How to Read CogAT Scores?

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Has your child taken the CogAT test, and you are unsure how to read the CogAT scoresheet? Are you curious about what the CogAT is and looking for more information on what you or your child can expect? If your answer is yes, you have come to the right place.

Instead, your child is in first grade or eleventh grade; they can expect to see the CogAT exam in the near future. Put yourself ahead of the curve and get all the information you need to help them succeed and understand how to read the CogAT score chart.

All you have to do to get this information and more is to keep reading.

What are CogAT Scores, and How are They Used?What are CogAT Scores, and How are They Used?

Before you know how the test is scored, it’s crucial to understand how it is formatted. The exam is split into three batteries. These batteries include Verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal. Each of these batteries includes three different subtests that students must take for the section to be complete.   These subtests are listed below:

  • Verbal Battery
    • Sentence Completion
    • Picture Classification
    • Picture Analogies
  • Quantitative Battery
    • Number Series
    • Number Analogies
    • Number Puzzles
  • Non-Verbal Battery:
    • Classifying Numbers
    • Number Matrices
    • Paper Folding

The CogAT test, or the cognitive abilities exam, measures your child’s cognitive progress. It aims to tell you how your child is stacking up against their peers and helps determine gifted students. The test is administered in grades k – 12. As your child grows, you will ultimately get to see how their abilities change over time. The test will also aid in identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this information could help your child get back on track and adequately prepare for the next test, potentially happening the following year.

When scoring the exam, two norms are used. These include age and grade. These norms allow students’ individual scores to be compared to other students of the same age or grade level. Students are grouped from ages 4 to age 18. Students are grouped in monthly increments.

A child’s CogAT scores help to determine their educational future. This score will determine if a student will be placed in a school’s academically gifted program or place them on the road to advanced placement for some institutions.    The test can also be offered at different grade levels, depending on where your child attends school. This can be for a variety of reasons.

The CogAT test can be used to keep track of education milestones. For example, a student with a high score in elementary school may be placed in gifted courses when going into middle school or during their middle school to high school transition. Outside of determining if your child is gifted or not, they give teachers an idea of how they can best help students.

Parents are also provided with a Pattern Indicator. This indicator is represented by letters and provides parents with different ability patterns. Each letter has a diverse pattern representation.

A A student has the same ability in all batteries.
B The student has proven they have a relative strength or weakness. The student has scored above or below the other two in a particular battery.
C Two scores of a student drastically contrast each other.
D Two scores differ by 24 or more raw score points

CogAT scores can help determine the presence of a learning disability as well. For example, students with a Stanine of between one and three may have difficulty learning or identifying relationships between items or information. They may also be easily distracted, causing them to score lower on the exam.

What is a Good Score on CogAT?

What is a Good Score on CogAT?

Getting a “good” score is relative to the performance of your child. If your child’s starting score is low, and they made progress on their next exam, that can be considered reasonable. However, the average score for the CogAT test is a SAS of 100. The SAS is further explained in the next section.

In addition to the SAS, the percentile score and stanine are used to determine where your child falls on the score spectrum. The chart below shows the stanine, percentage, and description of the score range percentage. This will help you understand what a “good” score is, though everyone may not have the same aim.

To further describe the Percentile rank, it is listed on a 100-point scale. If a student scores within a specific percentile, this means that they have scored better than a given percentage of students. For example, if a student ranks in the 70th Percentile, it means they have performed at the same level or greater than 70% of all students who have taken the exam. Generally, it is said that students who score above the 75th Percentile are considered gifted. However, this threshold can vary depending on the institution or if the scores are being used as a means of screening.

Score Description Stanine Percentile
Below Average 2 4th – 10th Percentile
Below Average 3 11th – 22nd Percentile
Average 4 23rd – 39th Percentile
Average 5 60th to 76th Percentile
Average 6 60th to 76th Percentile
Above Average 7 77th to 88th Percentile
Above Average 8 89th to 95th Percentile
Very High 9 96th to 99th Percentile

Depending on the school you attend, different percentiles may be considered academically talented or gifted. These percentages will often fall within the top 2 stanines.

How are CogAT Scores Reported?

How are CogAT Scores Reported?

If your child has taken the test, one crucial factor you will need to know is how to read CogAT scores. The CogAT score chart is how scores are reported back to the child and family. The first way that the scores are shown is with the raw score. The raw score is the most straightforward score and is derived simply based on how many questions a person has gotten, correct or incorrect. On the exam, there is no penalty for answering a question incorrectly.

In addition to a traditional score report, students are also given a Score Profile. This is what provides the student with information on their strengths and weaknesses as well as their overall performance. Once the raw score is calculated, it will then be converted into a universal score; this is a normalized score. The number of scores will match the number of batteries on the exam. Therefore, you will see three different universal scores. The composite universal score is derived from the average of all three.

Aside from the scores listed above, there are also several other types that you will see on the score sheet.

Another score type is CogAT’s standard age score. This is the score that compares your child’s individual scores to other children in their age group. The max that a student can score is 160. This is a normalized score for the universal scale scores. This score has a standard deviation of 100 and a mean of 100.

The standard age score, or SAS, uses a standard deviation of 16. This means that most students’ scores will be within 16 points of 100. This means that the average score would be anywhere from 84 to 116.

The stanine score also referred to as standard nine, is shown on a nine-point scale. It allows the score to be converted into a more straightforward form, a single digit. A different ranking percentile represents each stanine score. The higher a child’s stanine, the higher the percentile rank.

The percentile rank means that if a student scored a 70%, the student scored higher than 70% of the students who also took the exam. This rank compares all students of the same age and grade level. A 50 is traditionally the average for students.

Are CogAT Scores Reliable?

Are CogAT Scores Reliable?

As a parent or even as a child, you may be questioning the validity of the CogAT test and asking yourself, how accurate are CogAT scores? We hope that we can shed some light on this for you, as it is a concern for many parents.

Though there is always some backlash against standardized testing, the CogAT has been analyzed by several professionals to determine if it is a good tool for measuring a student’s ability. To this question, the answer is yes. However, to say something is reliable means that it must provide consistent results.

Much information has been found to show that information is accurate; however, it may lose some of its reliability over time. The CogAT test is helpful for helping children succeed in multiple areas. It does an excellent job of identifying strong cognitive abilities and areas for improvement.

How Does the CogAT Compare to the IQ Test?

How Does the CogAT Compare to the IQ Test?

One thing that the CogAT test is not is a measure of a student’s intelligence. The exam does not measure, nor does it aim to measure, intelligence. Unlike an IQ test, the exam measures a child’s ability to do well and reasoning skills. These are not areas that can be explicitly taught in school and are not specific to a single educational area.

Many institutions see the test as a screening or entrance exam. Not only does the exam measure your cognitive ability, but it also measures the skills used in school. These can include skills like your ability to make comparisons, your ability to follow directions, and how to pay attention to details.

IQ tests are an entirely different animal. They have a norm of an entire population of people rather than a small subset of students within your age group or grade. CogAT tests are based more on the students in your school rather than a large population.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Read CogAT Scores?

The CogAT test is vital for students during their academic tenure. Unlike the IQ test, it does not aim to measure a student’s intelligence but rather their ability to perform a specific set of cognitive activities.

There are several different reasons why schools administer this exam. Sometimes teachers are looking to help students by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Other times institutions may be hoping to get a gauge on rather a child is academically gifted or would be a good candidate for advanced placement classes. Regardless of the reason they are testing; the score report remains the same.

Reading the CogAT scores is extremely important to understand how your child is progressing and how they are currently performing. Scores are reported to parents using the CogAT score chart. This chart contains information like the ability being tested, your child’s age scores, and their raw scores. The age scores, as mentioned, show information on how your child is performing in relation to their peers.

Use these scores to help you help your child succeed. We know you want what’s best for them knowing how the information relates to your child is the first step in helping them.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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