What is CAT4 and how do we use it?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning. While many other tests focus on a child’s attainment in core subjects, CAT4 is designed to give schools a much broader, more rounded view of each child, their potential and how they learn. Results help teachers decide about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed.

CAT4 is based on years of research and development. It is a well-known assessment in schools; teachers value its ability to provide an understanding of what a child is capable of rather than defining them by their understanding of a body of knowledge in particular subjects. At Rhosnesni High School, the CAT4 tests will enable us to firstly set accurate individualised targets and secondly, it will enable us to target support towards every child to help them reach their full potential. Tasks involve thinking about shapes and patterns (Non-Verbal Reasoning), words (Verbal Reasoning), numbers (Quantitative Reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (Spatial Ability). Other information, including teachers’ own assessments, is very important. Results from CAT4 will be used in combination with a range of data to set targets for learning and identify any particular need, for example a need for support in literacy. As parents /carers you will be updated after the assessment so that you know how your child has performed and the school’s plans, if any, for further follow-up. All aspects of the CAT4 tests will be discussed with Year 7 pupils prior to taking the tests. Please note that access arrangements such as extra time/a reader are not permissible in CATs.