NET Academies Trust

Implementing Cognitive Ability Tests (CAT4)

Camilla Sandford, Operations Intern, explains why NET Academies have chosen to use cognitive ability tests to formally assess pupils in non-SATs years.

Under the current National Curriculum, primary school children are not required to take any formal tests between the end of Year 2 (KS1 SATs) and the end of Year 6 (KS2 SATs). Despite this, schools retain the responsibility to assess their pupil’s achievement and attainment, and so NET Academies have been working to develop a Trust-wide system for assessing pupil’s progress and performance. From the Autumn Term 2016, this includes CATs (cognitive ability tests) to assess pupils in non-SATs years.

Unlike SATs, which focus on curriculum-based material, primary school CATs focus on a child’s natural cognitive reasoning ability, allowing our teachers and other staff to gain an invaluable insight into pupils’ ability to reason across four distinct areas: verbal, non-verbal, mathematical and spatial. In this way the CAT4 is thought to be able to ‘unlock potential’, identifying a pupils potential and learning bias, without reference to the curriculum and regardless of previous achievements or first language. This allows staff to recognise pupils who are currently not reaching their full potential, including higher achieving pupils who otherwise may not attract the attention of the teacher or support staff, but may be capable of achieving a lot more.

Alongside results, GL Assessment (who administer CAT4) also provide teachers with guidance on how children can be helped to reach their potential, based on their CAT outcomes. This allows teachers, alongside their classroom support, to address patterns and adapt their methods and materials to suit individual needs. Thus, results from the CAT4 assessment can be invaluable in assisting in interventions, monitoring progress, setting targets for future attainment, all the while ensuring feedback is appropriate and targets are achievable.


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