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    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Ken F Offline OP
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    Hi,

    I'm new to the forum.

    I have a 7-year old son who was tested for the gifted program. He scored a 99% on both Math and Verbal for ITBS but 70% composite for CogAt. We noticed that they had his age incorrect (listed 9 versus actual 7) on the results sheet but are claiming 'they scored it correctly'. I've done some research and have found that a) CogAT scoring is age-based, and b) there is almost always a high correlation between ITBS and CogAT percentiles (not 70% vs 99%).

    I am thinking I should push the issue as the 'low' CogAT is preventing him from participating in the challenge program.

    Any thoughts or insights on this would be very appreciated.

    -Ken

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    In our district, they give age-based and grade-based percentiles. How did he do on the grade-based scores? How do they explain that they correctly scored the age-based results when the age data is wrong?

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    I don't have any experience with the ITBS, but our ds had had taken the WISC twice and the WJ-III Cognitive Abilities test once (with scores above the 99th ppercentile on each) before he was given the CogAT as a part of gifted program screening, and he only scored in the 75th percentile on the CogAT. I was beyond surprised, so I did a bit of googling and found out that CogAT is a "learned" ability test, and also that it's not unusual for kids who are at the upper ends of the IQ scale and are outside-the-box thinkers to not score as well on it as they do on innate ability tests such as the WISC etc. If it hasn't been long since he took the test, you might try asking your ds what types of questions were on the test and how did he answer them - I don't remember the specific questions now (years later) but do remember ds telling me about some of them after his test and remember that he was all excited about the creative way he'd figured out the answers for things he hadn't learned yet and I kept thinking... um... I'm guessing he's not thinking of the same answer the test-writer was expecting a child to think of!

    Re what to do - we simply showed the gifted program screener our ds' outside testing results (WISC). We got some initial push-back and were told they could come up with an alternative ability test. That's the point at which I said "Look, are you telling me that a child who scored ___ on the WISC is not qualified to be in the gifted program?" (note - his scores were much higher than the program cutoff). After I made that remark they were pretty danged quick to say ok, he's in. I don't know if that would have worked with the ITBS or if it would work in your school district, but I would definitely point out the discrepancy and if they pooh-pooh the previous results, put them on the spot (politely of course) and ask them if they are questioning either the vailidity of those results or if they are suggesting a student could have scored that highly and not be gifted. It might help to do a tiny bit of research of your own first re the CogAT and also the ITBS. You should also look up the policy for qualifying for the gifted program in your school district as well as the mission of the program. The CogAT might be simply a screener and there might be other tests they accept and/or other types of qualifiers, such as teacher questionnaire.

    And that's all (above) advice if the CogAT was scored *correctly* - if it's been scored for an incorrect (and older) age, I would absolutely ask that it be re-scored. I would also ask in writing rather than verbally.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear


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    I wouldn't let it go if this is excluding your child from a program you think he should be in. I would ask to see the raw numbers. Be nice about it, but tell them you're concerned about the percentiles, especially in comparison to the other test, and want to see where things went wrong for your son on this test. Once you have the raw scores, you'll be able to tell whether there's a mistake.

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    If they scored it using norms for 9 year olds and he is 7 then they did *not* score it correctly. Even if he took an above level test, they should report the scores for the correct age.

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    I don't know about the age difference - but I agree with the sentiment that the CoGAT isn't a great test. DD17 always scored 99% on ITBS for a grade above, but was somewhere lower on the CoGAT. This prevented her from getting into the gifted program for many years and being bored in the normal classes. We know now that she is probably in the HG+ range, and that this test definitely didn't represent this well...

    Having said that, he probably scored a lot higher than 70% if they really did mess up on the age... you should definitely talk to the gifted tester again about that..

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    Yes, if you think the challenge program is what he needs you should definitely advocate for him! First, I would demand that the CogAT be rescored properly. The age percentile means that is where he ranks among kids of that age. So, at age 7, he did better than 70% of 9 year olds on this test. What you want to know and what they should be looking at is how he did compared to other 7 year olds.

    Second, you need to find out exactly what the entrance criteria for the program is, and every school district does this differently. My own ds scored poorly on the CogAT but extremely high on the ITBS and as you said this is unusual. The CogAT is an ability test while the ITBS is an achievement test. So, what you would expect to see is congruity between the two scores or, in the case of an underachiever, a high CogAT and a low ITBS (high ability but low achievement). This is really what they are used to seeing when the two don't match up. However, as pp noted, the CogAT does not reward the creative or outside the box thinker. Those kids are often more highly gifted but score poorly on the CogAT because they don't give the expected answers.

    We are lucky that in our school, the GT teacher takes identification very seriously. She talks with teachers, examines the kids' work, and gets to know them one on one. Thus, she was able to recognize that the gifted program was appropriate for DS. And he has definitely flourished since he started it this year, so it is clear that her assessment was correct and the CogAT scores did not accurately represent his abilities. Unfortunately, not all school districts take the time and resources to do this. I do hope that yours does. But I would definitely push them on this in order to get your son the education that is appropriate for him. Good luck!



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