The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT ) is a test to measure students’ cognitive abilities in reasoning, problem solving, and is usually administrated to K-12 students in identifying the gifted students with co-normed Iowa Tests of Basic Skills(ITBS). It was developed by Professor David F. Lohman at University of Iowa. The CogAT was first published in 1968.

CogAT is not an IQ test, but it measures a child’sreasoning and problem-solving abilities in three key areas (verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal), and can provide a comprehensive view of a student’s overall reasoning abilities. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for different individual and can be learned and can be improved. It is very helpful for the parents to understand their kid’s strengths and weaknesses, but the results and scores may baffle parents and guardians.

CogAT Free Practice

Measures reasoning skills:
• Comprehend problem situations
• Detect similarities & differences
• Make inferences
• Make deductions
• Classify & categorize objects, events, & other stimuli
• Create & adapt problem-solving strategies
• Use familiar concepts & skills in new contexts

You might see a CogAT report like this

CogAT Report
CogAT Report

There are three types of CogAT Scores.
Raw Score. The raw score is calculated first by counting the total number of questions correctly answered. There is no penalty for answering questions incorrectly.
Universal Scale Score. The universal scale score is a normalized standard score, derived from the raw score. Each battery has its own score. And a composite score is also calculated by averaging the three batteries scores. It describes a student’s location on a continuous growth scale of cognitive development.

Standard Age Score (SAS) this is a normalized age score for all the universal scale scores. These scores tell you how your child compares to the other students in their age group. It has a median score of 100 with a standard deviation (SD) of 16, which is just a fancy way of saying that most students fall within 16 points of the mean (84 to 116). Sixty-eight percent of the general population will fall between -1 SD (one standard deviation below the mean) and +1 SD (one standard deviation above the mean). 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.

CogAT Standard Age Score
CogAT Standard Age Score

Percentile Rank (PR). This score is used to compare students to other students in their age and grade. A student with a SAS of 100 on the Verbal Battery has the rate and level of development of verbal reasoning skills that are typical for his/her age group. A student with percentile rank of 98 means that a student scored better than 98.

Stanine (S). A stanine is a very broad, simplified normalized score that ranges from 1-9. 9 is the highest possible score and 1 is the lowest score.

CogAT Stanine
CogAT Stanine

CogAT profile

A student’s CogAT profile is based on the pattern of scores from the administration of the three tests that are part of the CogAT (verbal, quantitative, non-verbal).
These scores are then used in conjunction to determine a student’s score profile. Score profiles provide a comprehensive view of a student’s overall performance on the CogAT, as well as individual strengths and weaknesses. A sample score profile looks like this:

4C(Q+ N-)

A score profile consists of two basic parts: the middle stanine score, and the score type. Each of the three batteries (Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal) receives an individual stanine score. The middle stanine score is attained by finding the middle score among the three battery stanine scores. If a student earned a 3, 4 and 5 on the three batteries, then their middle stanine score would be 4. The middle stanine score is the number given in the score profile. In the above example, it is 4.

These profiles consist of A, B, C, and E and are provided for each of the three CogAT tests.

“A” Profiles. In an A profile, the student’s verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal scores are roughly at the same level. There is only one other piece of information provided by the test, and that is the overall height, or level, of the profile. This type of profile is what we would expect if reasoning ability were a single dimension. It is the pattern assumed whenever a student’s ability is summarized in a single score. About one-third of students obtain this profile.

“B” Profiles. In a B profile, one of the three battery scores is above or below the other two scores. The student shows a relative strength (when one score is above the other two) or a relative weakness (when one score is below the other two). For example, B (V+) means that the scores show a B profile with a strength in verbal reasoning; B (N–) means a relative weakness on the Nonverbal Battery. Overall, approximately 40 percent of students obtain a B profile. Thus, B profiles are more common than A profiles.

“C” Profiles. This profile is called C for Contrast. The student shows a relative strength and a relative weakness. This pattern is much less common. About 14 percent of students have a C profile. A student who shows a relative strength on the Verbal Battery and a relative weakness on the Quantitative Battery would have a C (V+ Q–) profile. “E” Profiles. The B or C profile for some students is much more extreme than for others.

“E” Profiles. This profile is called the Extreme profile. Students with an E profile generally have significant differences 24 or more points on the SAS scale between their scores on two of the three tests.

Remember reasoning skills can be improved greatly with practice.

Grade K-2 General Membership

Grade K-2 Advanced Membership

Grade 3-4 General Membership

Grade 3-4 Advanced Membership

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