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CogAT K-12 Education K-12 Ability Assessments K-12 Achievement Assessments Case Studies

Using a Strengths-Based Approach to Understanding Students’ Aptitude

Riverside Insights
Written By Riverside Insights
On Oct 13, 2022
3 minute read

Ability data provides educators a fresh and meaningful way to understand each student’s potential for learning and to easily differentiate instruction based on individual strengths."

- Joni Lakin, co-author of CogAT form 8

By plotting ability data against achievement data, Plano ISD identifies mismatches in potential and performance.

An example of the data plot Plano uses CogAT ability data and Map Achievement data to better support student.


States are rethinking their K-12 testing models. The reasons are multifaceted. While achievement tests can tell you how well a student memorizes facts and absorbs information, they do not show how the students solve problems and think creatively. Such “achievement tests” might demonstrate what students have learned in the classroom, but they are typically biased by curriculum, teacher effectiveness, classroom environment and even test prep. These biases can skew a full picture of what any given student is capable of and can lead to missing out on marginalized students who possess impressive aptitude despite a lack of resources.
“We often think performance is the same as ability and vice versa,” notes Dash Weerasinghe, senior executive director of assessment, research and program evaluation for the Plano Independent School District in Texas. “However, since much of performance is English-centric, a lot of our English language learners or economically disadvantaged students may not necessarily demonstrate high performance."

Ability X Achievement Case Study

Access the Full Case Study Here

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