On Dec 3, 2019
School systems are always trying to make the most of their resources, which includes optimizing the uses and benefits of assessments into which school systems invest time and resources. In this article, we discuss how schools can improve classroom instruction by maximizing the benefits of their CogAT administration.
Famed researcher Dr. Julian Stanley advised educators to “avoid trying to teach students what they already know” (p. 221, 2000). This guideline may seem obvious at first, but teachers know firsthand the difficulties of serving the instructional needs of students with differing experiences and skill sets. Focusing on students with weaker skills can allow other students to become disruptive or disengaged. By providing adequate challenge and opportunity to learn for all students, teachers are differentiating instruction, which leads both to greater content knowledge
and provides students with a wealth of motivational and metacognitive skills (Inman, 2007).
Many school districts who use CogAT do so mostly for gifted and talent identification processes. However, this limited use reduces the value of administering a multi-dimensional test, especially when using only the total score for identification. Instead of using CogAT solely for identification purposes, we highly recommend the use of CogAT test results by classroom teachers to differentiate instruction for all students. In this Cognitively Speaking, we will outline some basic principles for how this can be done.