I need help understanding the COGAT - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-06-2012, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. Sorry for the post without the intro. I used to be a member here, but I cannot remember my password for my old username. It's been ages and ages since I've posted here simply because we are so way past the baby/toddler years and I don't find myself thinking about AP as intensely as I used to. I mean, I feel like I'm in my parenting groove and I don't have so many pressing issues to deal with that I haven't already worked out in my head. I have two boys who are now 10 and 8. In the past, we homeschooled so I used to hang out at that forum for the wonderful insight that can be found there.

 

The reason I'm wandering back here is that, now that my kids have started school, this whole gifted thing has become something that we can't avoid thinking about. With homeschooling, it didn't matter out of the toddler years because, at least for us, there was no reason for comparisons and we just kind of lived our own little eccentric lives. We didn't need the label or to even consider whether we might need the label; it just became a non-issue entirely.

 

But school has complicated stuff in that the children are measured against each other and there's tracking and stuff. I have never been one to not ramble...sorry! Anyway, our school has a self-contained "gifted" class, but in my mind, it's really just honors, simply because 33% of the 4th grade is in this program. Don't get me going on that one! Anyway, so my kids were both given the COGAT recently because it's required for admission into this "gifted" program. A complicating factor is that my kids now know what "gifted" is and it's like a thing that's on everything's radar...whereas in homeschooling, there was no need to even bring that up.

 

My 4th grader, who is a highly visual-spatial learner and a day-dreaming guy wasn't unhappy about being excluded from the "gifted" class...something that happened because he enrolled before this COGAT test was given and he basically has to wait until next year. Then, he started going on about how easy math was and how easy school was and I saw that as a big red flag wrt future work ethic. We don't know his scores yet but I'm hoping he gets into this program for next year simply so he can be challenged.

 

My first grader, OTOH, had spent his homeschooling life being down on himself bc his only point of comparison was his older brother, who he would never catch up with. He had serious self-esteem issues. Then, he started first grade at school, reading chapter books which I didn't realize was unusual and he suddenly developed an awareness that he was very different from his classmates. This year, in second grade, his friends are calling him "Math-Man". He's happy but he's bored and he shocked me by announcing to me one day that he believed he was "gifted", simply based on this natural comparison a kid makes with age-mates. We've gone from worrying about his low self-esteem to worrying he's going to get a big head. Oh, Ok, I really need to get to the point.

 

So we got the 2nd grader's COGAT scores back yesterday and it's like reading Greek to me. Numbers are not my forte anyway and then there's all this stuff about stanines and other words I've never encountered before. Ok, I am right in believing that the COGAT is NOT an IQ test, right? But it has a composite number that looks, very very much, like an IQ equivalent. Ok, you don't know who I am and no one from my real life would ever see this and figure out who I am, so I'll just give a number. It says his composite score is 138. Is that roughly equivalent to IQ and if so, is that considered highly gifted? And if that IS the case, then haven't the numbers shifted by 10 points from when we were kids. I vaguely remember reading somewhere once that an "old school" score of 130, for example, would be listed as "120" today.

 

What also confuses me is that his non-verbal reasoning is much higher than the verbal and quantitative scores. A quick Internet search indicates that non-verbal reasoning has to do with patterns. One website I found said it measured reasoning with novel material, in which learned/acquired knowledge was irrelevant. So if that's the case, then does that mean that the verbal and quantitative sections are influenced by learned material? So two kids with identical raw intelligence have two different school systems and environments, in which one kid has been taught significantly more than the other...that affects it? Basically, can I look at non-verbal reasoning as the most true measure of his reasoning skills or is that more to do with visual-spatial specific skills. For verbal and quant., he was only 94%tile but he scored 99%tile on non-verbal. I'm trying to wrap my head around all of this and understand it.

 

I told myself that all I cared about was him getting in this program, simply because I know he is bored most of the time. The highlight of his week is computer lab, in which they use a self-paced program that allows him to do whatever math he is capable of doing...it looks at their answers and adjusts the questions it tosses out to the kids, to try to match the kid up with the personally appropriate material. He complains about thing like, "We had to learn about onomonopeia *again* even though we already learned it in first grade!" and I just don't know what to think about him. My biggest concern is that he might tune out at some point.

 

Anyway, so all I care about is that my kids are challenged, but darnit, I cannot stop thinking about those stupid numbers simply because I do not totally understand what it all means. I've done a lot of web searching and I end up being more confused than I was to even begin with. I was hoping that someone here might help me get to a better place of understanding. Thank you if you made it this far!!

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#2 of 5 Old 01-06-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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Cogat does not provide an IQ score, but does correlate with IQ. You should have gotten some percentage scores for age  and some percentage scores for grade level. It only  measures reasoning ability. It doesn't directly measure crystal knowledge or processing speed or working memory or other components of the IQ score that are measured by IQ tests. It also doesn't measure "innate" ability, because much of reasoning ability is learned.

 

The test publisher has a website that lets you plug the stanine scores into and it will give you an explanation of what that means for your child. I found it very helpful.  More info from the publisher here.

 

http://www.riverpub.com/products/group/cogat6/input.jsp

 

http://www.riverpub.com/products/cogAt/support.html

 

Also, while Cogat isn't an IQ score, it is accepted by admission for Mensa which has an IQ requirement of top 2%. Their required Cogat is an SAS or CSI score of 132. (Your school may not have given you that number. Mine did not.)

 

Intertel requires an IQ in the top 1% of the country and requires a Cogat score of 99%.

 

To get into the John Hopkins program for gifted and talented youth, you need a Cogat score of 95%.

 

The Northwestern University talent search only requires scores above 90% and they accept the Cogat.

 

 

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#3 of 5 Old 01-06-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post

 

To get into the John Hopkins program for gifted and talented youth, you need a Cogat score of 95%.

 



WHAT!?!?  I never really looked into it too much because I thought my kids wouldn't qualify (they're not profoundly gifted, IMO).  The program they are in requires the 99th% on the Cogat as well as 99th on both the reading and math of the ITBS.  Maybe my perceptions are off because most of the kids in their program seem smart, but not *super* gifted, kwim.

 

Sorry about the Offtopic, I was just suprised to see that (to get in the one day a week pull-out in our district, the minimum is now 98% across the board).

 


 

 

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#4 of 5 Old 01-06-2012, 12:05 PM
 
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Tired, in most academic settings, 95%ile (either cognitive or achievement) is generally what's defined as gifted.  If a child falls in the 95% range, there are folks who will call them "optimally gifted" in that things tend to go well for them at school, but they can certainly thrive on more challenging material.  They also very much fall in a range of people whose talent needs something extra to be developed.  So many of the "talent development" organizations or camps will use this criterion.  It's a population that still very much requires services and different information on educational planning.

 

Only a few places set the bar much higher, like Davidson (>145, but they take subtest scores) or attendance at some camps like Epsilon.

 

With the bar that your district sets, a large number of kids are sitting in general population classes, spinning their wheels, and frustrated at the slow pace of instruction.  Some will be turned off education, and others will have behavior problems.  Indeed, with the low ceilings on the ITBS, some poor kid probably made a single error that kept them out of the program.

 

OP, I'm not sure what your question is -- was the 138 below the bar set for the class?  That doesn't make sense with a program with 1/3 the students, unless you're at some lab school made up of kids of university professors.

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#5 of 5 Old 01-06-2012, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Tired, in most academic settings, 95%ile (either cognitive or achievement) is generally what's defined as gifted.  If a child falls in the 95% range, there are folks who will call them "optimally gifted" in that things tend to go well for them at school, but they can certainly thrive on more challenging material.  They also very much fall in a range of people whose talent needs something extra to be developed.  So many of the "talent development" organizations or camps will use this criterion.  It's a population that still very much requires services and different information on educational planning.

 

Only a few places set the bar much higher, like Davidson (>145, but they take subtest scores) or attendance at some camps like Epsilon.

 

With the bar that your district sets, a large number of kids are sitting in general population classes, spinning their wheels, and frustrated at the slow pace of instruction.  Some will be turned off education, and others will have behavior problems.  Indeed, with the low ceilings on the ITBS, some poor kid probably made a single error that kept them out of the program.

 

 

I had generally heard 97% (meaning two standard deviations above) being the cutoff, but I completely agree with your assessment of the problem setting the bar that high.  There is no statistical difference between the kids getting in the 98th %ile and the kids in the 99th %ile that nothing more than a lucky versus an unlucky testing break doesn't explain.  That said, the district is full of overachieving/highly educated/intelligent people and they have somehow determined that that is the # of children they are willing to serve and that is how they cull them (they used to do 97th% then 98th% but they had extreamly long wait lists to get an actual placement).

 

That said, I think it is just as unhelpful to have too low of a bar if you are going to consider it a "gifted" program.
 

 


 

 

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