CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test)

A Cognitive Abilities Test is something that is unlike other tests.  It is a learning abilities evaluation that says little about what students actually already know and more about what they are capable of figuring out.  Each of us uses different skills to solve a problem, in fact, no two individuals will usually approach a problem from the same perspective.  Although there are natural tendencies, each person is different.  The CogAT test is a way to determine which skills your child is using to reason through a problem and to come to a conclusion.


The cognitive testing that is done measures your child's ability according to three different areas, quantitative, verbal and non-verbal skills.  When a person is confronted with a problem, they have the ability to use any of these reasoning skills to solve it.  For example, if your child encounters a problem that is quantitative in nature and they have a highly functioning quantitative skill set, they will do better than someone who is functioning higher in verbal reasoning.  Therefore, the test really is just a measure of how well a person is able to solve general problems that require either one, two or all of the reasoning skills that should be at their disposal.


Verbal subtest:  measures verbal aptitude, word knowledge and concepts, facility with language, verbal reasoning, and analogies.  Students with high verbal scores usually do well in reading and language activities.  Since most classroom instruction and assignments are language-based, these students typically perform very well in the classroom on a daily basis. 


Quantitative subtest:  measures mathematical reasoning and problem solving, numerical sequences and patterns, and manipulation of mathematical concepts.  Students with high quantitative scores usually do well with complex mathematical or numerical activities and concepts.  Students with low quantitative scores may need supplemental instruction in basic math skills to achieve success.


Non-verbal subtest:  measures reasoning and problem solving with patterns and relationships, pictorial analogies, and categories.  This subtest is also helpful for obtaining an accurate assessment of the cognitive abilities of a student who may have limited proficiency in English or who has had limited opportunities to acquire verbal or quantitative knowledge.  Students with high non-verbal scores often do well with logic, models, creative thinking, constructions or building, technology or other non-language based activities.  Because the problem solving skills on the non-verbal subtest have little direct correlation to most reading, writing and math instruction, students with high non-verbal scores who have strong aptitudes in this area may not be easily recognized in the classroom.