is better than another; “low” is not synonymous with “poor” and “high” is not synonymous with “excellent.”

Further, it should be noted that your Classification score does not reflect the value of your decisions (in other words, it can’t tell you whether your decisions are of good or poor quality) but instead measures the speed and fluency at which you reach inductive reasoning-related conclusions. The HAB then uses that information to provide insight into the academic and work environments that could be best suited to your style.

What if I receive a “high” Classification score?

If you score high in Classification, it means you have an intuitive ability to assess pros and cons & reach a conclusion almost automatically. Moreover, answers usually feel obvious to you when they don’t feel that way to others. You enjoy working at a very fast pace, and may easily become bored or restless–particularly if others around you are not or cannot work as quickly as you. Furthermore, you could appear overly critical of others, and may even create problems for yourself to solve if there are none available.

High Classification scorers often include those who work in professions that require fast-paced, intuitive problem-solving, such as emergency room doctors, police officers, marketing professionals, or prosecutors.

What if I receive a “medium” Classification score?

If you score in the mid-range on Classification, you can typically choose whether to engage with this ability on a regular basis. It’s likely that you can thrive in both fast- and slow-paced environments, and demonstrate a solid mix of listening and quick decision-making skills. Moreover, you’ll often problem-solve most effectively when you have some parameters and guidelines, and you appreciate solid procedures. As such, it’s unlikely you’ll do well in rapid-fire, high-pressure environments.

Medium Classification scorers can work in slow- or fast-paced environments that require a consistent degree of problem-solving and may include engineers, editors, and marine biologists.

What if I receive a “low” Classification score?

Low score on the Classification work sample? You won’t need to utilize this ability on a regular basis in order to feel fulfilled professionally. Moreover, you’ll typically enjoy a slow or moderate work pace where you have the opportunity to make longer-term decisions. You like to gather information before making a decision, and often incorporate your own or others’ experiences into the process. You appreciate structure and are a good listener, but can become overwhelmed by fast-paced problem-solving and may even seem indecisive at times.

Low Classification scorers thrive in environments where they can take the time to collect and analyze information before coming to a conclusion and often include counselors, estate lawyers, and archeologists.

What does my Classification score mean for my future?

Your Classification score plays an important role in determining what type of work environment you’ll be best suited for. Low scorers who work in chaotic environments may feel tremendously stressed while high scorers working in slower environments may feel mind-numbingly bored. For instance, aspiring lawyers have many different types of law to choose from, and a high Classification score could mean that you’ll thrive as a prosecutor while a low Classification score may mean that real estate law is a better fit.

Your position on the Classification continuum also helps you understand how you relate to others at work and in academic settings. Let’s take classic group project dynamics. If you score high in Classification, working with others who gather information slowly might feel frustrating. Alternatively, a low Classification scorer might feel overwhelmed if they find themselves in a group with a classmate who makes decisions quickly without asking many questions.

The Classification Ability – Continued

Of course, there are wonderful merits to both types of decision-making, and as you move forward in your academic and professional career, understanding where you fall on the Classification continuum can help you identify what type of approach may be most useful in particular situations. Perhaps you need to ask more questions, defer to an expert, or let your high Classification-scoring friend narrow down several options with record speed. You’ll also more fully understand types of thinking that are different from your own, and be better equipped to work with–rather than against–your teammate, classmate, and coworkers’ innate abilities.

Finally, a high, medium, or low Classification score should be interpreted within the context of the HAB as a whole. For example, if you receive a “high” score for three driving abilities–with Classification being one of them–you’ll want to think about the types of environments that could satisfy all three. If you do not receive a “high” Classification score, you will not need to satisfy it on a frequent basis in order to feel fulfilled but may find its associated considerations useful as you evaluate possible careers and work arrangements. Your Highlands consultant will be able to help you better understand how your ability groupings work together and inform one another.

Final Thoughts – The Classification Ability

Understanding where you fall on the Classification continuum will not only enable you to make more informed decisions about prospective academic and work environments but also help you understand your decision-making style. As a result, you’ll be better able to gauge both major and career fit, especially when you understand how your Classification ability factors into the big picture.

If you’re interested in working with one of College Transitions’ certified Highlands Consultants, we encourage you to get a quote today.

Looking for additional major and career-related advice? Consider checking out the following blogs: