The Reversals Frequency Test

A Diagnostic Instrument for Assessing Objectively Number and Letter Reversals


  • Useful in diagnosis of children with learning disabilities
  • Helpful for differentiating between neurologically based & psychogenic learning disabilities
  • Objective assessment of letter and number reversal frequency

Children who have reached the third grade and above, who still exhibit reversals, are considered suspect for the presence of a neurologically based learning disability, especially dyslexia. Most teachers will agree, however, that there are children above the second grade, with no evidence of a learning disability, who still exhibit reversals. At what age and academic level can we say, then that the presence of reversals is pathological and what reversals frequency would warrant such a conclusion?

In an attempt to answer such questions and objectify reversals assessment, Dr. Gardner has devised and standardized three tests of reversals frequency. On the Reversals Execution subtest, the child is asked to write a specific list of numbers and letters. On the Reversals Recognition subtest, the child is presented with an array of numbers and letters, some of which are correctly oriented and some of which are presented as mirror images. The child is asked to place across over all incorrectly oriented items. In the Reversals Matching subtest, each item consists of a model number or letter followed by four samples of the same letter or number. One of the four samples is correctly oriented like the model, the other three are inverted and/or rotated in various ways. The child is asked to place a circle around the one that matches the model.

Each subtest is scored separately because each provides different kinds of information related to reversals errors. Mean, ranges, standard deviations, and percentile ranks are provided for both normal children and those known to have neurologically based learning disabilities.