CogAT test is a useful determination of a person’s overall ability to comprehend and to learn. But how important are the results of a CogAT test?
It all depends on the school.
Depending on the reason the school administers the CogAT, the results can be very important for your child.
It does a good job at predicting how well a child will do over the course of their studies. CogAT test results can also be useful to pinpoint a child’s strengths in order to further develop them.
CogAT is an overall cognitive abilities exam that measures students’ problem-solving capabilities and their likelihood for success in school.
Innate reasoning capabilities and critical thinking skills are useful predictors for children’s lifetime learning ability.
It’s essential for you to find out what the school does with students’ CogAT results.
Reasons schools administer the CogAT
Schools have students take the CogAT test for many reasons. You must find out what your school does with the CogAT scores. Call the school or school district office to find out.
It’s certainly better to know this before your child takes the test so you can decide how much to help him/her prepare.
If your child has already taken the CogAT, and the scores are already in, it’s important to learn how their scores will impact them at school.
We have been in school districts in many different states. They all used it for different reasons. Here are a few reasons we encountered.
Special enrichment class
In one school district, they were starting a district-wide gifted program. They tested all the elementary school-aged students to see who placed in the 90% or higher. Their plan was to bus those students from the various schools to one school for twice-a-month enrichment.
To have a baseline
In another school district, our elementary school was from K – 4th grades. They had kindergarten students take the CogAT to see where they were.
While my son performed exceptionally high (98 – 100% percent) on the three sections, it didn’t matter. There wasn’t a special gifted program. However, in fourth grade, students took the test again. Those CogAT results mattered.
To place students on different tracks
In the school I discussed above, fourth grade students took the CogAT in the spring. The school administration used the CogAT results to place the kids in the intermediate school which was 5th and 6th grades.
We had five elementary schools in the district with all the students feeding into one intermediate school. There were approximately 500 – 650 students going into fifth grade, depending on the year.
The school used the students’ CogAT results to place them in the different tracks. Each track had approximately 90 kids, who stayed together that year, rotating through three teachers.
We knew a family who had a fourth grader who earned high grades in his standardized state tests as well as earning straight A’s. However, his CogAT scores were not all in the 90 percentile or above. He was in the second highest track, not the highest, like they wanted.
For them, this was a big difference. For his sixth grade year, they transferred him to a private school.
If you wanted your child to be in the highest and second highest track, it would be crucial for your child to score well on the CogAT.
To get into a gifted program
At a third school district we were at, the teachers selected students at the elementary school they thought would do well on the CogAT.
Those students would take the CogAT. If they scored a 96% or higher, they were admitted into the gifted program in one of the disciplines: Verbal, Non-Verbal, or Quantitative.
Those students who scored high enough to get into one of the weekly classes would leave the classroom teacher to attend the gifted class with other students in that grade.
If you scored at least a 96% in one section of the CogAT, you needed a 90% to get into either of the other two gifted classes.
Entrance exam for high school
We know of several high schools that use the CogAT as an entrance exam. Students usually take the CogAT in December or January in their 8th grade year. Some schools encourage students to take it in the spring of their 7th grade year.
These are schools that are selective with regards to “getting in.” These may be highly competitive magnet schools or private schools. In addition to CogAT scores, they look at GPA.
Results of a CogAT Test
How important are the results of the CogAT test?
CogAT test results measure three major factors that combine to give an impression of a child’s abilities.
- Non-verbal reasoning skills
It is only a guide, as there are many other factors that will enhance or inhibit the success of any child.
If you are wondering if you should let your child take the CogAT test, you must read this.
Although it is important to have a score to determine the level of functioning for your child, it is also important to not label, or predetermine the capabilities of the child based on the overall scores that they receive.
They should be a useful guide for helping the child, or to aid in assistance, but should not be a means of holding the child back, or to put limitations on expectations for them.
There are many children who are good test-takers and many who are not.
The way that your child performs on any given test is not always a fair representation of their abilities.
There are things like test anxiety, or attention deficit issues that can alter the results and render them not as useful as you may think.
A great thing to do for your child is to let them see the types of questions on the CogAT.
There are three sections to each test (verbal, quantitative, non-verbal).
Letting your child learn about the nine types of questions — in advance of the test — is one of the best things you can do for your child.
They will know what they are supposed to do. Because of this, they will be calm and more confident. They won’t waste valuable time trying to figure out the directions.
Sample CogAT questions and CogAT practice tests
- Kindergarten CogAT
- CogAT practice test for 1st grade
- 2nd grade CogAT practice
- 3rd grade and 4th grade CogAT practice test
- 5th grade CogAT test
If your child is not used to taking tests, or has the inability to focus for whatever reason, the results will not be of much help to determine their overall success and should be considered in such a light.
The importance of a CogAT test is that it can be a useful guide to helping your child if they are having difficulty in one area.
It is also a fantastic test to single out particular strengths your child has.
As an example, spatial reasoning skills.
By using the cognitive test as a guide, it is useful.
However, a lot depends on how your child was feeling that day.
Did he/she get enough sleep and eat a healthy breakfast, etc.?
If your child is set to take a CogAT test, it is helpful if you prepare them for it by helping ease any anxiety that they may be having.
Taking time to review practice questions with your child
Your children want, above all else, to please you.
Make sure that you don’t put too much pressure on them, or make them feel as if it is more important than it is.
If you put too much stress on them than the importance of the test will certainly not only be less, but the results will yield much less useful information for their overall outcome in school.
Review the CogAT workbook together.
Read a few pages in advance of going over them with your child so you will be calm.
Then, enjoy the time with your child, making it fun and special time together in a stress-free environment.
Even if you child doesn’t place into an advanced program his or her school may have, by working on the CogAT workbooks, they will gain valuable, intangible skills that are not often taught in the classroom.
So yes, your child’s CogAT results can matter a great deal. If you believe your child will do well in an enrichment or gifted program, it is important to learn more from your school district. Find how why they administer the CogAT and what they do with the scores from CogAT testing.