Cognitive impairment is a prominent feature of schizophrenia. The availability of very brief measures may increase the use of cognitive assessment in routine care settings. We examined the reliability and validity of the brief cognitive assessment (BCA), a battery that takes approximately 15 min to administer and score, and that was designed to be sensitive to changes in cognition with novel antipsychotics. The BCA was administered to 340 outpatients on two occasions, 3 months apart. A sub-sample of subjects received a full battery of cognitive tests (n=97) and additional measures of functional outcome. Results indicated that the BCA had very good test-retest reliability and inter-item consistency. Moreover, the BCA was strongly correlated with a comprehensive battery (r=0.72; p<0.0001) which took 8 to 10 times longer to administer. Finally, both cognitive batteries were correlated similarly with measures of community functioning. Changes over time for individual patients can be interpreted in the context of normative data available for each test in the BCA. The data provide preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of the BCA. Further studies examining the utility of the BCA for tracking changes in cognitive functioning with treatment are encouraged.