What is CogAT (Cognitive Ability Test)?

CogAT test is designed to measure the students abilities in reasoning and problem solving as compared to their age and grade mates. The cognitive reasoning abilities are tested as part of three main sections

  • Verbal section assess students ability to comprehend the sequence of English words and make relevant inferences 
  • Quantitative section assesses students ability to understand quantitative relationships and fundamentals
  • Non-verbal symbols assess students’ reasoning abilities using spatial symbols like pictures, and geometrics.

CogAT is a widely used group administered cognitive ability test which was first developed and published in 1954 as Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence test. Since then it has been iteratively revised and now the current version CogAT (form 7 & 8).  It is one of the many tests used in the United States to help schools make placement decisions for gifted education programs for those who score at or above 99th percentile on the test.

One thing to note, CogAT is an ability test which is focused on gauging students’ capabilities to understand patterns and relationship to the given age group of students. This is different from the achievement test, which is focused on determining students’ capabilities to learn and understanding the curriculum at their given grade level. This is why oftentimes schools use CogAT along with the achievement test to determine if a student has greater learning potential.

Why take CogAT?

This is a widely used test to measure students cognitive abilities to;

  • Identify gifted students by home, traditional and private schools 
  • Help the parent understand their children’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify the students “learning styles” to help them achieve academic success
  • Assist schools in proper placement of a student based on their abilities 
  • Help predict a student’s future success

How is the CogAT test structured?

Riverside Publishing publishes the test and describes the three batteries (i.e. sections) in this manner (http://www.riversidepublishing. com/products/cogAt/parents.html): 

  • The Verbal Battery measures flexibility, fluency, and adaptability in reasoning with verbal materials and in solving verbal problems. These reasoning abilities play an important role in reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, and virtually all verbal learning tasks.
  • The Quantitative Battery measures quantitative reasoning skills; flexibility and fluency in working with quantitative symbols and concepts; and the ability to organize, structure, and give meaning to an unordered set of numerals and mathematical symbols. These reasoning skills are significantly related to problem solving in mathematics and other disciplines.
  • The Nonverbal Battery measures reasoning using geometric shapes and figures. To perform successfully, students must invent strategies for solving novel problems. They must be flexible in using these strategies and accurate in implementing them.

How to interpret CogAT Score?

 CogAT Scores are reported as a Profile Narrative, which comprises of the following sections

  • Abilities: There are the batteries against which the student was tested as part of the CogAT. The Composite battery is the consolidation of the scores within the three batteries tested.
  • Age Scores: This section provides a view of student age scores. Students are grouped by the age intervals of one month from 4 years 11 months to 18 years. See details of each of the sections below.
  • Standard Age Score (SAS): Is a normalized standardized score with a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 16, for each battery and composite. Students with the SAS score of 100 means the verbal development and reasoning is as expected per their age. In the table below the student with SAS score of 108 indicates higher verbal development.
  • Age Stanine: It consists of nine broad levels from 1 through 9 and each of the number categories represents grouping of percentile ranks. The table below refers to the comparison of Stanines and Percentile. 


Percentile Rank




Very High



Above Average



Above Average












Below Average



Below Average



Very Low

  • Age Percentile Rank (APR): is a score to compare the students to other students in their age and grade. In the table below the student with rank 66 in verbal battery means that student scored better than 66% of students who took the test.
  • PR Graph: Age Percentile Rank Graph is the visual representation of the students’ score across all of the batteries. The actual score is indicated by the diamond in the score range. And the score range indicates the confidence interval i.e., derived from error scores of the student. Some of the things that influence the error score is if students miss out answering easy questions but answer difficult questions and/or students do well in one subset of questions in the battery versus the other. 


 All these sections together provide a comprehensive student ability profile.


 References: https://www.triangleeducationassessments.com/content/pdfs/cogat.pdf