CogAT 8

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a nationally standardized, norm-referenced test and the national average is 50th percentile. The CogAT is one method used to identify students who are Highly Capable/Gifted as it measures how students process information to reach a solution, and results are based upon each student’s level of cognitive development (the term Highly Capable is often used interchangeably with the term Gifted). Questions require reasoning skills and are not academic in nature. CogAT does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which also contribute importantly to school achievement. Children are identified as Highly Capable/Gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age. Giftedness may manifest in one or more domains such as; intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific academic field such as language arts, mathematics or science.

The Verbal Battery 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.

- Test 1: Picture or Verbal Analogies – Students examine a pair of pictures or words and think of ways in which they are related. Then they apply this relationship to a third picture or word to generate a new pair of pictures or words related to each other in the same way as the first pair.

- Test 2: Sentence Completion – Students read an incomplete sentence and then select the answer choice that best completes the sentence.

- Test 3: Picture or Verbal Classification – Students examine three pictures or words and think of ways in which they are alike. Then they select the answer choice that belongs in the same group.

Learner Characteristics: These students generally do best when they are encouraged to talk and write about what they are attempting to learn. These students often have remarkably good memories for arbitrary sequences of sounds, letters, words, and events. Thus, they typically are above average in spelling; in their knowledge of syntax and grammar; in their ability to learn in other languages; and in their ability to remember dialogue, prose, and poetry. To support their advanced linguistic abilities, they may need to be provided with enrichment activities including advanced vocabulary, real-world writing, and a wide range of supplemental reading.

The Quantitative Battery measures mathematical reasoning and problem solving, numerical sequences and patterns, manipulation of mathematical concepts. Students with high quantitative scores usually do well with complex mathematical or numerical activities and concepts.

- Test 4: Number Analogies – Students examine two pairs of numbers and determine the rule both pairs follow. Then they apply the rule to given numbers and choose the answer that generates a third pair of numbers that follows the same rule. The test questions require the same processes as the Verbal Analogies test but use quantitative concepts rather than verbal concepts.

- Test 5: Number Puzzles – Each question presents an equation in which at least one element is missing. The students must substitute numbers for the missing elements and solve the equation.

- Test 6: Number Series - Each question contains a series of numbers that follows a pattern. Students must discover the pattern and then select what comes next in the sequence.

Learner Characteristics: Students are capable of abstract thinking. Students who display high levels of quantitative reasoning abilities typically excel in identifying patterns from their experiences and then reasoning by using their abstractions. Enrichment tasks should go beyond calculations and include mathematical thinking, explorations of advanced concepts, and real-world problem solving (probability, codes, etc.).

The Non-Verbal Battery measures reasoning and problem solving with patterns and relationships, pictorial analogies, and categories. 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.

-Test 7: Figure Matrices – Students examine two pictures in the top row and determine how they are related. Then they apply this relationship to the picture in the bottom row and choose the answer that generates a second pair of pictures related to each other in the same way as the first pair.

- Test 8: Paper Folding – Students look at pictures of a piece of paper being folded and holes being punched in the folded paper. Then they select the picture that shows how the paper looks when it is unfolded.

- Test 9: Figure Classification - For each question, students must determine how three figures are similar and then select the answer choice that is most like the first three figures.

Learner Characteristics: Learning is easiest for these students when they can readily connect each new concept or relationship with a mental or physical model (i.e. schematic drawing) of the situation. Provide opportunities for creative problem solving, finding logical patterns and relationships, and use of high-level questions and critical thinking activities. Instructional strategies that will aid nonverbal learners include the use of visual imagery, novelty, movement, music, graphic methods of presentation, computers, graphing calculators, movies, demonstrations, use of color for organization, and instruction which proceeds from whole to part. Use a variety of graphic organizers and other pictorial ways for students to demonstrate learning (including thinking maps, diagrams, drawings, models, multimedia projects, etc.).

The Standard Age Score (SAS) compares the performance of a student with that of his or her same-age peers. The age groups are in one-month intervals. A student who is 7 years and 1 month has a different score from a student who is 7 years 8 months. It has a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 16. If a student has a SAS of 100, he/she has a rate of development that is typical of their age group. On the other hand, a student who has a SAS of 125 has a faster rate and higher level of development than the typical student in the same age group.

Percentile rank (PR):
A point (score) on a scale of 100 that indicates the percent of scores at or below that point. A student’s score at the 84th percentile is regarded as equaling or surpassing that of 84 percent of the students in the group being tested. It does not mean that the student got 84 percent of the answers correct, but rather that the student performed better than 84 out of 100 students being tested. Age-based and grade-based percentiles are often very similar, except if the student is significantly older or younger than other students in the same grade.

Stanine scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 9. Stanines are groupings of percentile ranks. A higher stanine equates with a higher level of cognitive abilities development.

Interpreting Percentile Ranks, Standard Age Scores, and Stanine Scores


Standard Age Score



Very High




Above Average


77th – 95th

7 - 8



23rd – 76th

4 - 6

Below Average

73 – 88

4th – 22nd

2 - 3


50 - 72

1st – 3rd