About My Child's Assessment

RISD Advanced Learning Services

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What does CogAT measure?

CogAT measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for different individuals. Reasoning abilities are good predictors of success in school and are important outcomes of good schooling. CogAT does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which also contribute importantly to school achievement.

Why CogAT?

Building on strengths and developing weaknesses: Teachers use CogAT scores to help students learn more effectively. For example, if a student’s score profile shows an uneven pattern of relative strength and weakness, the teacher can provide challenging opportunities for the student to do the kind of thinking he/she does best (building on the student’s strength). The teacher can also support aspects of new tasks that rely on a student’s relative weakness. When the student has established a foothold in an area, the teacher can guide her/him to develop the relatively weaker reasoning skill by applying this skill to the familiar task (strengthening the student’s weakness).

Identify GT: The school district will also use the CogAT test results to help identify students who qualify for gifted services.

How do the three batteries of CogAT differ?


Because CogAT is nationally normed, an individual’s test performance can be compared with the test performances of other students throughout the nation who are the same age.

National Norms: The student’s national age score shows how that student's scores compare to others who took the test.

Local Norms: In our case, we use the age norms so the comparison is in a three-month window. Remember, the Texas State Plan requires that we consider students who are advanced "when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment." At RISD, we use local norms to compare students' performance to others within their school and the district.

Percentile: This score, shown as %ile, shows how a student scores compared to other students. For example, a score of 95%ile means a student scored better than 95 out of 100 his or her age who took the test.

Standard Age Score: This score is often converted to a percentile. They are also called index scores. This score conforms to a normal distribution that can be plotted on a Bell Curve.

Standard Error of Measure: Tests must determine how reliable they are. Reliability refers to how consistent scores would be if a person took the test multiple times. We apply a standard error of measure to the Student Age Score to account for the reliability factor.

Using the Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability, and Nonverbal Ability scores, students may qualify for gifted services by having an SAS (Standard Age Score) of 130 or more in two areas. With a Standard Error of Measure (SEM) of 3, qualifying scores may be reflected as 127.

Johnsen, et. al. Implementing Evidence-Based Practices in Gifted Education, 2021, p. 37-38.

Who to Contact

Talbot Boulter

Administrative Specialist

Advanced Learning Programs and Services