Psychological testing or psychological assessment is the strategy that psychologists use to determine the core component of individual personality, cognitive ability and IQ (intelligence quotient). It is the process of identifying individual strengths and weakness. In essence, cognitive ability is one of the important strategies for the psychological assessment. Traditionally, cognitive ability assessment primarily involves the use of pencil and paper to determine a wide range of individual abilities that include problem solving, intellectual functioning, language skills, and memory. With the advanced development of information technology, there is an increase in the use of computer technology to carry out the assessment. The cognitive testing uses both qualitative and quantitative approach to determine individual cognitive ability, and the results are interpreted based on the normative data collected.
Objective of this study is to carry out the assessment of cognitive ability of students and non-students using the Cognitive Abilities Test
Evaluation how the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) are currently being used in the field of psychology
A cognitive skill is an individual ability to perform higher level of mental process that includes reasoning, problem solving, understanding and remembering. In another word, cognitive abilities of an individual are the ability to carry out both simplest and complex tasks. Typically, the cognitive abilities are to do with mechanisms individuals learn, solve problems and pay attention.
The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is selected based on the review of related literatures (Bermingham et al. 2013, Lohman, & Lakin, 2009) and based on its wide use in assessing students aptitude for students across the United States. Bermingham et al. (2013) argues that number of encoding and retrieval from an individual memory is very critical in technological driven society. For example, ability to remember passwords, social security numbers, and other personal identifications depend on the cognitive resources. The authors use the Cognitive Abilities Test to assess an individual ability to memorize and recall new information in an easier manner. In schools and training center, tutors use the cognitive learning strategy to facilitate learning of new information across all ages. Lohman, (2006) also identifies the Cognitive Ability Test as one of the most widely used capability test tool. The author argues that the cognitive ability test was first released in1954 used for the intelligence tests. However, over the years, the tool has undergone series of revision.
The CogAT is based on quantitative number, problem-solving using the verbal words and non-verbal using figure and symbols, and these abilities are very critical for the learning of K-12 students. In essence, the development of cognitive abilities starts at birth, continues, and develops through the early childhood to adult and influenced by experienced in schools and out of schools. The essence of the test is to appraise the cognitive development to reflect ability of students to discover relationships as well as demonstrate ability in thinking at various state of cognitive development.
Lakin, (2012) points out that CogAT tool is used by schoolteachers use to interpret student's achievement as well as differentiating cognitive strength of students. In essence, the test delivers most useful information to measure students abilities based on quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning. In another word, the cognitive ability tests consist of verbal score that evaluates students' ability to recognize the meaning as well as the relationships between words and combination of words. In essence, the verbal reasoning depends on the students reading ability. Thus, a student is rated to have higher verbal reasoning ability based on his or her capability to solve verbal analogies, perform sentence completion, and provide relationships between meanings. Moreover, the quantitative score reveals ability of an individual to understand and employ number to solve problems that include computation rules, relationships between numbers and problem solving techniques. In essence, the CogAT uses the quantitative technique to test students' ability to recognize number series, solve equations, as well as demonstrating relationships between numbers. On the other hand, the number score provides ability of an individual or students to understand figures and geometric pattern.
Despite benefits that derived from the application of the CogAT to test the student cognitive ability, the use of CogAT does not deliver an accurate indication of academic success. However, the test can still assist tutors to discover the ability of a poor reader. Moreover, the test is able to identify students' ability in objects, visual pictures as well as solving figure analogies. Several case studies have been carried out using the CogAT for the students ability in verbal, non-verbal and quantitative reasoning. The study discusses the case studies that use the CogAT for their tests in the next section.
Case Studies Describing the Tests used and the rationale, purpose, and consequences of their usage
Lohman et al. (2009) carry out assessment using the CogAT to test the differences in cognitive abilities between male and female students. Although, the same test has been carried out in the United Kingdom for 320,000 students revealing a small difference in Mean for the quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning, however, the authors carry out the same experiment in the United States to investigate whether the same results will be obtained among students. The rationale for carrying the experiment is to resolve the controversies about the cognitive abilities difference between male and female students.
The authors use the CogAT4, CogAT5, as well as CogAT6 to carry out the tests. The sample population varies across different ethnic groups where White consists of the 80.5% of the sample population, Black are 11.6%, Hispanic 6.4%, Asian/Pacific 1.0% while the Native Americans are 0.5%. The table 1 reveals the overall ethnic distributions for the CogAT4, CogAT5, as well as CogAT6.
As being revealed in the table 2, the total number of 318,599 students takes the tests and varies across different grades in the United States. The authors weigh the cases to "represent the United States national census in terms of school socio- economic status, ethnic background, cultural background, country region, and school-district size." (Lohman et al. 2009 p 7).
Table 2: Sample Population
The validity of the case is carried out by correlating the Composite scores of CogAT with IQ scores for all sample population. The authors also carry out the data analysis to enhance reliability and validity of the experiment. For example, the authors use the weighted standardized data for each of the CogAT form. Moreover, the authors compare the Mean value of the score distributions for each battery. As part of validity and reliability strategy, the authors use stratified random plan to select the sample population to ensure that all ethnic groups are represented based on the population distribution of the United States. The results reveal the UK sample has large advantages for female sample population for verbal reasoning. However, the different for verbal reasoning is quite small between male and female for the U.S. sample. The overall results reveal that there is a wide difference between the scores of the male participants and female participants for the quantitative reasoning because the variance are up to 56% in favor of male participants. Moreover, there is a wide difference in CogAT scores for non-verbal reasoning where male counterparts record higher scores than the female counterparts.
Lohman (2006) also uses the CogAT to test the performances of the ninth grade students in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The sample consists of 170 students in second, fifth and ninth grade, and the average ages of these students are 7.8 years for the second grade students, 10.9 years for the fifth grade students and 14.9 years for the ninth grade students. The author selects diverse ethnic group as the sample population where 71.5% are White, 11.7% are Black, 7.3% are Hispanic and 4.0% are from other ethnic backgrounds. However, 5.6% of the sample population does not indicate their ethnic groups. The number of male and females participants are very close across all grades (N = 88 males, N = 90 females,). The Grade 2 students are (N = 44 males, N = 43 females). "However, there were more males in the grade 5 sample (N = 38 of 66) but more females in the grade 9 sample (N = 18 of 25)." (Lohman, 2006 p 2).
The school psychologist administers the CogAT test for all students. "The second grade students took Level 2 of the Primary Battery, whereas the fifth and ninth grade students took level sC and F (respectively) of the Multilevel Battery." (Lohman, 2006 p 2).
The results reveal that Mean of the CogAT SAS scores is between 103.7 and 105.3 across…