Understanding CAT4 Scores: A Comprehensive Guide

In this page, we explain in detail how your child's CAT4 scores are calculated. We also describe how these scores are reported to you and their teachers. Additionally, we will help you understand what these reports mean and how they can influence your child's learning experience.

The Cognitive Abilities Test: Fourth Edition, or CAT4, is a high-quality, research-based assessment that is widely used in the UK, Ireland and in international schools around the world. It provides a comprehensive profile of a student's thinking skills across a range of areas, so that teachers can support each student in their care to achieve their potential.

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CAT4 scores, derived from the Cognitive Abilities Test, provide valuable insight into a student's cognitive abilities and academic potential. These scores are instrumental in understanding a student's strengths and areas for improvement, helping educators and parents tailor educational approaches.

How CAT4 Scores are Calculated

CAT4 scores are calculated through a rigorous process that compares a student's performance to that of a normative sample. This comparison allows for the derivation of standardized scores that facilitate meaningful interpretation.

  • Raw Scores: The number of questions a student answers correctly.
  • Normative Scores: Derived from the raw scores, these scores are standardized to facilitate comparison across age groups.
  • Standard Age Scores (SAS): Represent a student's performance relative to his or her age group, with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

What Is a Good CAT4 Score?

Scores on the CAT4 are typically reported as Standard Age Scores (SAS), which have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. A good CAT4 score generally depends on the context and specific purposes for which the test is used. However, in general:

  • Average Scores: Most students will score between 85 and 115, with 100 being the average.
  • Above Average Scores: Scores above 115 are considered above average.
  • High Scores: Scores above 127 are considered well above average and indicate strong cognitive abilities.
  • Exceptional Scores: Scores above 140 are considered exceptional.

What is a Gifted Score on CAT4?

A high score is an indicator of academic giftedness. By assessing four key areas: verbal, nonverbal, quantitative, and spatial reasoning, CAT4 helps identify students who are not only high achievers but those who have the potential to achieve more. This comprehensive assessment helps identify gifted students based on their abilities, not just their academic performance.

Deciphering CAT4 Scores: Unraveling the Metrics

When it comes to understanding CAT4 score reports, familiarity with the key metrics is essential. Let's delve into the intricacies of CAT4 scores to understand their significance in assessing a student's cognitive abilities and aptitude.

Standard Age Scores (SAS)

Standard Age Scores (SAS) serve as a benchmark for evaluating a student's performance relative to their peers. With a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15, SAS provides a standardized measure of cognitive ability across age groups.

Interpretation: A SAS of 100 indicates average performance, while scores above or below 100 signify performance above or below the average, respectively.

Comparative Analysis: SAS facilitates comparisons between students of varying ages, enabling educators to identify relative strengths and weaknesses.

National Percentile Rank (NPR)

National Percentile Rank (NPR) offers insights into a student's standing compared to peers nationwide. This percentile-based measure indicates the percentage of students whose scores fall below a particular student's score.

Understanding Percentiles: For example, an NPR of 70 indicates that the student performed as well as or better than 70% of students nationally, while 30% scored higher.

Benchmarking: NPR helps compare a student's performance to a broader population, providing context for the student's level of achievement.

Stanines (ST)

Stanines (ST) categorize scores into nine bands, each representing a different level of performance. This simplified classification system provides a quick overview of a student's performance in different cognitive domains.

Grading System: Ranging from 1 to 9, with 9 indicating very high performance and 1 indicating very low performance, Stanines provide a concise assessment of a student's relative standing.

Practical Utility: ST facilitates easy communication of scores to stakeholders, allowing for quick comprehension of a student's cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

How To Check CAT4 Results?

The CAT4 assessment has a structured scoring and reporting process. This means that teachers and administrators can easily obtain thorough test data and have easy access to comprehensive test results for effective student assessment and parental communication.

The CAT4 digital edition: The scores automatically at the end of the test. All test reports for teachers and administrators are accessible through any school's online account and can be downloaded on demand.

For the CAT4 paper version: After the students have completed the test, the answer papers are eventually collected and sent to the Scoring & Reporting department of GL Assessment where an electronic-based machine scans and scores the tests.

15 days after the date of return of the answer sheets, GL Assessment will produce the group reports and any other reports required by the school.

  • If the CAT 4 is used as a baseline assessment or as a KS2 indicator, the school will provide a full report which may facilitate discussions with parents
  • If CAT 4 is used as part of the admissions process in year 6, you should contact the target school to find out their policy on discussing the results.
  • If the CAT4 is given as a baseline test when students start year 7, you can learn about your child's results in the following ways:
  1. Parent-Teacher Meetings: Usually, schools hold meetings where teachers are observed to talk about each student's progress comprehensively and give feedback about several assessments, including the CAT4 scores.
  2. Written Reports: Schools can send written reports or letters home with the CAT4 results. Such reports often contain an interpretation of the scores and what they mean concerning the student's ability to learn and their learning potential.

Interpreting CAT4 Score Reports

Interpreting CAT4 score reports requires a nuanced understanding of the underlying metrics and their implications. By deciphering SAS, NPR, and Stanines, educators and parents can gain valuable insights into a student's cognitive profile, enabling targeted interventions and support mechanisms.

Types of CAT4 Score Reports

CAT4 offers various types of score reports tailored to meet the needs of educators, parents, and students. These reports provide comprehensive insights into a student's performance across the different areas tested.

  • Group reports help teachers understand their class. They show how students performed on the CAT4 compared to others their age, revealing strengths and weaknesses across different areas. This allows teachers to design targeted lessons and support the entire class.
  • For each student, teachers get a detailed report showing their strengths and weaknesses in different areas on the CAT4 test. This helps them create personalized learning plans to give each student the right kind of support. Teachers can even track a student's progress over time to see how well the plan is working.
  • Individual reports help parents understand their child's strengths and weaknesses on the CAT4 test. This allows parents to support their child's learning at home and work with the teacher to create the best learning plan possible.

By understanding the nuances of CAT4 scores and reports, stakeholders can collaborate effectively to optimize learning outcomes and foster academic success.

What Is in a CAT4 Profile?

The profiles that students can receive are based on their performance on the Verbal Reasoning and Spatial Ability batteries of the test. Verbal Reasoning assesses working with words and concepts, while Spatial Ability focuses on visualizing and manipulating shapes. By comparing these scores, the report can identify a preference for learning through language or visual elements. In the reports the profiles are divided into seven broad descriptions of ability:

  • Extreme verbal bias: Students with very high scores on the Verbal Reasoning battery compared to the Spatial Ability battery.
  • Moderate verbal bias: Students with moderately higher scores on the Verbal Reasoning battery.
  • Mild verbal bias: Students with slightly higher Verbal Reasoning scores.
  • No bias: Students who perform similarly on both batteries.
  • Mild spatial bias: Students with slightly higher Spatial Ability scores.
  • Moderate spatial bias: Students with moderately higher Spatial Ability scores.
  • Extreme spatial bias: Students with very high Spatial Ability scores compared to Verbal Reasoning.

The majority (66%) of students fall into the "no bias" category, meaning they have similar verbal and spatial reasoning abilities. It's important to remember that CAT4 considers all four batteries (Verbal, Quantitative, Non-verbal, Spatial) to create a student profile. But Verbal and Spatial Reasoning offer a unique perspective on preferred learning styles.

Addressing Low CAT4 Scores

Low CAT4 scores can indicate areas where students may need additional support to reach their full potential. Let's explore strategies for effectively addressing these scores.

Identifying Potential Issues in Low Scores:

Low scores can be caused by several factors, including cognitive challenges, unfamiliarity with the test format, or test anxiety. Identifying the root cause is critical to targeting interventions. Analyzing score breakdowns by cognitive domain can pinpoint specific areas of weakness and guide intervention strategies tailored to individual student needs.

Understanding Probability of Guessing:

In multiple-choice assessments like CAT4, some answers may be selected by chance rather than through deliberate understanding. Understanding the probability of guessing can help interpret low scores accurately.

Educators should consider the likelihood of guessing when analyzing low scores and utilize additional assessment data to validate cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

Strategies for Improving Low Scores: 

  • Targeted Intervention: Implementing targeted intervention programs designed to address specific cognitive weaknesses can effectively improve low CAT4 scores.
  • Differentiated Instruction: Providing differentiated instruction that accommodates diverse learning styles and preferences can help students overcome challenges indicated by low scores.
  • Test-Taking Strategies: Teaching effective test-taking strategies, such as time management, process of elimination, and critical thinking skills, can improve student performance on future assessments.
  • Supportive Learning Environment: Creating a supportive learning environment that fosters student confidence, resilience, and perseverance is essential for addressing low scores and promoting academic growth. 

By proactively addressing low CAT4 scores and implementing evidence-based strategies, educators can empower students to overcome challenges, maximize their potential, and achieve academic success. 

CAT4 Practice and Preparation

Effective preparation for the CAT4 assessment can significantly impact student performance and scores. Let's explore the importance of CAT4 practice and strategies for effective preparation.

Increases familiarity: CAT4 practice familiarizes students with the test format, question types, and time constraints, reducing anxiety and increasing confidence during the actual assessment.

Identify weaknesses: Practice tests provide valuable insight into students' cognitive strengths and weaknesses, allowing for targeted intervention and personalized learning plans.

Build test-taking skills: Regular practice cultivates essential test-taking skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and time management that are critical for success on standardized assessments.