Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) Explained

Every second grade child throughout Jeffco takes the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in the fall as a screening tool to assist in the identification of gifted potential. The CogAT is a 90-minute assessment that is comprised of three subsections:
• Verbal: reasoning and vocabulary
• Quantitative: relational and number concepts
• Non-Verbal: understanding spatial relationship

The Cognitive Abilities Test appraises the level and pattern of cognitive development of students in grades K-12. The development of these abilities, which starts at birth and continues through early adulthood, is influenced by experiences both in and out of school. An individual’s score on the CogAT primarily reflects his or her ability to discover relationships and to demonstrate flexibility in thinking at this particular stage in their cognitive development. To learn more about your child’s individual Student Ability Profile go to www.cogat.com. Simply click on the interactive profile Interpretation system button and select the profile from your child’s report.

The two scores that are generally reported on the Cognitive Abilities Test are
Differences in percentile scores can lead to over interpretation of small differences in scores between individual students or among scores for the same student. For example, there will be no observable differences in the classroom between a student who has a Percentile Rank of 45 and one with a Percentile Rank of 55. They would both exhibit average levels of development in a particular area. On the other hand, you would see observable differences in the classroom for students with more than one stanine difference in their scores. Three different students with Stanines of 9, 6, and 4 will show clear differences in the ways they approach learning and problem solving tasks, in the ways they interact with different instructional strategies and learning environments, in the rate in which they learn, and in the amounts and kinds of help they need to learn successfully.
Stanine and Percentile Rank. Although related, each has subtle differences in their interpretation. A Percentile Rank is a score ranging from 1 to 99 that indicates what percentage of grade-mates or age- mates a child out performed on a particular sub-test. A student scoring at the 40th percentile means they have scored better than 40% of grade level students who initially took the test nationwide. A percentile can also be found when comparing ages of children. Stanine scores range from a low of I to a high of 9. Stanines are groupings of percentile ranks. A higher stanine equates with a higher level of cognitive abilities development. A comparison of Stanines and Percentile Ranks are summarized in the table below:
Stanine Percentile Rank Description
9 96-99 Very High
8 89-95
7 77-88 Above Average
6 60-76
5 40-59 Average
4 23-39
3 11-22 Below Average
2 4-10
1 1-3 Very Low

As you analyze your child’s data, and if there is one or more areas of strength in the 9
th stanine, I encourage you to talk your child’s teacher to begin the body of evidence data collection process to assist in content specific programming, which includes your input in the form of a Parent Perception document. It is important to note that no educational decisions are made based on a single data point – the CogAT is one piece of data that is incorporated into your child’s body of evidence. As we continue to gather a body of evidence around an area of academic strength, an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) may be created. If an ALP is generated based on this data collection process, you will be informed by your child’s classroom teacher.

We are committed to the success of every child in our district. If you need assistance interpreting data or would like to learn more about programming strategies and options, feel free to visit the Gifted and Talented website at:
www.jeffcopublicschools.org/programs/gifted_talented. GT Resource Teachers are available to assist you with questions, support your child’s classroom teacher and your child. Our Leawood district Resource teacher contact information is listed below:
Penelope Heinigk, Ph.D.
Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher
Department of Diverse Learners
809 Quail Street, Building #1
Lakewood, CO 80215
303-982-3006 (phone)
303-982-0469 (fax)