The new Form 7 version of the CogAT was released in 2011, and it offers changes and improvements over the previous version.
We examine how CogAT Form 7 retains the basic elements which made the test the most reputable and popular reasoning abilities test in the US. Learn what you can in advance to decide if you want your child to attempt the CogAT practice test.
Cognitive Abilities Test Form 7 (CogAT Form 7)
The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) was first launched in 1968.
It has undergone many revisions, until it has become one of the most reputable and widely used tests to gauge reasoning abilities in students.
CogAT Form 7 was released in 2011, after nine years of extensive research.
It retained the features which made it popular and trusted, while it also added revisions which made it even better than previous versions.
In fact, the enhancements in the Form 7 were the most significant ever since it was first launched.
What Remains the Same in CogAT Form 7
The testing time is still the same.
This means that the tests are still able to fit within typical school schedules.
There are still three different batteries of tests: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. These are the areas in reasoning abilities which are closely related to academic success.
Teachers and educators can still administer one or all batteries depending on their requirements and the requirements of the students. Different formats are still used for the batteries of tests.
This ensures that the score reflects the student’s reasoning ability and not just their preference for or affinity with a specific type of test format.
This use of different formats makes the scores fair and more valid. Educators still get to use an ability profile for the students.
New CogAT Test Format for K to 2nd Grade
The Form 7 version of the CogAT for the primary levels from kindergarten to 2nd grade is markedly different than the Form 6 version.
The most notable differences:
For the Form 6 version, the instructions are given out by the teachers in oral English.
In the Form 7 version, this is now in either oral English or in Spanish.
This change was made to acknowledge the changing language landscape in the US. For most of the country’s history, an overwhelming majority of the students spoke English as their native language.
It made sense to have the teacher read the question aloud while they chose the picture which answered the question. Now, however, there are a growing number of students who are not native English speakers.
Approximately 21% of school-aged children speak a language other than English at home.
And approximately 5% students speak a language other than English, and find it difficult to speak English.
On the Form 6 version of the CogAT, four of the six types of tests (oral vocabulary and verbal reasoning in the verbal battery, and relational concepts and quantitative concepts in the quantitative battery) were in English.
It was only in the figure classification and matrices in the nonverbal battery which used nonverbal questions in the form of pictures.
On the Form 7 version of the test for the primary levels, every type of test format were in nonverbal forms. The sole exception is the sentence completion part of the verbal battery, which used English or Spanish.
And that’s an optional part of the test. Because English is not easily understood by many students in the country, the switch to nonverbal means of representing problems (pictures and figures) became a much more effective means of accurately measuring the true reasoning ability levels of US students.
Squares and pictures of flowers are easily understood, whether or not a student speaks English.
The format for the primary levels now more closely resembles that of the tests for the older students.
For the verbal battery, there are picture analogies, picture classification, and sentence completion.
In the quantitative battery, there are number analogies, number series, and number puzzles.
In the nonverbal battery, there are figure matrices, figure classification, and paper folding.
This change was instituted because the different formats for the older students sometimes produced markedly different scores from the scores they received when they were in the primary levels.
With the increased similarity in formats, there is now greater consistency of results even when students take the CogAT at different points in time.
Now if there is a change, it can no longer be attributed to the difference in the format.
Some other factors may be involved.
CogAT Form 7 Sample Questions for 2nd Grade
If you have a 2nd grader in your family who’s about to take the CogAT 7 version, here are the kinds of questions you can expect for the various sub-tests:
Verbal, picture / verbal analogies. For example, the student will be shown a pair of pictures, for example, a foot and a shoe.
The third picture might be a hand, and the fourth picture is chosen from three possible answer choices: a hand mirror, a hammer, and a glove.
Since the shoe is worn on the foot, then the right answer is the glove because the glove is worn on the hand.
The hand mirror and the hammer can be grasped by the hand, but not worn.
Verbal, sentence completion.
The student is asked to indicate which one of the animals represented by the pictures in the answer choices swims in the ocean.
There’s a picture of a monkey, a cat, and a shark.
And although it is theoretically possible that a monkey and a cat can swim in the ocean, these are not the best answers.
The best answer is the shark, which actually lives and swims in the ocean.
In general, the most suitable answer is the right answer for these kinds of tests.
One rule you can teach your child when taking these tests is that the obvious right answer is the best answer.
If you need to explain why your answer can be right (“The cat fell from the ship and it swam!”) then it’s not the best answer.
This part of the test for primary levels (K to 2nd grade) is optional, but it is included because verbal abilities are extremely crucial for academic success.
The CogAT Sentence Completion Test for the Verbal portion can be given in English or Spanish.
It follows the traditional method of having the teacher read aloud the question while the student chooses the picture that answers the question.
Verbal, Picture / verbal classification.
Here the student must figure out how three items represented by pictures are similar to each other.
For example, the student may be shown pictures of three kinds of balls: a basketball, a volleyball, and a baseball.
Among the answer choices, there’s a soccer ball, a basketball ring and a baseball glove.
The right answer here is the soccer ball, even though the other options are also sports equipment.
But the soccer ball is not just a piece of sports equipment, but a kind of sports ball as well.
This makes it the best (and therefore the correct) answer.
Quantitative, number analogies. In this part, three pictures are shown to the student.
The first two have some form of numerical relationship.
The student is required to find the fourth picture among the answer choices which has the same relationship with the third picture.
For example, in the first two pictures, there’s a picture of a single pear, and then a picture of a pear cut into two halves.
The third picture is a single apple.
Therefore the right answer is the picture of an apple cut into two halves as well.
Quantitative, number puzzles.
This type of question offers pictorial representations of mathematical problems.
For example, there are two pictures shown: a box with 4 dots inside, and a picture of two boxes with one box showing 3 dots.
The other box has a question mark.
This is a simple mathematical representation.
The right answer is a box with a single dot, so that the second picture has the same number of dots (4 dots) as the first picture.
Quantitative, number series.
For older students, this may be done with just numbers.
But for 2nd graders, pictorial representations of the numbers are used.
For example, one string has a single bead, the next string has two beads, and then the next has three beads.
Then the next has one bead, next comes two bead, and then the next has three.
What comes next?
The student should then pick the string with the single bead.
Nonverbal, figure matrices.
The matrices here show three boxes, with the fourth box empty.
The top two boxes have some sort of relationship, which then offers a clue as to which picture fits best in the empty box at the bottom.
For example, the top two pictures show a large square and a small square.
The first bottom picture shows a large circle, so the right answer here is a small circle.
Nonverbal, paper folding.
The questions for older students here may involve punching holes in folded paper with the student trying to figure out how the holes in the paper will look like.
For 2nd graders and below, the questions here are about how the paper will look once they are folded.
Nonverbal, figure classification.
Like the figure classification tests in the verbal part, here the student is again required to find how figures and shapes are similar to each other.
For example, the test may show a shaded circle, square, and triangle.
The best answer may be a shaded rectangle, compared to other options like an unshaded rectangle or trapezoid.
Final Notes When Choosing Your CogAT Form 7 Practice Test
While the CogAT Form 7 is the latest and most improved version of the test, you can’t assume that the school your child attends will be using it for their testing.
Some schools will still insist on using CogAT Form 6, and there are even some schools who continue to use Form 5.
There are several reasons why a school may decide to refrain from using Form 7.
The most commonly cited reason is the expense of transferring to the new version of CogAT.
This involves a fairly serious financial investment for the school, and some schools simply cannot afford it.
Other schools may not be all that eager to have their teachers learn and master another CogAT version.
This requires time and effort, and some school administrators may be reluctant to undergo that kind of training again.
Finally, there are always those people, even among educators, who believe in the adage if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
This is not exactly a principle that encourages improvement, progress and development, but that kind of belief still persists in some academic circles.
What these all mean is that before you purchase a CogAT Form 7 practice test for your child, you should confirm your child’s school will administer the Form 7 version.
Ask the school which version they are using, and then buy the appropriate practice materials for your child.
As a parent, you may want to participate in efforts to help convince the school to switch to the new version.
It’s an improved version, and more and more schools are adopting it.
By switching, the school may have a more accurate idea of how their students measure up in their ability to reason.
They can tailor their educational approaches to make them more effective, and they can offer a better selection process for their advanced school learning programs.
And there’s one distinct advantage for the CogAT Form 7 version. Teachers can download practice activities for the CogAT for free, so that the students can be prepared equally even if their parents don’t buy or cannot afford to buy practice guides for the CogAT.