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The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) measures a student’s general reasoning ability in verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative domains.

Students taking CogAT perform at a high level, and based on their scores are admitted into Gifted and Talented (GT) programs.

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Here you can learn how to interpret the CogAT assessment system.

How is CogAT Scored?

The CogAT consists of questions in verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative domains with three subsets under each battery/domain.

CogAT performance is scored based on a student’s age and grade level. Scoring based on age is more accurate as some children may be younger or older for their grade levels. A CogAT score profile describes a student’s overall level of performance as well as the patterns of performance.

Types of Scores in a CogAT Score Report

  • Raw score: This score is calculated by adding the total number of questions answered correctly. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.
  • Universal Scale Score (USS): Raw score is converted to USS. Each battery has a USS and the average of these scores form the composite USS.
  • Standard Age Score (SAS): USS of each battery is used to calculate the SAS. With a maximum score of 160, a standard deviation of 16, and a mean of 100, SAS is a normalized age score for all USS.
  • Percentile Rank (PR): This is used to compare a student’s cognitive abilities and development with other students in the same age group and grade level.
  • Stanine (S): This score gives an overall representation of a student’s academic abilities.

A CogAT score profile is created using these scores and an analysis of their patterns.

Components of a CogAT Score Report

A CogAT profile consists of three parts:

1. Median Stanine Score

It represents the overall performance of the student.

A Stanine score ranges from 1 to 9.

1 = Very low

2-3 = Below average

4-6 = Average

7-8 = Above average

9 = Very high

2. The Pattern of Score

It represents the type of score pattern or shape.

Getting to know the score pattern will help the teacher or parent understand how much and what kind of intervention a student needs to improve in the weak areas.

There are 4 profiles:

A Profile – Performance across the batteries is the same.

B Profile – There is one score that is above or below the other two batteries.

C Profile – There is a slight difference in performance/scores in three batteries.

E Profile – There is an extreme difference (24 or more points) in performances across the three batteries.

3. Relative Strength/Weakness

It represents the areas of strength or weakness across the three CogAT batteries/domains.

Each battery is represented by Q (Quantitative), V (Verbal), and N (Non-verbal), respectively, while strength is represented by a ‘+’ sign and weakness is represented by a ‘-‘ sign.

Example of a CogAT Ability Profile

Consider a CogAT Profile of 8A(Q+)


8 refers to Above average median Stanine

A refers to Same ability across domains, and

Q+ refers to Quantitative strength

Interpretation of the profile: The student has scored above average in academic abilities, performed the same across all three domains, and is vital in quantitative reasoning.

Importance of CogAT Profile

  • Whether it’s teachers or parents, getting to know your student or child’s CogAT profile will help you understand his or her strengths and weaknesses in each domain. Based on the student’s strengths and weaknesses, you can design customized lesson plans and instructions.
  • The CogAT profile provides scores based on the student’s performance in individual domains and overall performance.
  • Getting to know the student’s relative strengths and weaknesses in each domain will help the teacher modify instructions to leverage his or her strengths and shore up the weaknesses.
  • Furthermore, a student’s PR, Raw score, and SAS are considered in GT screening when determining his or her qualifications for GT programs.

Determining which CogAT score is the highest is not simple as CogAT profiles depict layered scoring in three domains while considering the age groups and grade levels of the students. For instance, a student can exhibit strong reasoning ability in one domain while performing poorly in another. This is why it is necessary to know how to properly interpret a student’s CogAT profile.

What’s more, every GT program has different CogAT score requirements to determine whether a student is qualified to attend the program. It helps if your child is well-equipped before taking the test. Find out the best ways to prepare for CogAT.

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