The CogAT Scores measure a child’s reasoning abilities in three key areas (verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal) but the results and scores may baffle many parents, guardians, and adult test takers. This article will help to shed some light behind the meaning of those scores.
The CogAT is not really your typical school test. For most students, tests are designed to see how well they’ve learned and retained the information presented to them in their school lessons. The tests try to see what they’ve learned. But CogAT does not test to see what a child has learned.
Instead, it tries to evaluate how well a child learns. With the info gained from these tests, teachers can then gain valuable insight that can help them assist and teach their students more effectively.
These CogAT scores can also be very helpful for parents. After all, parents and guardians are also responsible for their child’s education and mental development. With the insights provided by the CogAT, they can work in conjunction with teachers in order to provide the best type of assistance for their child. However, the scores may not actually tell parents much.
That is, unless these scores are explained much more fully so that the parents can understand the picture the CogAT is painting.
Understanding CogAT Scores
Interpreting CogAT test scores
Teachers are well versed at interpreting CogAT test scores—after all, it’s their job to know those things. But the same cannot be said of parents who see the scores of their children after they’ve taken the CogAT. Those numbers may very well be gibberish for all the insight they provide for parents.
But parents can learn how to interpret these numbers so that they can understand what all these scores mean. Here are explanations for various parts of the CogAT test scores:
- Abilities. The CogAT, as has been mentioned, tests three different types of cognitive abilities. There’s the verbal section, which evaluates your child’s ability to remember and change sequences of English words. The way your child understands the words are measured, and so is their ability to infer implications based on the meaning of those words.
The quantitative portion of the test is all about numbers. Your child’s ability to find relationships among numbers and equations are measured. They may be asked to state what number comes next in a sequence. They may also be asked to use numbers and symbols to form the right equation.
Finally, there is the nonverbal part of the test. This is mostly about shapes and symbols. This portion examines the reasoning skills of your child when it does not involve words at all. Your child may be asked to choose which shapes are most alike, for example.
There is also a composite score, in which the total score is derived for all the batteries of tests. If your child scores 90 on the composite score, then it means that the child did better overall than 90% of the students in their age group.
- Standard Age Scores (SAS). For each portion and the composite, you’ll then see an age score. These scores tell you how your child compares to the other students in their age group.
The SAS has a mean of 100, which just tells you that a score of 100 is average for the age group. It has a standard deviation of 16, which is just a fancy way of saying that most students fall within 16 points of the mean (84 to 116). So a child who has an SAS score of 130 reveals that the child has a higher level and a faster rate of development in verbal reasoning skills than the other children in their age group.
- Stanine Age Scores. The next batch of scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 9, and they group percentile ranks to give you a clearer idea of your child’s ranking among others of their age. A score of 9 means that the child is among the top 96% to 99% of the students in their age group.
Stanine, % Rank, Description
9 96-99 Very High
8 89-95 Above Average
7 77-88 Above Average
6 60-76 Average
5 40-59 Average
4 23-39 Average
3 11-22 Below Average
2 4-10 Below Average
1 1-3 Very Low
- Age Percentile Rank. This is just a more specific idea of how the child ranks among their age group in the entire country. So a score of 82 on a the verbal portion means that 82% of the students in their age group in the country scored less than your child did.
- APR Graph. This is simply a graph which shows your child’s age percentile rank. The score is represented by the diamond surrounded by a rectangle. The diamond represents the score, such as 82. The rectangle represents the confidence interval. In other words, the real score of your child is actually somewhere between 72 and 92, for example. There’s always an expectation of error, so the score offers a plus or minus range.
The error scores are different for each child. For example, the error score may be larger if your child performs inconsistently to question items in the same battery of tests. Your child may have been unable to provide the right answers for the easier items, but was able to give the right answers for the more difficult ones.
That’s an inconsistency, and the error score will reflect it. Another possible error factor is if the child does poorly in one section of a specific portion (the verbal portion, for example) but does really well in another area of the same portion.
- Raw scores. This part gives you three numbers for each test portion. These numbers represent the number of items on the test, the number of items your child tried to answer, and the number of correct answers for each portion.
- Grade scores. These show how your child compares to other students in the same age group in the entire country.
- Local scores. These show how your child compares to other students in the same age group in the same school system.
- CogAT profile. Taking the various scores for all the portions of the test as a whole also gives the profile for your child. With the profile, appropriate steps and measures can then be taken so that your child gets the right kind of educational help.
The A profile means that your child’s scores across all the portions (verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal) are roughly the same. This profile applies to about 1 out of 3 students.
The B profile applies when one of the scores is either much higher or much lower than the two others. This then reveals a child’s relative strength (one is higher than the others) or relative weakness (one is lower than the others). About 40% of all students get this profile.
The C profile denotes “contrast”. This is when a child has both a relative strength and a relative weakness. About 14% of students have a profile like this.
Finally, there’s the E profile, which stands for “extreme”. This applies when there’s at least a 24 point difference between two of the scores in the CogAT. So if a child scores a 90 on verbal and a 65 on nonverbal, then the E profile applies.
How CogAT Test Results Can Help Parents and Teachers
The scores a child gets after taking the CogAT is not just for the sake of satisfying curiosity about the children’s reasoning abilities. There are actually some practical reasons for children to take the test. CogAT scores can be used by parents and teachers in several possible ways:
- They can be used to gauge a child’s reasoning abilities. In fact, it can be used to evaluate the reasoning abilities of classes and various groups of students. This can provide teachers some valuable insights as to how their students learn, so that they can tailor and tweak their instructional methods to help students learn their lessons in school.
Teachers can teach to the strengths of the children. They can also plan their lessons around the weaknesses common to most of the children in their class. Those students who are also having some difficulty may get the extra help they need.
- They can help identify children with special learning difficulties. For example, a child may not do well with the verbal portions of the test but get excellent scores on the other portions. This may mean that the student may have some trouble with verbal comprehension. This can alert teachers to provide extra attention to verbal matters. Some tutoring may be offered for subjects which rely heavily on verbal instruction.
- They can help predict how students will perform in the near future. The correlation between CogAT and school performance is obvious, especially when the test is used in conjunction with other tests such as the Iowa Tests. So a child with much higher scores may be expected to perform well in school. But if the child does not do well in school, then some other factor may be affecting the child’s ability to get better grades.
That factor must then be identified and corrected so that the child can perform as expected. There are many possible reasons why a child with high test scores in the CogAT may perform poorly in school. They may be experiencing some emotional problems, or perhaps they are being bullied in school or experiencing problems at home.
Maybe they are not being motivated properly, or perhaps they are afraid of getting too much attention when they get good grades in school. By correctly identifying the problem, measures can then be taken in order to help the student get the grade that better reflects their abilities.
- The test can identify gifted children who can make the most of special educational programs. Some schools offer educational programs for more gifted students. These programs offer school subjects that may be more challenging, and this can help with gifted students who may well be bored with the standard school lessons. But average or below average students may not prosper well in those programs, because they will consider it too difficult.
With the CogAT, the gifted students can be identified so that they can be chosen for the special advanced school program.
Benefits of CogAT Test Practice Materials
There are some differences of opinion as to how helpful various CogAT practice materials are for preparing your child for this test. Educational Games To Help With The CogAT Assessment
First you need to be aware of flawed practice materials. Some materials don’t reflect the range of questions accurately, while others may not offer the same format as the CogAT. Some of these materials may even use imprecise English, which may indicate that it was prepared by someone who learned English as a second language. This can be very detrimental for your child, since the use of English in the CogAT is crucial.
In general, preparing properly for the CogAT can be good for your child, especially if they are older. Younger children may not appreciate having to take a practice test, but older students can see the value of these. They can at least alleviate their anxiety by knowing how the exams work.
The type of questions they face in the real test may also not be as intimidating if they have already faced similar question before.
When it comes to these types of tests, it’s very easy to score much lower than what they could have, and more difficult to score higher than what their real CogAT score should be. With the right preparation, at least your child can increase the chances of scoring the highest score they can possibly achieve.
When the CogAT determines their participation for a special educational opportunity, then these scores are much more important. Just remember though, that the CogAT measures reasoning and problem-solving skills. But these are not the only predictors of academic success.
The CogAT does not measure work habits, motivation, and attention, and as a parent you need to help in these areas as well.
Here are some additional Resource to Understanding Kid’s CogAT Scores:
How Important Are The Results Of A Cogat Test
What To Do If You Are Questioning Your Child’s Cogat Scores
How To Interpret Your Child’s Cogat Scores And Their School Success
Understanding CogAT Scores Are Helpful to Parents