COGAT: An overview of Gifted and Talented Program at Schools
I am writing this post in response to a number inquiries I have received from parents looking for information on CogAT. CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) is an exam that measures your child’s reasoning abilities. It is used by many public school districts to screen children for gifted and talented (GT) programs aka PACE in Plano ISD. Rather than test your child’s achievement or intelligence, the CogAT tests your child’s reasoning abilities, specifically in the areas of spatial (non-verbal), verbal, and quantitative reasoning.
The CogAT is a measure of a student’s potential to succeed in school-related tasks. Rather than measuring student’s IQ level, the test is designed to measure the reasoning skills that have developed during a student’s educational career, even though they have not been explicitly taught. These general cognitive skills are not specific to any content area, but are skills that are used in all areas of a student’s academic experiences. The CogAT also measures general “school skills,” such as the ability to listen, follow directions, focus and attention.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) states: A “Gifted and Talented” student is a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area, possesses an unusual capacity for leadership, or excels in a specific academic field. All school districts in Texas follow the same TEA guidelines, but each district is able to determine their identification criteria, as well as the types of services provided.
To enroll one’s kid in GT Programs parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, or community members may refer a child for testing during the designated referral window for CogAT. The school sends a referral packet home to be filled up by the parents. I believe that every child should be given an opportunity to be tested and nominated for GT program from kindergarten onwards. GT program help kids to get exposed to higher level of learning and challenging activities.
The best way to prepare for the CogAT is by practicing three areas of reasoning abilities:
Non verbal Reasoning:
- Figure Classification
- Figure Analysis
- Figure Analogies
- Classification of colors, fruits, etc.
- Sentence completion
- Verbal Analogies
- Math facts
- Number series
- Math equations